Con­sumer ques­tions

The Standard Journal - - FARM & GARDEN -

Ques­tion: I kept two poin­set­tias from last Christ­mas and have been pam­per­ing them all sum­mer. I know they need spe­cial pe­ri­ods of dark­ness to make them bloom. What do I need to do and when do I do it?

An­swer: A poin­set­tia needs an un­in­ter­rupted dark pe­riod at night to trig­ger it to form its col­or­ful bracts. For eight to 10 weeks be­gin­ning the first of Oc­to­ber, the plant must be kept in to­tal dark­ness for 14 con­tin­u­ous hours each and ev­ery night. Keep the plant in dark­ness by mov­ing it to a closet or cov­er­ing it with a large box. Any in­ter­rup­tion of the dark pe­riod with any kind of light such as turn­ing on the closet light or re­mov­ing the plant’s cover will de­lay flow­er­ing. Even car head­lights can dis­rupt the process. Dur­ing the weeks the poin­set­tia is given the dark treat­ment at night, the plant must also re­ceive six to eight hours of bright sun­light dur­ing the day. Depend­ing on the re­sponse time of the par­tic­u­lar va­ri­ety, the poin­set­tia will come into full bloom dur­ing Novem­ber or De­cem­ber.

Q: I was told fire­wood could only be sold by the cord. What ex­actly is a cord?

A: Ac­cord­ing to reg­u­la­tions, wood of any type sold as fuel for fire­places or stoves must be sold by the cord, frac­tion of a cord or cu­bic mea­sure. A cord is de­fined as 128 cu­bic feet of wood stacked by the line or row in a com­pact man­ner with in­di­vid­ual pieces touch­ing. The cord can be four feet high, four feet wide (deep) and eight feet long, or any com­bi­na­tion of these mea­sure­ments (height, width and length) that yield 128 cu­bic feet of fire­wood (4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. = 128 cu­bic feet). Although con­sumers easily can mea­sure the height and length of a cord of wood, they should pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the width (depth) of the cord. Since it is im­prac­ti­cal to cut fire­wood into lengths of four feet for most uses, con­sumers likely will want the wood in more man­age­able lengths of 24 or 16 inches for use in fire­places and stoves. There­fore, for wood stacked in rows four feet high and eight feet long, it will take two rows of 24-inch wood or three rows of 16-inch wood to pro­vide a width (depth) of four feet (48 inches).

Con­sumers may find fire­wood sold in small bun­dles or shrinkwrapped pack­ages at con­ve­nience stores and other re­tail out­lets. How­ever, the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture re­quires that the quan­tity of the fire­wood be clearly dis­played on the pack­age in terms of cu­bic mea­sure so the con­sumer will know the ex­act amount of wood pur­chased.

Some fire­wood sellers state in their ads that the selling price in­cludes stack­ing the wood. If the seller does stack the fire­wood upon de­liv­ery, con­sumers are ad­vised to check the di­men­sions of the stacked wood be­fore com­plet­ing the trans­ac­tion to en­sure they have the quan­tity of wood they agreed to pur­chase. Any dis­crep­an­cies can then be re­solved be­fore the sale is com­pleted and the seller leaves the premises.

If a seller does not ad­ver­tise that he will stack the wood when it is de­liv­ered, the con­sumer should be pre­pared to stack the wood upon de­liv­ery in or­der to ver­ify the quan­tity be­fore com­plet­ing the sale.

Q: I heard on a ra­dio show that gar­den­ers should plant more “mi­nor bulbs” to bloom in spring. What is a mi­nor bulb?

A: Daf­fodils, hy­acinths and tulips are the three spring-bloom­ing bulbs that oc­cupy the most space in gar­dens, cat­a­logs and gar­den cen­ter shelves. “Mi­nor bulb” is an un­for­tu­nate term used to re­fer to ev­ery­thing else. “Mi­nor” does not re­fer to the size of the flow­ers or the im­pact they can have in your gar­den.

Some of the spring­bloom­ing bulbs that are lumped into this group are cro­cus, scilla, mus­cari, al­lium, anemone, ca­mas­sia, snow­drops, leu­co­jum, dich­e­lostemma and triteleia. Per­haps a bet­ter term would be “lesser­known bulbs.” There are not as many va­ri­eties of these as there are of the “big three,” but they are cer­tainly worth con­sid­er­ing to add more di­ver­sity to your gar­den.

If you have ques­tions about ser­vices or prod­ucts reg­u­lated by the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, write Arty Schronce ([email protected]­or­gia.gov).

Con­trib­uted

A poin­set­tia should be kept in dark­ness to trig­ger color.

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