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.

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.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

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.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

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.

"Goober Peas"

Nov 12, 2020
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

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.

Types of Peanuts

Nov 11, 2020
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

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.

How Peanuts Grow

Nov 9, 2020
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

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.

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.