making it grow

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Field grown tomatoes can be effectively pollinated by wind but the addition of powerful buzz-pollinating bees, bumble bees and the much-maligned carpenter bees, improves the outcome. When growing tomatoes in greenhouses, the producers can either use mechanical pollination or maintain colonies of bumblebees. Effective mechanical pollination requires workers to vibrate each fruiting cluster with devices, sometimes battery-powered toothbrushes.

Clemson Extension Agent and Host of Making It Grow Amanda McNulty talks with fellow Clemson Extension Agent Laura Lee Rose about edible plants for the home landscape.

Clemson Extension Agent and Host of Making It Grow Amanda McNulty talks with fellow Clemson Extension Agent Laura Lee Rose abut her creation of a rain garden in Beaufort, SC with the help of Beaufort County and Master Gardeners.

"Buzz" Pollinators

May 1, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Tomatoes  need movement for pollination. Their pollen containing anthers have slits or pores in them and release the pollen  then stimulated by wind or vibrations. As wind moves the flowers the pollen is released and falls on the female stigma. The best insect pollinators are not honey bees but bumble bees and carpenter bees. These insects which have super strong chest muscles,frequently visit flowers in the nightshade family.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Growing the delicious garden tomato becomes more and more elusive for me. Back in the day,  my parents would put a few tomato plants in amongst the foundation plantings and we’d have plenty of those summer treats. Now with increased disease and insect pressure, I‘ve become an aficionado of cherry tomatoes which seem easier to grow; although you need a really sharp knife  if you are going to slice them for BLT’s.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. I’ve been noticing Chickasaw plums on my drive to Sumter recently. I see them on the dry, open woodlands as I drive down towards the Wateree flood plain. They’re modest in size, open and twiggy trees that you wouldn’t call spectacular, as even in bloom their beauty is somewhat ephemeral.  They do make small fruits that are enjoyed by wildlife as they aren’t picky about the damage caused by the plum curculio like we are.

Chickasaw Plum

Apr 12, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A much less noticeable member of the genus prunus which is native to South Carolina is Prunus angustifolia, with the common name of Chickasaw plum. In South Carolina, we find it in mixed stands growing in medium to dry soils, often in dense thickets. It has good tolerance to drought, and in its western range is extremely important as a food and shelter source for animals.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Both Prunus serotina, black cherry, and Prunus caroliniana, cherry laurel, contain prussic acid, cyanide, and the wilted leaves especially are harmful to horses and cattle. If you crush the leaves of black cherry, you can really smell that acrid compound. On the other hand, if you rub cherry laurel glossy evergreen leaves together between your hands, they smell just like maraschino cherries.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Cherry laurel Prunus caroliniana is one of our native members of the genus prunus. Unlike its deciduous relative, Prunus serotina, this evergreen plant with dense foliage is somewhat cold sensitive and is found in the coastal plains of the gulf and Atlantic states from North Carolina to Texas. In past centuries, this fast growing plant was used extensively for hedges.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We have several native members of the genus Prunus in South Carolina. We’ve talked a good bit about the one that’s getting attention now for its unsightliness – black cherry, Prunus serotina, the favorite larval food source for the eastern tent caterpillars whose webs are highly visible. 

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Our native black cherry tree, Prunus serotina, produces showy, elongated racemes of individual white, perfect, flowers in early spring. These flowers have pollen and nectar coveted by insects and are pollinated by native bees, flies, and honeybees. In early summer they ripen and have a sweet, pungent taste. If you’re interested in foraging, you might want to look in the old cookbook Charleston Receipts for the cherry bounce recipe.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Our native black cherry, Prunus serotina, is usually defaced this time of year by a large web of silk that houses several hundred leaf-eating Eastern tent caterpillars. If you can reach the web, use a small rake to pull the mass to the ground. Then you can actually stomp on the caterpillars and destroy them. If you don’t, they will march right back up the tree. If you can’t reach the nest, don’t fret, as the tree will produce new leaves and continue photosynthesizing for the rest of the season.

Black Cherry Wood

Apr 4, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The wood that comes from our native black cherry tree, Prunus serotina, is the most prized in the forestry/timber industry. The wood has the beautiful deep red color valued by furniture makers, is strong, and is easy to work. The Allegheny Plateau of Pennsylvania and New York is the region that produces the majority of quality timber.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Prunus serotina, black cherry, is our most important and largest native cherry tree in North America. It has a huge range, from the middle of Canada to Florida, over to Texas and Arizona and even with a subspecies that extends into Mexico and parts of Central America. Its importance in the forestry/timber industry is based on the beauty of its wood, which has that deep red color so beloved by furniture makers and for those fortunate enough to use it for paneling or flooring.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you take a botany class, you learn that the leaves or stems of certain plants have aromatic compounds. My mother had a Florida anise, Illicium parvifollium, in our yard and she would always crush a leaf when we walked outside and let us inhale that wonderful licorice fragrance.

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