Amanda McNulty

Host, Producer

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.

Ways to Connect

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Clemson’s Department of Pesticide Regulation is an established link in our state for farms which want to become certified organic. The application process is designed to meet the required National Organic Program Standards and guide growers in documenting their organic compliance. A critical part of the procedure is a scheduled on-site visit which is followed by a decision; sometimes with restrictions or suggestions.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Extension Agent Tony Melton and others always remind us to read the label before applying pesticides. Among the directions often listed are warnings about spraying when it is windy or very hot. These conditions can lead to pesticide drift – the product getting on plants that weren’t the intended target.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you employ a landscape maintenance company, be sure that they have a commercial pesticide license. State law requires that anyone who transports pesticides to use on their paying job on other people’s property or a government agency that is applying pesticides, including mosquito spraying, must obtain and display  decals on the front of their vehicle.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In order to get a pesticide license to buy restricted use products, and to apply any pesticide commercially,  farmers, growers, exterminator’s, and landscape professionals must pass exams. For a private applicator license, people take a day-long course at a local extension office.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Certain pesticides, a term that means insecticides, fungicides, algaecides, rodenticides and others are not ones you and I can go in a store and buy. They are under a special category called restricted use products. The Environmental Protection Agency gives permits for the chemicals we use in our homes and gardens.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Controlled slow release, water-insoluble nitrogen, urea formaldehyde, sulfur-coated urea. These terms describe   fertilizers that release nutrients to plants over an extended period of time as opposed to old-fashioned, quick release fertilizers. The advantage of quick release fertilizers is price – but it may be a false savings as they can burn plants and in heavy rainfalls, you can lose nutrients to leaching and run off and possibly pollute nearby waterways.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. When you get a container plant from a nursery, usually you see what looks like tiny plastic balls on the top of the soil. The technical name for these structures is a prill and they  are examples of a slow-release formulation, polymer coated fertilizer.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Controlled release, controlled slow-release or water-insoluble nitrogen fertilizer blends have plant nutrients but in forms that are not all immediately made available to the plants. Typically, the nutrient blends are coated or encapsulated and as that coating ages and is exposed to moisture or reacts to temperature or soil acidity, the fertilizer is released into the soil where plant roots can use it for growth.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although plants don’t care if the nutrients they receive are from organic or inorganic sources, the availability of nutrients in the fertilizer you apply is important. Traditional synthetic fertilizer, such as the iconic ten-ten-ten, is water-soluble and considered quick release fertilizer.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Late March and April are good times to fertilize trees and shrubs but not your lawn. Our warm-season turf grasses, centipede grass, St. Augustine, Zoysia and Bermuda are semi-tropical in origin. Although they’re starting to turn green, they aren’t fully revved up until Mid-May. That’s when your lawn can make the best us of the fertilizer you apply and you’ll reduce your chances of having the soluble nitrogen and potassium leach and possibly cause pollution.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A caller recently asked if yellow jessamine, known for its toxicity to people, was poisonous to bees. Our native bees and several butterflies serve as pollinators for this vine, our state flower. Carpenter bees, however, are too big to enter the fused floral tube and rob nectar by chewing a hole at the base of the flower. 

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. For all its beauty, if you get yellow jessamine growing in amongst large shrubs, you are going to have a time getting it out. Its twining and twisting slender stems are strong, hard to disengage from surrounding plant material, and are full of rash-causing alkaloids. Use gloves and pruners if this vine is growing in an area where it’s unwelcome.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Our state flower, Yellow Jessamine, uses its slender but strong twining black stems to catch hold of stems and branches as it climbs to the tops of pines and hardwoods before cascading downward with masses of golden yellow flowers. Without aerial roots or other attaching structures it can’t adhere to masonry, so in gardens it needs a wire fence or trellis to wind its way through for support.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Oh, my goodness, in days past our South Carolina legislature was filled with gifted orators who could not doubt make even an insult sounds flattering. But when praise was intended, their words become ethereal. The senators and representatives of those times were mainly from rural areas and well acquainted with yellow jessamine.

A Yellow Jessamine vine with buds and blooms.
H. Zell, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Our state flower, which is making a glorious display along the roadsides and on trellis and fences,  is  yellow jessamine. The scientific name is Gelsemium sempervirens, sempervirens meaning ever living for the ever-green foliage on this vine.

