Making It Grow

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Boiling Peanuts

Oct 26, 2020

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.

I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. On our visit to film at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, we learned about displays designed to reflect the native areas of a specific animal. We started out at the sealion and seal exhibit. Obviously, there weren’t plants in the water, but curator Melody Scott Leach has planted the surrounding areas to resemble the wind-swept California coasts home to these animals.

I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. During our filming with horticulturist Melody Scott Leach at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, we learned about what animal exhibit specialists call furniture. This means plants or other items placed inside the animal enclosure.  For example, the rhinoceroses need shade but these massive animals could easily destroy trees by rubbing against them.

Immersion Horticulture for Zoos

Oct 15, 2020

I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. As part of putting our toes back in the water during these difficult times, Team Making It Grow is looking for outdoor places to film. Recently, we visited Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia. There’s a special branch of horticulture for areas that involve animal exhibits. Melody Scott Leach fills that role there and she gave us a fascinating tour and explanation of that subset of gardening.

I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. At our recent filming at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, we met several people who help our friend Katie Dickson by volunteering, working year round in summer’s heat and winter’s cold. We talked with some of them who said they get more in sharing friendships and learning than they give with their valuable skills. Many, many public gardens rely on generous hearted volunteers who help with greenhouses, planting and the inevitable and unfun task of weeding.

I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Team Making It Grow is going back out to film interesting places to share with our viewers. Public gardens seem like just the ticket in these times, especially now that the temperatures are lower. Our first trip was to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens where our friend Katie Dickson is in charge of seasonal displays for lots of WOW.

I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you are plagued by deer, there are two groups of bulbs made to order for your yard. First, any of the Narcissus genus members – daffodils, jonquils, and narcissus and also the Lycoris members. Some accounts say that Lycoris radiata was taken from China to Japan to plant around rice paddies as it contains poisonous compounds thought to keep rodents away.

Naked Lady Lilly

Oct 2, 2020

I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Another Lycoris species often found in older gardens has a wonderfully amusing common name – Naked Lady Lilly, Lycoris squamigera. The naked part of its name is because just like with spider lilies, the Naked Lady Lily just springs up out of the ground without any foliage associated with the stem supporting the flowers. The pink is very soft but not pale and is large enough to hold its own in a container by itself.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Spider lilies are one of my favorite garden flowers for arrangements. The multiple flowers at the top of a single stem have long slender petals; they’re large but with their airy presence don’t dominate your artistry. If you’re using Oasis, a k a, wet floral foam, you’ll probably need a skinny dowel or pencil to poke a hole into the oasis first so the stem won’t collapse when you try to push it in.

Hurricane Lillies?

Sep 30, 2020

Hello, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. I don’t think the person who gave the common name Hurricane Lily to what I’ve always called spider lilies, Lycoris radiata meant to cast aspersions on them -- These spidery looking blossoms often do pop up overnight a big rain – thus the Hurricane Lily moniker. Extremely persistent, the foliage emerges after the flowers.

Spider Lillies

Sep 28, 2020

Hello, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. At a  home in Saint Matthews, dating from 1880, the yard is now  naturalized. But in the fall, you can see where the formal beds from probably a century ago were the planted. Almost overnight, usually after a good, drenching rain, twelve to fifteen inch tall brilliant red spider lilies, Lycoris radiata,  pop up and continue blooming for almost a month.