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read indicates that this method of

gardening is used primarily for

It takes about 10 days to prepare
your bales for planting. The first 3
days water the bales thoroughly
and keep them wet. Days 4-6,
sprinkle the bales with cup of
ammonium nitrate (32-0-0) per
bale, per day and water bales well
so they will absorb the nitrate.
Days 7-9, cut the ammonium ni-
trate to cup per day. Day 10,
stop the nitrate, but add 1 cup of
10-10-10 per bale. Again, water
well. Day 11, planting day! Late in
the afternoon transplant young
vegetable plants into the hay cut-
ting out a hole about 6 inches
across and 8 inches deep. Place
each plant in the hole, filling the
hole with good gardening soil and
potting soil. Water well and let sit
for a few hours. You may need to
add some additional soil at this
You may plant several plants in
each bale depending on the
growth pattern of the vegetable (or
flower). It seems that peppers and
squash may be ideal candidates
for the bale garden. However, the
planting of tomatoes, cucumbers

Publication of Orangeburg County Master Gardeners
Nov. - Dec. 2011
Nov. 18 10:00 AM
SC Botanical Garden
Winter Vegetable Gardening
Dec. 2 Arbor Day
Dec. 6 12:00 PM
Christmas party for MGs
Zane Lakes home
Feb 8, 2012
Master Gardener class begins

Herb Bradley Herb Bradley Herb Bradley Herb Bradley
Calendar & Volunteer Opp.
trailing down the side of bales, and
melons are also suggested. The
best way to water is with a soaker
hose, placing the hose on top of
the bale. You cannot water too
much for the water drains well
through the bale. Arrange bales
however it is best for you. One of
the joys of straw bale gardening for
more experienced gardeners is
that it is easier on the back.
If the bales start to sprout wheat or
oat straw, dont worry. If the grass
bothers you, just whack it off with a
knife or scissors. It does not take
much time.
Cant wait to hear from you about
your successes with straw bale
gardening. Want to share some of
the fruits of your labor?
Bess Hill Bess Hill Bess Hill Bess Hill
Winter is a great time to read and
research ideas for your 2012 garden.
Earlier this year a high school class-
mate of mine, Porter Kinard of Colum-
bia and his wife, the former Mimi
Speth of Orangeburg, were guests at
our steak club. As any of us would do,
we talked about old friends and the
conversation got to discussing present
interests. In talking with Porter, I men-
tioned to him how much I was enjoying
being a Master Gardener. Much to my
surprise, he asked if I had tried straw
gardening. Long story made short,
Porter mailed me some info on this
concept and I have become very inter-
ested in exploring the idea. Thus, I
have been researching the concept
and am anxious to try it next spring.
Research indicates that the best straw
bales for gardening are wheat, oats,
rye or barley straw. Straw bales are
better than hay bales. You may want
to buy several straw bales. How many
you pick really depends on how big
you want your bale garden to be. A
bale is usually 2 feet by 3 or 4 feet in
size. Remember, dont confuse straw
bale gardening with using loose straw
in your garden for mulch or compost.
In this concept, we are talking about
using the entire bale tied with twine
and planting plants in the top. The bale
is the garden! Most of what I have
In My Window
Christmas cacti blooming next to my
faux Christmas tree. In the Spring I repotted
them and put them on the shady porch. They
bloomed again.
At the Beach... ...And at Home...
You might wonder what this has to do with Christmas.
Hard to believe but it was a four foot Christmas tree in
our front box window not so many years ago.
Several years later it dawned on me that if we kept
using live trees, we would run out of space. As much
as it doesnt suit me, our window tree now comes out
of the attic every year and we have a fresh cut Leyland
cypress in the den. (They do come back out
from the roots)

Helleborus niger
Christmas rose blooming at Christmas
and for months after.

Page 2

Morgans Morgans Morgans Morgans
Perspective Perspective Perspective Perspective
Its hard to believe another
year has almost come and
gone! Im very proud of the
work you as Master Garden-
ers have completed and par-
taken in this year and I hope
to see this continue in 2012.
I am planning another Master
Gardener class to begin in
February so please help
spread the word. Hopefully,
with your help, we can con-
tinue to grow the MG pro-
gram in Orangeburg County.
I hope everyone has a safe
and happy holiday season
and I look forward to what the
new year has in store!

