agriculture

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.

SC Farmer's Markets

Apr 18, 2017

The Local and Slow food movements are gaining ground in South Carolina and your farmer’s market is a great place to find fresh, regional, and organic food while you support community farms and the local economy.

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.

"A" is for Asparagus

Apr 10, 2017

"A" is for Asparagus. Asparagus was an important cash crop in South Carolina from the 1910s until the mid-1930s.With cotton prices low and the boll weevil creeping closer, farmers in the "Ridge" counties of Aiken, Edgefield, and Saluda began planting asparagus to supplement declining cotton income. By 1916 they had organized as Asparagus Growers Association and shipped 44 railroad carloads to northern markets. High prices during World War I led farmers in neighboring counties to plant the vegetable.

Aiken County cotton farmer Carl Brown overlooks one of his fields.
Tut Underwood/ SC Public Radio

American consumers buy nearly 20 billion new items of clothing a year, many of them made of Southern cotton, but 98 percent made overseas.  A University of South Carolina professor wondered about the journey of cotton from South Carolina to China and back. Laura Kissel says she learned a lot about the cotton-to-cloth-to-clothing process while making a documentary film about the people who grow the cotton and make the garments.  

Aiken County farmer Carl Brown discusses the changes in cotton farming over the course of his career. 

"I" Is for Indigo

Mar 20, 2017

"I" is for indigo. Indigo, a plant that produces a blue dye was an important part of 18th century South Carolina's economy. It was grown commercially from 1747 till 1800 and was second only to rice in export value. Eliza Lucas Pinckney experimented with its cultivation in the 1730s and 1740s. In 1749 Parliament placed a bounty of six pence per pound on the dye.

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.

Industrial Hemp Seen as a Potential Boon to Farmers

Mar 7, 2017
Sign at the end of the road near the Baxley's farm
Cooper McKim/SC Public Radio

On a 5000-acre farm in Marion County, the Baxley family grows corn, soybeans, tobacco, and peanuts. In the past few years, intense storms have ruined their harvesting season, denying the family much needed revenue.  Neal Baxley, who manages the farm with his dad, is interested in planting a new crop, one that's more flexible, resilient, and profitable. For Baxley, hemp is the answer. The only problem is hemp isn't legal to produce in South Carolina. Cooper McKim reports that the state is one of many currently trying to legalize hemp production this year.

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.

More and more, boxes and crates of fresh produce leaving the Palmetto State for stores and markets in other states are bearing an increasingly familiar sticker: "Certified South Carolina Grown." Ansley Turnblad, branding coordinator for the S.C. Dept. of Agriculture, says the brand encourages people to look for, ask for and buy South Carolina produce.

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.

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.

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