Making It Grow Minutes


Gardening and horticulture news and tips, as well as agricultural information from Amanda McNulty, the host of SCETV's "Making It Grow" and Clemson University Extension Agent. Produced by South Carolina Public Radio.


  • Walking in the Beidler Forest

    Walking in the Beidler Forest

    26/12/2020 Duração: 01min

    The Audubon Society’s Francis Beidler Forest is the world’s largest untouched cypress-tupelo swamp, the perfect habitat for Prothonotary warblers, sometimes called swamp warblers. Specific birds have been tracked returning to the exact same hollowed out tre, year after year to build their nests. When a foot or two foot above water, these nests are less likely to be raided by racoons. A boardwalk makes this natural treasure which teams with unusual wildlife and plants accessible to the public, the adjacent long-leaf pine grasslands beckon as well. Because of COVID, you must make advanced reservations. The opportunities for nesting sites for this warbler have been expanded by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation. They partner with Kershaw County’s Andrew Jackson school to build nesting boxes and Wildlife staff have mounted over 300 in suitable places to attract these birds.

  • Nesting Boxes for Prothontary Warblers

    Nesting Boxes for Prothontary Warblers

    25/12/2020 Duração: 01min

    Jay Keck, who works for the South Carolina Wildlife Federation , called recently to thank me for re-upping my membership. As we chatted, he told me his group has partnered with Andrew Jackson High School whose students build bird boxes not only for screech owls but for Prothonotary warblers, as well. A migrating species, the yellow Prothonotaries sometimes travel two thousand miles a year; overwintering as far south as Mexico; before returning in spring to mate and raise young. They have specific requirements for nesting sites; preferring holes in dead trees in fairly extensive swampy areas. Many of these sites have been logged or drained resulting in habitat loss. Fortunately, they will use properly placed nesting boxes as alternative places to raise their young. Call South Carolina Wildlife to see if your property might qualify.

  • Activities for Kids at the SC Botanical Gardens

    Activities for Kids at the SC Botanical Gardens

    24/12/2020 Duração: 01min

    Even if you don’t have a large yard, you can use a small raised bed or even containers on a balcony to give your kids a hands-on experience growing vegetables, cooking and eating them, and learning about their history and importance. The South Carolina Botanical Garden has series with these fascinating topics – The Great Pea Race which Thomas Jefferson and his friends started, Wartime Secrets of Carrots – how important they were in Britain in World War II -- how corn, beans and squash, the three sisters, enriched the diet of native Americans, and ending with how pizza ingredients take you on a world-wide adventure. Seeds and supplemental materials make this both a hand’s on and virtual experience for young people including a Facebook page to share photos, recipes, and experiences. Search the South Carolina Botanical Garden for more information.

  • Classes at the SC Botanical Garden

    Classes at the SC Botanical Garden

    23/12/2020 Duração: 01min

    The South Carolina Botanical Garden is on the campus of Clemson University. The Garden is open for people to walk in and enjoy, with rules requiring masks and social distancing. In our coldest months, the magnificent camellia collection is alluring. But the beauty doesn’t stop there. In their latest newsletter, Director Sue Watts included photographs of many plants with great winter interest. They also have a series of classes coming up with registration now open. Topics include orchid care, butterfly gardening, secrets to success with tomatoes, planning for a great spring garden, and other virtual opportunities – one I’m looking forward to is spring ephemerals that bloom in the garden. Their virtual Junior Naturalist program encourages kids to learn more about the flora and fauna surrounding them. Search South Carolina Botanical Garden for information on these and other programs.

  • Encouraging Kids to Garden

    Encouraging Kids to Garden

    21/12/2020 Duração: 01min

    We are entering the long, dark days of winter which we hope will lead to a safer spring and summer as the Covid 19 vaccines become available. For some fresh, new activities for any children in your life, the South Carolina Botanical Garden has developed a program that encourages kids to get outside and garden by sending packages of seeds especially selected to grow well in our state, but the support and experience doesn’t end there. This series delves not only into the history of such topics as the “three sisters,” but cooking and growing tips as well. Seeds are mailed and the learning experience is strengthened by emails and videos specific to the crops being grown. The first planting begins in February with the Great Pea Race. Search South Carolina Botanical Garden for all the upcoming events.