Our holiday celebrations wouldnt be
complete without including beautiful
bulbs in our live flower decorations.
Paperwhites are the stars of many
arrangements, but as they emerge
from the bulb, how do you keep them
from falling over? The problem with
paperwhites is they grow quite tall &
their weight is at the top. Research-
ers in the Flowerbulb Research Pro-
gram at Cornell University have come
up with an unusual solution to this top
heavy problem... Alcohol!
When paperwhite bulbs are grown in a dilute solution of alco-
hol, the plants reach a height of 1/3 to 1/2 of their expected
growth, but the flowers remain normal size & last just as long.
Here is the suggested plan to stunt paperwhites with alcohol:
Plant your bulbs in stones & water as you normally would.
Once the roots begin growing & the green shoot on top
reaches 1-2, pour off the existing water. Replace the water
with a solution of 4-6% alcohol, as described below. Con-
tinue to use the alcohol solution for future waterings.
How to make the alcohol watering so-
lution: The alcohol content needs to
be less than 10% or your plants will
overdose and severe growth problems
will occur. You can use any liquor or
rubbing alcohol. Do not use beer or
wine because they are too high in
sugar. Check the bottle for percentage
of alcohol. Many liquors are only la-
beled as proof, not % of alcohol. To determine %, divide the proof
in half. ( 80 proof is 40% alcohol.) Use the chart below to convert
existing alcohol to a 5% solution for watering.
10% alcohol use 1 part water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
15% alcohol use 2 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
20% alcohol use 3 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
25% alcohol use 4 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
30% alcohol use 5 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
35% alcohol use 6 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution
40% alcohol use 7 parts water to 1 part alcohol = 5% solution

The December meeting is scheduled for
December 6th
12:00 PM
Zane Lakes house
77 Country Lane
St Matthews, SC
Everyone is asked to bring some sort of
finger food or dessert. Zane hosted a party
last year for her class, and this year has
opened the invitation to include all
Orangeburg Master Gardeners! Please put
the date on your calendar. Detailed
direction will be sent out by email.
Gail Bolt Gail Bolt Gail Bolt Gail Bolt

garden that fits your time and
budget . The second section,
Making the Least of Garden Care,
tells how to install your lawn and
garden, then how to save time and
effort when caring for them. Sec-
tion three, Picking Unpicky Plants,
is a gallery of easy-care plants for
weekend gardeners. It contains
descriptions and growing guidelines
for scads of weekend-worthy
plants, including trees, shrubs,
vegetables, herbs, perennials, an-
nuals, bulbs and ornamental
grasses. In the fourth section,
Easy Projects for the Weekend
Gardener, youll find garden pro-
jects that you can finish in a week-
end-or even a few hours. Projects
include window boxes, trellises,
pathways, compost bins, a patio
While many of us are planning fes-
tive activities for the holidays and
looking forward to decorating with
Christmas cactus, poinsettias, nar-
cissus, amaryllis, sprigs of ever-
greens, Thanksgiving wreaths and
Christmas trees, its also a time for
planning for next years spring and
summer gardens.
Erin Hynes gives one all the tips and
tricks that are needed to create a
low-maintenance garden thats not
only easy to care for, but a snap to
maintain. Its the perfect book for
busy people who have only a few
hours or the weekend to tend to gar-
den chores.
Rodales Weekend Gardener is di-
vided into four sections. The first
section, Creating Your Weekend
Garden, helps you plan a yard and
makeover, a dry stream and
So, try to enjoy your holidays,
with a look toward spring and
summer with ease of garden-
Can be found in the Oburg
County Library, ISBN0-87596-

Page 3

Book Review by Sandra Whetsell
Amsonia hubrichtii,
2011 Perennial Plant of the Year

Pronounced am-SO-nee-ah hew-BRIK-tee-
eye, this stand out carries the common names
Arkansas blue star, Arkansas amsonia, thread-
leaf blue star, narrow leaf blue star, and Hu-
brichts blue star. In the spring, this all-season
perennial has two- to three-inch wide clusters
of small, light blue, star-shaped flowers borne
above the ferny foliage.
The feathery leaves remain a light bright green all summer and
turn a beautiful golden-yellow in the fall. This Amsonia grows 36
inches tall and 36 inches wide in a mounded form. Amsonia hu-
brichtii grows best in full sun and partial shade and in well-drained
Stems tend to open and flop if plants are grown in too much
shade. Once well established, this blue star is drought tolerant
and deer resistant, as well as resistant to disease and insect
The foliage in spring and summer is
one of the best for contrast with me-
dium to large perennials or shrubs.
Although the delicate light blue spring
flowers are the inspiration for its com-
mon name, the autumn color of the
feathery leaves is a major reason that
gardeners grow it. The stunning pale
pumpkin color of the foliage creates an excellent combination with
purple coneflower, elderberry and
ornamental grasses. The ornamental
qualities and three seasons of color
and interest make Amsonia an ex-
cellent choice for
the perennial gar-

Amsonia hubrichtii may be propagated by seed,
division or softwood cuttings.

