Making It Grow Minute

Mon-Sat, throughout the day

Amanda McNulty of Clemson University’s Extension Service and host of ETV’s six-time Emmy Award-winning show, Making It Grow, offers gardening tips and techniques.

Archive: Making It Grow Podcasts, January 2011 - September 2014

Ways to Connect

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.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The average age of South Carolina’s farmers is 59 and a half years, a sobering statistic when you consider that agribusiness is the largest sector of South Carolina’s economy.  Some of these growers do have family members   interested in continuing these   businesses, but there’re many farms that don’t have a younger person training to take over their operation. 

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Ancient fossil records show some pretty fascinating facts about how both plants and insects responded to changing levels of atmospheric oxygen, fossil records show dragonfly relatives with wingspans of up to three feet during times of very high oxygen concentrations. Cockroaches stayed the same size but the hollow tracheal tubes that carried oxygen through their bodies got smaller, allowing the insects to invest resources in other dimensions.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Usually after several hard frosts, we get a break from cockroach surprises in the kitchen. So I was surprised when a huge palmetto bug ran across the pantry shelf last week. But it could have been worse.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. When ancient clubmosses in the family Lycopodiacaea were growing in what is now the coal fields of West Virginia, over 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous period the weather was much warmer and carbon dioxide levels vastly greater than today. Sometimes carbon dioxide is a limiting factor in plant growth – the ancient relatives of today’s clubmosses, plants like running cedar, grew to enormous heights of over 100 feet in those humid, warm swampy conditions.

Origins of Coal

Jan 18, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Our 1880’s house in St. Matthews was built with coal-burning fireplaces.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We have old fireplaces in our house but use them sparing since the flues haven’t been relined. Our house was built with shallow fireplaces   designed to burn coal, a much more efficient fuel than wood; although it isn’t as immediately gratifying as a blazing wood fire, coal lasts longer and gives more even warmth.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The roadsides of highway 1-77 near the Congaree River are filled right now with a very showy plant. Baccharis halimifolia, or groundsel, has moved up from the coast along with man’s disturbances. Female plants produce thousands of seeds which grow so prolifically that in some states groundsel is considered a noxious weed, even though it’s native.  

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Baccharis halimifolia,   is a native plant but you might not want it in your yard. It’s striking in late fall when the female flowers develop into seeds with showy white hairs that aid in wind dispersement.    Earlier in the fall, the male plants (Baccharis is dioecious =-- male and female flowers are on separate plants) produce copious amounts of pollen causing hay fever in sensitive individuals. This plant was once grew mostly near the coast.

Tony Melton

Jan 11, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Those of you who watch Making It Grow are familiar with my friend and fellow extension agent, Tony Melton. Tony makes no bones about the hard times his family experienced trying to make a living on those sandy soils when he was growing up in McBee. He started picking cotton and butterbeans in his grandfather’s garden when he was five.

McLeod Farms

Jan 9, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. McLeod Farms in McBee is well-known for its peaches. Located on deep sands, this farm was an early pioneer in drip irrigation, which dramatically reduced water usage compared to traditional overhead watering. They continue as leaders in the agricultural community, always embracing new and improved practices.

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