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Favorite Vegetables of the Nightshade Family

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The nightshade family, Solanaceae, includes some of our favorite vegetables (although they’re fruits in the botanical framework). One important gardening and farming practice is crop rotation. If you plant the same crop over and over again, diseases that favor that plant family will build up in the soil. So it’s important to keep gardening dairies and to know what plants are related to each other so you can rotate effectively. The nightshade family is filled with some of our favorite vegetables. Besides tomatoes, other members are peppers, eggplants, and potatoes, and still an important agricultural crop, tobacco. Flowers include Datura, brugmansia, petunias and nicotiana. Some family members are filled with poisonous alkaloids –  one is Belladonna or deadly nightshade, which didn’t stop women in the past from using it to dilate their pupils to achieve bedroom eyes. In Italian, Belladonna means beautiful woman.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.