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Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

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.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

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.

Activities for Kids at the SC Botanical Gardens

Dec 24, 2020
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

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.

Classes at the SC Botanical Garden

Dec 23, 2020
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

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.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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