agriculture

Camilo Rueda López flickr.com/photos/kozumel / Creative Commons

Popcorn is not just that buttery, salty snack you buy at movie theaters. It's actually an ancient and nutritious grain.

Laura Nolte flickr.com/photos/laura_nolte / Creative Commons

Japanese anemones, or wind flowers, are actually native to China, but were frequently cultivated in Japanese gardens when European explorers first saw them in the 17th century. 

This fruit's botanical name means “food of the gods.” While most of us are familiar with the Asian versions we find in grocery stores in fall, there is a hardier American type too. The fruits ripen around the first frost into sweet, custardy orbs with a hint of clove. It can even be made into beer. What's this fruit? It's the persimmon.

Spirou42 / Creative Commons

This native fall blooming perennial flower was supposedly was named after the goddess Astraea, who cried for the dead on Earth killed in wars. 

Your Dilapidated Barn Is Super Trendy. Just Ask HGTV

Sep 1, 2016

Larry Gerdes is having his barn taken down and disassembled in Malta Bend, Mo. It's about the size of a three-car garage but stands much taller in a clearing surrounded by 6-foot stalks of corn.

The barn's exterior is graying, part of its roof is missing, and there's a gaping hole looking out from the hayloft. It's about 100 years old, and it's not really useful.

"It's deteriorated and it would cost a lot of money to repair it," Gerdes says. "And it doesn't fit into modern farming. Unless you got two cows to let them loaf inside, nothing fits, and it's just obsolete."

When people hear the word drought, they likely think of California. But there's also an extreme drought in parts of New England. The Northeast is experiencing the worst drought in more than a decade.

George Bredehoft / Creative Commons

While admiring the tomato fruits in my garden recently, I stumbled upon some damage to the tops of the plants. They were defoliated, almost like a deer had mulched on them, and the fruit was chewed too. After closer inspection I came face-to-face with the tomato hornworm.

cjuneau / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s early settlers came to this region in part for our fertile farmland — but what is the state of farming in Connecticut today?

This hour, we explore agriculture in the Nutmeg State.

USDA NRCS / Analia Bertucci / Creative Commons

As the farming population gets older, a federal grant is going to fund training programs for new farmers. 

marcus_jb1973 / Creative Commons

An old saying about planting seeds goes, “One for the mouse, one for the crow, one to rot, and one to grow." I'd like to add, “One to save,” as well.

Jeroen Moes, Wikimedia Commons

Most of Connecticut remains in a moderate to severe drought, despite the recent storms. In an average year, many areas would have seen at least eight inches more rain at this point in the season. 

F_A / creative commons

Hissing sprinklers, humming mowers, buzzing weed whackers: the quintessential sounds of summer are also symbols of an American mission -- to craft the so-called “perfect lawn.” 

Jeff Kubina / Creative Commons

We've all seen this happen in summer. Your phlox, roses, bee balm, squash, and pumpkins are growing well, producing flowers and fruit.

A new urban farm in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood opens today. It’s the fifth urban farm created by the nonprofit Southside Community Land Trust.

Kristin Shoemaker / Creative Commons

When I was a kid, I would repeat this rhyme just for fun: “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” Little did I know I'd be cursing this rodent later on in life.

Keith Ewing / Creative Commons

Summer often means inconsistent weather. Hot, sunny days are followed by high humidity (or mugginess, as my mother likes to call it) and sometimes severe thunderstorms.

After years of bitter debate and legislative stalemate over the labeling of genetically modified ingredients, a compromise proposal sailed through Congress in breathtaking speed over the past three weeks.

The House of Representative passed the measure on Thursday with solid support from both Democrats and Republicans. It now goes to the White House, where President Obama is expected to sign it.

Helen Haden / Creative Commons

Some things aren't what they used to be. Take echinacea or purple coneflowers. This hardy, native Midwestern prairie plant has garnered much interest for being pollinator friendly and medicinal.

The season for blueberries used to be short. You'd find fresh berries in the store just during a couple of months in the middle of summer.

Now, though, it's always blueberry season somewhere. Blueberry production is booming. The berries are grown in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest — not to mention the southern hemisphere.

But in any one location, the season is still short. And this means that workers follow the blueberry harvest, never staying in one place for long.

Brad Smith / Creative Commons

While I loved the Beatles growing up, I don't like this Fab Four in my veggie garden. 

Aznaturalist / Creative Commons

Plums are one of the first fruits domesticated by man and some, such as the beach plum, are natives. Beach plum is a tough bush early colonists found along the shores and is great for wildlife.

bbcamericangirl / Creative Commons

My mom loves roses, so I recently took her to Elizabeth Park in West Hartford. This is one of the first municipal rose gardens in the country.

Dwight Sipler / Creative Commons

There's a late spring blooming perennial flower that's been looking beautiful this year. It goes by a number of common names, such as mountain bluet, perennial bachelor's buttons, and corn flower. I know it mostly by its botanical name, Centaurea montana.

Natalie Maynor / Creative Commons

Connecticut is seeing an increase in the number of new farmers. The number of start-ups has grown by 15 percent from 2007.

selbst fotografiert / Creative Commons

The National Weather Service predicted it's going to be a hotter than normal summer. While the heat might be hard on some people, if you're a melon grower, you'll love it.

BB and HH / Creative Commons

The story goes that during World War II, the English started using radar to detect Nazi bombers. 

After several boom years while the rest of the economy struggled, farming is entering its third year on the bust side of the cycle. Major crop prices are low, while expenses like seed, fertilizer and land remain high. And that means farmers have to get creative to succeed.

Modern crop farms in the Corn Belt are sophisticated businesses. So put aside your notions of bucolic red barns surrounded by a few cows. And pull out your best business school vocabulary, because crops are commodities.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Take a trip out to the Housatonic River Valley over the next few days, and if you’re lucky, you might spot a peculiar-looking fungus that’s a tasty trophy for mushroom hunters. 

Rafael Medina / Creative Commons

There's a lot of concern about pollinating insects and butterflies. As native populations dwindle, gardeners are rallying to support them.

mystuart / Creative Commons

We all know peonies for their audaciously large, colorful flowers. 

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