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Consumer Q's: The holly and the watermelon radish
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    Question: I ate a watermelon radish on a salad at a restaurant last week. It was beautiful. Do we grow these in Georgia?
    Answer: Yes we do. Look for them now at local farmers markets. Watermelon radish is also known as beauty heart, roseheart or red meat radish. It gets its name from its interior of pink and rose and exterior of green and white. There are different forms with varying redness.
    Generally, watermelon radishes will get sweeter instead of hotter as they get larger. Peel them before eating. They are excellent to slice thin with a mandoline. Also use them on a platter with cheese or dips or to make quick pickles. They are also good sautéed in butter.

    Q: How tall does American holly grow?
    A: A mature specimen of American holly (Ilex opaca) can reach 45–50 feet.  Some people may only think of holly as branches for Christmas decorating, but this native holly can be a good specimen tree for office buildings, churches, government buildings, homes and schools. It is also a good choice to help block noise from freeways. It is a favorite of honeybees. Only the females will bear berries, but both male and female American hollies can be grand trees and should be considered.

    Q: My potted basil has some sort of powdery mildew that is turning the leaves brown. I feel sure this has been enhanced by the rain and damp weather. If I bring it inside for the winter, will it clear up?
    A: Do not try to overwinter the infected plant indoors as it will be a living host that will allow the disease to persist longer in your area. Start over with fresh seeds or plants from your local garden center.
    If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce ( or visit the department's website at www.agr.georgia.

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