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Tony Melton: Butterbean Research

Making It Grow Radio Minute
SC Public Radio

Until his retirement, Tony Melton left home at five most mornings to start visiting farmers in multiple counties. In addition to that, Dr. Matt Smith at the Pee Dee Research Center asked Tony about trying to develop heat tolerant butterbeans. Tony willingly agreed; he told me that with hotter night- time temperatures, the seeds available wouldn’t set beans. For six years, Tony did this extra work selecting and growing out promising seeds. Fortunately, Extension specialist Bruce McLean is continuing this work based on the strong foundation Tony established. There is a wonderful song you should look up if you, like my family adore this vegetable. It starts off with “Just a bowl of butter beans, pass the biscuits if you please, I don’t want no collard greens, just a bowl of butterbeans."

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.