Connecticut is urging poultry owners to register the location of their flocks with the state as a precaution against bird flu. 

Frenchtowner / Creative Commons

Pumpkins line farm stands and garden centers along with mums and corn stalks this time of year. Soon, that age-old tradition of pumpkin carving will happen, but did you know the first Jack-o’-Lantern was actually a turnip?

Thirdangel / Creative Commons

While lawn care is on many homeowners’ minds this time of year, another type of grass should also be considered.

Ornamental grasses are popular for good reason. They are fast growers with beautiful leaves, and most importantly, attractive flower heads that are also good as cut flowers. They bloom now and stay beautiful into winter.

Do You Know Where Your Cheese Comes From?

Sep 30, 2015

Americans love cheese. According to the USDA, we ate about 34 pounds of cheese per person last year. But how often do we think about who makes our cheese, or about its journey from France or Vermont to our crackers?

Well, some local cheese mongers are waging a campaign to raise awareness about cheese origins, cheese integrity and cheese abuse.

A Subterranean Education

mckaysavage / Creative Commons

Agricultural developments in the mid-20th century catapulted the farming industry to new levels of production. But that "green revolution" also fostered a population boom that's once again forcing farmers to innovate. 

Apple growers say good growing weather means they are expecting a bumper crop this year, but when the pick-your-own customers get to the orchards they may notice some changes.

Dan Perkins / Creative Commons

Everyone is talking about native shrubs these days as we try to wean ourselves away from invasives, such as burning bush and Japanese barberry, which have been used for years as landscape plants. But it’s not enough to simply plant a native and hope for the best. 

Parker Knight / Creative Commons

Around the middle of the twentieth century, a period of agricultural advancement known as the Green Revolution brought on one of the greatest population booms in history. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

At one of the state's oldest fairs this weekend, farmers and 4H-ers kept history alive in the fair’s annual working steer competition, where both teens and adults competed to navigate their oxen through a series of challenges.

The largest fair in the Northeast opens its gates to the public Friday morning in western Massachusetts.

 The Big E has set attendance records in each of the last three years making it the fifth largest fair in North America. 

The fair, which will mark its centennial next year, has stayed true to its roots as a showplace for New England agriculture and industry, according to Big E President Gene Cassidy.

Apple Growers Enthusiastic About Fall Crop

Sep 17, 2015

It’s September, and apples are clustered on tree branches across New England and New York.  Orchardists are expecting an ample, though not quite bumper, crop across the region.

Curtis Swartzentruber / Creative Commons

Fall is an excellent time for soil building and one of the ways I keep my soil healthy is by growing cover crops.

When hurricanes or other large storms roll in, we often focus on the human toll-- buildings destroyed, properties damaged.

But those same storms can also wreak havoc on ecosystems and the plants that are their foundation. And if a native system is wiped out, will it bounce back? One conservation group is trying to create a repository of native New England seeds, which can be used for just that purpose.

TANAKA Juuyoh / Creative Commons

Audio Pending...

Some annual flowers just knock your socks off with their beauty. I remember a few years ago wandering through a greenhouse at White Flower Farm and being bowled over by their display of tuberous begonias. The flowers were perfect in a rainbow of colors with single and double flower shapes and some were even fragrant.

A crowd of more than 30 people gathered at the town hall in Cabot this week to discuss the way Cabot Creamery gets rid of wastewater leftover from cleaning its plant. The cheese maker is asking the state to renew its permit to spray the liquid on land. The crowd was there for a hearing called by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to take public comment on a draft permit issued in June.

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Watering is key during the hot, dry stretch of weather we're in right now. But one crop I don’t have to worry about in this heat is sweet potatoes.

Schooner Delivers Maine Produce To Boston Harbor The Old-Fashioned Way

Aug 31, 2015

A 90-year-old schooner with North Shore origins is headed back home, laden with three tons of Maine-grown farm produce.

The Adventure, as she’s called, set sail from Portland, Maine, at first light Friday morning.

Rosewoman / Creative Commons

This common flower's botanical name means “to sit,” probably for the way it creeps along rocks. It is also called rocky stonecrop in England for the way it's perched on cliffs. We know it as sedum.

Dave / Creative Commons

Our basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley herbs are going to town in the garden. But what do we do with all these herbs?

Cindy See / Creative Commons

This fall flower is a native of Central America, but the Aztec grew them for food and medicine. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that Europeans starting hybridizing this plant for its flowers and now there are over 50,000 named varieties of dahlias.

Sonny Abesamis / Creative Commons

This time of year, there’s a bevy of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans, and other veggies to eat and share. Even giving them away is a challenge, as I see my neighbor cringe when I walk up their driveway with yet another gift of zucchini. 

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

Jul 31, 2015

Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don't plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.

"We've traditionally raised about an acre and a half of pretty intensively managed produce, so it's a very productive acre and a half," Eric Reuter says.

Jimmy_Joe / Creative Commons

This iridescent, copper-colored beetle hails from Japan, has been around since 1916, and is not a picky eater. Japanese beetles feast on grapes, cherries, raspberries, cannas, basil, roses, and lots of other plants. They often feed en masse, devastating plants. 

Goats Seized at Cornwall Farm Up for Auction

Jul 24, 2015
Courtesy Department of Agriculture

Thirteen goats from a herd which became part of the legislature’s budget discussions are being auctioned off. 

The argument over genetically modified food has been dominated, in recent years, by a debate over food labels — specifically, whether those labels should reveal the presence of GMOs.

The battle, until now, has gone state by state. California refused to pass a labeling initiative, but Maine, Connecticut and Vermont have now passed laws in favor of GMO labeling.

Tony Austin / Creative Commons

We must really love tomatoes. Even with farmer's markets, CSAs, and farm stands loaded with fresh, locally-grown tomato fruits this time of year, we still insist on growing our own. This is even more impressive considering all the problems tomatoes can have.

Martin LaBar / Creative Commons

There’s nothing like the beautiful blue-flowered hydrangea. Although once thought of as an old fashioned flower, hydrangeas are popular again.

Alice Henneman / Creative Commons

I’m an Italian-American from Waterbury, so I’d like to think I know a little about basil. 

Pauline Zaldonis

A number of mobile food stores will be making their way around the state this summer. The idea is to bring fresh and affordable produce to communities without a nearby supermarket. 

Sergey Yeliseev / Creative Commons

In a press release from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection late last month, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station announced that there was gypsy moth -- Lymantria dispar -- activity across the state, coupled with some pockets of tree defoliation. However, the increased moth activity does not necessarily indicate that long term issues are ahead, according to the CAES.