(Information gathered from
The Perennial Plant of the Year promotes the use of perennials in the
garden. Four perennials are selected by the Perennial Plant of the Year
Committee from an extensive list of nominations made earlier by PPA
members. Each year, members cast their vote for one of the four se-
lected plants with the following attributes:
suitable for a wide range of climate types
low maintenance
easily propagated - easily comes true from seed or
vegetative propagation
exhibits multiple seasonal interest

For complete information see www.perennialplant.org
Linda McGannon & Herb Bradley
Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service
1550 Henley St, Suite 200
Orangeburg, SC 29115
Phone: 803-534-6280
Fax: 803-534-5037
E-mail: orangeburgmastergardeners@yahoo.com
Orangeburg County Master Gardeners
The Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service
offers its programs to people of all ages regardless of race,
color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political
beliefs, sexual orientation, marital or family status and is an
equal opportunity employer.
Many thanks to those who have written articles for the news-
letter this year. I am very appreciative of the time and effort it
takes to submit such thoughtful and informative items.
May you have a
joyous holiday and a blessed new year!.
If you are interested in contributing, please contact
Editor Linda McGannon at

The first Arbor Day ceremonies took place over a hundred years ago in
the Nebraska Territory. Arbor Day became a tradition through the work of
one man - J. Sterling Morton, editor of Nebraska's first newspaper and
later U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. "Arbor Day," said J. Sterling Morton "is
not like other holidays. Each of these reposes on the past, but Arbor Day
preposes on the future."
Although Morton loved his home in Nebraska, he missed the green forests
of his native New York. He found that Nebraska's high winds blew the soil
away when he plowed fields on the open prairie; so he decided to plant
trees as wind-breaks. Morton's successful tree-planting project encour-
aged him to promote the idea throughout Nebraska, and on April 10, 1872,
Arbor Day became a state holiday. Over a million trees were planted on
that single day. Morton's idea quickly caught on in the rest of the United
States. In 1883 the first Arbor Day school celebrations were held in Cin-
cinnati. Today Arbor Day is celebrated in almost every state and U.S.
territory as well as numerous foreign countries.
Because ideal conditions for planting vary throughout the country, Arbor
Day is celebrated on different dates, depending on the climate of the
state. An Arbor Day for the State of South Carolina was created by legis-
lation in 1934. We celebrate on the first Friday in December because that
is the time in South Carolina when plants are dormant, there is plenty of
rainfall, and a tree's roots suffer less from the shock of transplanting.
Trees beautifully anchor and frame our landscape plantings. Trees make
great gifts and memorials, If you decide to plant a tree this arbor day, re-
member these guidelines:
Choose young, healthy seedlings or saplings to plant - they stand a
better chance of surviving.
Select your planting site carefully. Keep in mind that as your tree
grows, the roots and branches will spread; so allow adequate space for
future growth.
Dig a hole at least twice the
width, but equal in depth to the size of
the root system. Use the original soil
removed from the hole to refill around
the root system. Once filled, place
mulch material such as pine bark,
dead leaves, or some other semi-
decayed material over the soil surface.
Newly planted trees need regular
watering during the spring, summer,
and fall of the first year. Evergreens, because they retain their
leaves, need to be watered regularly in the winter too. Do not water
every day. Instead, give your tree a good soaking once a
week. Fertilizer is usually not needed in the first year.
Some great performing trees for our area are Chinese Evergreen
Oak (Quercus myrsinifolia), Carolina Silverbell (Halesia tetraptera-
pictured), or one of the many new cultivars of Japanese Maple (Acer
If you dont have the time, money or space to plant a tree right now,
perhaps this year take the day to learn about some of the many trees
that populate our neighborhoods. Or visit one of the designated ar-
eas in our state to learn about our native trees. Congaree National
Park has a beautiful stand of the familiar tupelo and bald cypress, but
identifying the other trees in the floodplain takes some practice, and
fall is the perfect time to start!
Be sure to include Arbor Day in your seasonal activities, making it a
part of your holiday celebrations!
Arbor DayDecember 2 Clemson Forestry Leaflet 23/

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