  • A Fragrant Christmas Tree - Not Always a Good Thing

    A Fragrant Christmas Tree - Not Always a Good Thing

    28/11/2020 Duração: 01min

    My oldest daughter had asthma when she was young, and we had to be careful when getting a Christmas tree that it wasn’t fragrant. And now days I know several people with severe allergies to perfume, lit candles, or other smells. So a wonderfully fragrant tree might be wrong for your family. At the South Carolina Christmas Tree Association website, the farms list the types of trees they have available. You can make decisions about which farms have the trees best for your needs by first going to Clemson’s Home and Garden Information Center and search for Selecting a Christmas Tree, Fact sheet 1750 . They list all types of trees and tell you the complexity or lack of fragrance, how strong the branches are, shades of green with certain hues, and how well the needles hold on.

  • Selection and Care of a Christmas Tree

    Selection and Care of a Christmas Tree

    27/11/2020 Duração: 01min

    If you search “ South Carolina Christmas Tree Association ,” you’ll find ways of locating a farm near you. Click on “Member Farms” for the address, hours, types of trees available, and other services like premade garlands. Most have bow saws for you to use to cut your own tree and help you get trees out of the field. Usually they’ll put your tree on a shaking platform to remove any loose needles or debris before bundling your fresh tree to prevent wind damage. If it’s more than an hour after your tree is cut before you get home, saw off one more inch and immediately put it in a bucket or the stand filled with water. Check that water daily – fresh trees are thirsty and will keep their needles and fragrance longer when well hydrated. Don’t mist trees, water does not mix with electric lights.

  • Natural Christmas Trees vs. Artificial

    Natural Christmas Trees vs. Artificial

    26/11/2020 Duração: 01min

    The South Carolina Christmas Tree Association is a group of farmers who grow Christmas trees. Trees are a crop, a renewable resource. They add oxygen to the environment and when disposed of properly return nutrients to the soil, serve as temporary brush piles where small animals shelter, and even improve fish habitat in water ways. If you get a locally grown tree, the carbon footprint is as small as a reindeer’s print in the snow. On the other hand, artificial trees are made of plastic, and the carbon footprint travels from the oil fields to the manufacturer, the retailer and to your home. They never really break down instead becoming part of the microplastic pollution damaging the earth. Find a Christmas tree farm near you and take the family for a trip that will last in their memories for ever.

  • Finding a Christmas Tree

    Finding a Christmas Tree

    25/11/2020 Duração: 01min

    When my children were little, going to get a Christmas tree was a great family adventure. With eleven-foot ceilings, we wanted a great big tree and kept a bamboo pole as a guide and we’d strap it to the top of the car to take in the field with us. Back then, lots of farmers planted Eastern Red Cedars, a great native tree for wildlife, but very prickly if it dries out. Nowadays, Search the South Carolina Christmas Tree Association website to find a wide variety of trees to pick from and if they offer sturdy stands, garlands, or premade wreaths. Talking about those trips brings back fond memories for me and my kids – why don’t you start a Christmas tradition with your family this year with a safe and exciting shopping trip in the great outdoors.

  • Peanut Oil and Cholesterol

    Peanut Oil and Cholesterol

    23/11/2020 Duração: 01min

    A sharp-eared listener wrote me a nice note saying he thought I’d made in mistake in talking about health benefits of peanut oil. I checked and sure enough I said that as a monounsaturated fat, it lowered your HDL cholesterol as if that were a good thing. Well, I had it backwards. We want our HDL cholesterol, the excess which can be eliminated by our liver, to be a high number relative to the LDL type which can clog up our arteries. Now, cholesterol is necessary for life; our bodies manufacture it. Fortunately, we can use diet and exercise to try to keep the good HDL number higher and the LDL number lower. However, even with the best lifestyle choices, some people need meds to help as the one thing we can’t change is our genetic inheritance.

