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Consumer Qs: moss, ‘trash’ snack mix, crock pot

Question: Moss is killing my grass. What do I need to do?
Answer: Moss is not killing your grass. Moss is growing because conditions are right for it and not right for your grass.
Moss likes damp, acidic soil. Liming will help make the soil less acidic. Aerating will allow more oxygen into the damp soil and encourage grass roots to grow. Moss thrives in shady conditions, but grass needs sun. Shady areas stay moist longer than sunny areas. Allowing more sunshine and air circulation by pruning trees and hedges will help by providing the sunnier, drier areas grass needs. If your moss is in a sunny area, perhaps you are watering too much.
However, you don’t necessarily “need” to do anything. If you are having a constant battle with moss, consider letting it take over and having a lawn of just moss. The Japanese have cultivated moss gardens for hundreds of years. Moss looks and feels like a carpet of green velvet – and it doesn’t need mowing, fertilizing or any pesticides. It also ranges more widely in color and texture than grass does.

Q: I am looking for a recipe for a party mix we called “trash.” Some people called it “nuts & bolts.” It had Chex™ cereals, pecans, peanuts, pretzels and more and was seasoned with garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce.
A: Sometimes it seems there are as many variations of party mixes utilizing Chex™ cereals as there are stars in the Andromeda Galaxy. There are numerous names for these mixes, and the same name may be shared by different recipes. And everyone seems to think their version is the original and the best!
We cannot find an original recipe named “trash” from a primary printed source although we have heard the mix you describe called that. It was explained to us that it was called that because it consisted of such a wide array of snacks and cereals thrown together.
On her Deep South Dish website (www.deepsouthdish.com), Mary Foreman posted a copy of a 1952 Chex™ advertisement from Life magazine with this recipe for a “new party mix”: Add 1/2 c. butter in shallow baking pan. Stir in 1 T. Worcestershire sauce. Add 2 c. Wheat Chex™, 2 c. Rice Chex™, and 1/2 c. nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt and 1/8 t. garlic salt; mix well. Heat 30 mins in 300 degree oven, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool.
If you visit the Deep South Dish website you will also find Ms. Foreman’s version of the recipe along with memories and ideas on this very varied snack mix. Like you, some of the people who left comments on the website also call the snack mix “trash.”
Visit the Chex™ Party Mix website (www.chexpartymix.com) for even more ideas. The recipe listed as the “original” on the website includes bagel chips, which were probably not on the market in the 1950s, and gives directions for a microwave oven, something not found in homes in the early ‘50s, however.
Almost all the variations sound good to us. We recommend including Georgia Grown peanuts and pecans and perhaps some of the flavored salts produced here in Georgia.

Q: Is it safe to cook meat in a crock pot?
A: Yes. Slow cookers or crock pots can safely cook food. These countertop appliances cook foods slowly at a low temperature – generally between 170 degrees F and 280 degrees F. The low heat helps leaner, less expensive, cuts of meat become tender and causes less shrinkage. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking time and steam created within the tightly covered container combine to destroy bacteria and make a slow cooker or crock pot a safe option for cooking foods as well as an economical and winter-warming choice.

If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce (arty.schronce@agr.georgia.gov) or visit www.agr.georgia.gov