Making It Grow Minute

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.

Archive: Making It Grow Podcasts, January 2011 - September 2014

Ways to Connect

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although kaolin clay makes a great sunblock for your sensitive vegetables and fruits, many farmers prefer to use a product that’s easier to wash off. Calcium carbonate, the main component of agricultural lime that raises the pH of our soils, is also the main ingredient in several products that act to protect fruits and vegetables from sun scale. Unlike kaolin, which actually blocks the sun’s rays, calcium carbonate sprays form crystals that act like tiny mirrors and reflect the sun’s rays.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In the New World, the first kaolin clay mined for shipment back to England to be used in fine china came from the colony of South Carolina, and today we are second only to Georgia for kaolin extraction. We spoke about how kaolin clay sprayed on vegetables and fruits helps prevent insect feeding, but it also can prevent sunburn. Just like zinc oxide protects my nose from the sun, a coating of this white clay film protects tomato fruits from sunscald and tissue necrosis.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Lots of calls are coming to   Extension offices about vegetable plants that have lush and plentiful foliage but are not setting fruits, especially beans and tomatoes. There are several factors at play. One is high night time temperatures. Tony Melton explains that plants cool themselves by a process called transpiration – basically sweating.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Kaolin clay is a nuisance in garden soil; unlike red clay, it’s basically inert, low in electrical charges that hold nutrients and water, and is even more gluey and sticky if you can image that. However, it has a several uses for commercial growers and home gardeners. When kaolin clay is sprayed on plants, it forms a barrier, coating the leaves and fruits with a white film which protects them from damage by certain insects, including thrips and other leaf and fruit eating pests.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. My new sunscreen has zinc oxide in it; it actually forms a physical barrier to protect my skin from sunburn. Believe it or not, sunburn is a serious issue for many fruits and vegetables, too. Sunburn necrosis occurs when vegetable’s skin or peel which receives direct sunlight reaches a certain temperature and the tissue is killed. It’s the temperature of the fruit’s skin  – not the air temperature – that’s critical.

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