  • The Humble Peanut Is a World Traveler

    The Humble Peanut Is a World Traveler

    14/11/2020 Duração: 01min

    George Washington Carver developed several soups using boiled peanuts and they are delicious but somewhat bland, and you need boiled peanuts. I’ve found an exotic soup that is vegetarian, as we all have some family members or friends we need to prepare such a dish for. This one uses butternut squash which is the dickens to cut up but I’ve found it already peeled and cubed in some stores. You cook it with coconut milk, veggie broth, peanut butter and exotic spices, then blend when cool. It is absolutely delicious, and the addition of peanut butter gives it protein, so it sticks to your ribs. Isn’t it amazing that from their origin in Peru peanuts were distributed around the world by European traders and then came back to Americas as food for enslaved people brought here from Africa.

  • A Peanut Dish to Remember

    A Peanut Dish to Remember

    13/11/2020 Duração: 01min

    Fifty-two year ago I went on a high school “educational” tour to Europe. In Amsterdam, we stayed on a government training ship for their naval recruits -- this was no luxury cruise ship, believe me. But the food was delicious. The Dutch colonized Indonesia in the late fifteen hundreds -- spices were among goods Europeans wanted, nutmeg and cloves came from this colony. For our final celebratory meal, the ship’s cooks prepared a dish of spicy chicken on rice with peanut gravy and a soft fried egg on top that I’ve dreamed about all these years. Now I’m finding tips on peanut gravy as a healthier and more interesting way of seasoning broccoli, cauliflower and more than a fattening cheese sauce or just lots of butter. If you’re cooking new things, look up Indonesian peanut gravy and give it a try.

  • Goober Peas

    "Goober Peas"

    12/11/2020 Duração: 01min

    While looking up information about peanuts, I found an NPR story that included a YouTube video of Burl Ives and Johnny Cash singing “Goober Peas,” a song about the Confederate Army. Burl Ives tells the tale of Mr. Goober pulling up a peanut plant and giving it his name, while Johnny Cash said his grandfather called them ground peas. At that time, peanuts weren’t considered a desirable food; this song reflects the hunger of the soldiers who were happy to be eating this nutritious legume. When peanuts made their return trip with enslaved people to the New World, their country of origin, goober was probably a corruption of the Kongo word nguba while pindar probably came from mpinda. Ground nuts, pindars, goobers, goober peas, groundpeas, all down home ways of talking about our now staple and healthy food – the peanut.

  • Types of Peanuts

    Types of Peanuts

    11/11/2020 Duração: 01min

    There are two main types of peanuts – bunch and runner. Runner peanuts have long underground stems with shells containing seeds growing the length of that runner, and these peanut plants cover the entire surface of the field. These are the ones I see growing in fields in Calhoun County. Bunch peanuts have their nuts clustered at the end of their underground stems. From the standpoint of production, runner peanuts have higher yields and almost all peanut butter is made from those. Virginia peanuts are large seeded and selected for a distinctive flavor – they’re sometimes called ball park peanuts and often come at a premium price. In recent years some are sold as blister peanuts – they’re soaked in water and then fried in oil and once you taste them you’ll probably be hooked. Isn’t almost everything better when fried?

  • How Peanuts Grow

    How Peanuts Grow

    09/11/2020 Duração: 01min

    Peanuts start off growing like many other plants. Farmers plant seeds, individual peanuts, when the risk of frost is over. The plants emerge, grow about eighteen inches high and those with runner types vines eventual cover the entire field. The yellow flowers that bloom are self-pollinating. Now the fascinating part starts -- the petals fall off and the ovary at the tip of the stalk turns into what’s called a peg – growing down towards and into the soil. It then grows horizontally as a stem on which develop into nuts we call shells which are filled with the peanuts. Each plant can produce about forty shells containing different numbers of peanuts depending on the variety and growing conditions. From an environmental standpoint, peanuts are a beneficial crop as they fix nitrogen and use relatively small amounts of water.