Smart Tractors?

Mar 18, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Blanchard Equipment joined with the Clemson Research and Development Center in Blackville to present a program on precision agriculture. We used to be amazed that tractors had air conditioning and radios – today they are more like mobile laboratories that are constantly gathering information and making adjustment as the machine travels throughout the field.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Researcher Ahmad Khalilian at the Edisto Research and Development Center and  Phillip Williams are using nitrogen sensors to dramatically reduce applications of that fertilizer without having any reduction in crop yields, saving farmers money and protecting the environment.    He measures the nitrogen content of plants growing in a small, nitrogen rich test plot to determine the optimum level in plant tissues.  

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Clemson’s public service  agriculture component, called Clemson PSA , has a free publication called  IMPACTS. The 2016 winter issue, available at your local Extension office or through Lehotsky Hall on campus, focuses on precision agriculture, including water monitoring, varied fertilizer rates,  and also how  drones are being used for diagnostic purposes.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A major aspect of Integrated Pest Management is scouting – checking growing crops frequently to detect early outbreaks of disease or insect problem. In the old days, people took four-wheeler into fields and stopped periodically to take samples from test sites.A muddy, lumpy field is not the safest place even for an all terrain vehicle and A cousin of mine was among many of those wheeled detection  people who were injured while working.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In the upstate of South Carolina, we have some specialty fruit producers who grow crops on steep hillsides, and worldwide these conditions are not unusual. These fields are hard enough to maneuver when conditions are perfect, but after a few days of rain, not only are the crops susceptible to fungal infections but it’s nearly impossible to get conventional spray equipment into the field if a pesticide application is necessary.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. You may think that drones are going to be most useful in the future to bring you a new best-selling book or an obscure ingredient for a sophisticated recipe, but the actual and potential uses for agriculture are mind boggling. At many productions meetings in recent years, we’ve ended by going outside the classroom to see a demonstration – not by an extension specialist but by an actual farmers.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although fall is the best time to plant   trees and shrubs in South Carolina, some of the specialty fruit crops are only available for shipping in the spring. If you don’t have a backyard blueberry patch,  plant one now and know that both you and your yet unborn grandchildren can enjoy it – blueberries are that long-lived.

Growing Blueberrys

Feb 17, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We get calls over and over on our Making It Grow show from people who’ve bought an old piece of property that has huge blueberry bushes growing there; and that’s not surprising as blueberry bushes can be very, very long lived. But one-year old canes are the most productive so older stands must be thinned and rejuvenated.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although you probably get tired of hearing us say it, taking a soil sample is the first step to having a successful garden this spring. No matter if you are going to use conventional fertilizer or go organic, getting the pH, or acidity of the soil correct is critical. 

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Frequently people call Extension offices asking what to do with unused pesticides they have at their home. Or a parent has died and the family is faced with a shed filled with outdated products that are no longer recommended for use. These products can’t be taken to your local country landfills and they absolutely should not be poured out on the ground.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you wonder why the food at the finest Charleston restaurants is so phenomenally delicious, it’s a combination of superb chefs and the finest and freshest ingredients imaginable.

Grow Food Carolina

Feb 11, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Team Making It Grow headed to the Lowcountry recently to film Grow Food Carolina. A division of the Coastal Conservation League, Grow Food operates as a food hub, providing the infrastructure that connects    local farmers and producers with those who need their products; they want farmers to be successful so that their land can remain in agriculture.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Many organizations in South Carolina are concerned about our aging population of farmers. Charleston-based Lowcountry Local First is dedicated to   supporting local entrepreneurs in business and farming. They describe their organization as a way of life that celebrates and supports the local, independent businesses and farmers who reflect the unique character, flavor, and culture of that special part of South Carolina. 

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.  The average age of farmers in South Carolina is 59 and a half years, and although farmers don’t usually retire at early, many of them are looking for someone else to come into the business. To help bridge this need, Clemson Extension’s Agribusiness program offers the South Carolina New and Beginning Farm Program.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The Commissioner’s School of Agriculture, a week-long program held at Clemson University, offers high school students an overview of the multitude of careers associated with agri-business.   According to Clemson’s Katie Black, director of the program, “The goal of the school is to expose ambitious high school students to the array of career and educational opportunities in agriculture, natural resources and life sciences.

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