  • Peanuts in Agriculture

    Peanuts in Agriculture

    31/10/2020 Duração: 01min

    Until two thousand and two the United States government had a quota system on how many acres could be planted in peanuts. Since that program ended, South Carolina farmers have gone from 10,000 acres to over eighty-thousand acres today. Peanuts grow better here than soybeans and are more profitable, and, of course they are important to plant in rotation with cotton as they have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, replenishing soils depleted by the heavy feeding cotton. Over 400 South Carolina farmers now incorporate peanuts into their cropping systems and we have twelve buying points where farmers take their peanuts, have them graded and sold. In the United States as a whole, people eat 7.6 six pounds of peanuts a year – mostly peanut butter, but I bet here boiled peanuts are pretty high on the consumption chart.

  • Creating the Market for Peanuts

    Creating the Market for Peanuts

    30/10/2020 Duração: 01min

    When the tremendous benefits of George Washington Carver’s regime of rotating cotton with peanuts resulted in huge numbers of peanuts being grown, it created a dilemma. There wasn’t much demand for peanuts – we weren’t making peanut butter sandwiches or roasting peanuts or using them for candies. But Carter developed mind-boggling uses for this plant. Paint pigments, different types of paper, sweeping compound, and charcoal were some of the items made from the shells or vines of peanuts. Peanut butter, oil, hand cream, face cream, soap and axle grease were made from the peanuts themselves. Also, Dr. Carver was way ahead of the fad for almond milk – he made a milk substitute from peanuts that can still be made for those who can’t tolerate lactose – so you can enjoy a glass of milk with your pb&j sandwich.

  • Origins of the Peanut

    Origins of the Peanut

    30/10/2020 Duração: 01min

    The Incas selected and developed peanuts from a wild ancestor 4000 years ago. The Spanish and Portuguese invaders carried the seeds to Africa, Asia and India where they quickly became part of those peoples’ diets and a crucial ingredient in many recipes. They were reintroduced to the New World as a food for the people captured in Africa and sent to the Americas as slaves. It wasn’t until Dr. Carver began his campaign promoting peanuts that they became recognized as a healthy addition to the diet of all Americans. Peanut oil in recent years has become extremely popular as its high smoke point makes it perfect for frying those Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys. It’s a monounsaturated fat which lowers the bad LDL cholesterol and contain high levels of the antioxidant Vitamin E. Please note: in our original MIG Minute we said that the "bad" cholestoral was "HDL." We regret the error.

  • George Washington Carver - and Peanuts - Helped Save Southern Farmland

    George Washington Carver - and Peanuts - Helped Save Southern Farmland

    28/10/2020 Duração: 01min

    George Washington Carver was born a year before the emancipation of enslaved people and was raised by a white family who treated him as a son. A somewhat sickly child, he concentrated on education but opportunities were limited for him. Eventually, he studied art at a mid-western school and through those connections was the first black student accepted at Iowa State University, earning an advanced degree. Booker T. Washington pleaded with Carver to come to the all-black Tuskegee Institute, where he did pioneering work into crop rotation. Southern farmers planted cotton year after year with dwindling yields from the depleted fields. His introduction of planting peanuts after cotton changed the face of agriculture in the south. Members of the legume family, peanuts added nitrogen to those worn out soils.

  • Boiling Peanuts

    Boiling Peanuts

    26/10/2020 Duração: 01min

    My husband has been heating up the kitchen, giving our little window unit a real workout, as our grocery store has beautiful green peanuts for sale, perfect for boiling. He fills up a big pot with water, peanuts, and salt, a little apple cider vinegar, a couple of jugs of hot sauce and then starts cooking them. It takes about four or five hours! It takes a lot of salt, more than if you were cooking pasta. Now I’ve found several peanut soup recipes I want to try – but It’ll be hard to sit and peel enough for the recipe without filling up on them – kind of like picking crabs. These recipes were developed by the person responsible for peanuts’ popularity in the United States, George Washington Carver, whose pioneering work earned him the well-deserved name “The Peanut Man.”