agriculture

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. 

Bardia Photography / Creative Commons

Growing up in the shadow of my Italian grandparents’ farm, I have fond memories of my relatives wandering the fields in spring harvesting dandelion greens.

Steven Lilley / Creative Commons

Thousands of chickens have died in a fire at a coop in eastern Connecticut that belongs to a major egg producer.

Kristin Shoemaker / Creative Commons

Irises are embedded in our art and culture. Vincent Van Gough and Georgia O’Keefe loved to paint them. Mary Oliver and Robert Frost waxed poetic about them.

Nicole Marie Photoworks / Flickr Creative Commons

Spring has sprung, and with that comes gardening season! Are you thinking about how to get your garden ready? 

This hour, we talk garden trends, soil prep, pruning, pest management, managing invasives, supporting pollinators, and so much more.

Catherine Bukowski / Creative Commons

In my book, Foodscaping, I talk a lot about growing trees not just for shade or flowering, but for their fruiting. 

Andrew Malone via Flickr.com / Creative Commons

This vegetable is one of the oldest known to mankind, dating back 10,000 years.

Phil Roeder / Creative Commons

Ahh sweet magnolias with memories of Grateful Dead concerts and warm, spring days. 

Connecticut Senate Democrats / Creative Commons

The sponsor of a Maine bill designed to make it easier to label foods made with the use of genetically modified organisms says she'll push for a public vote.

Stephen Melkisethia / Creative Commons

This vegetable has the sad reputation from ancient Greece of rendering males impotent. 

Craig / Creative Commons

This early spring perennial flower hails from Japan, but made its first appearance in the United States in the 1800s as a Valentine's Day gift.

Flickr / Creative Commons

This popular vegetable has been grown and eaten for 5000 years as a food and medicine.

Radu P / Creative Commons

Imagine a farm sprayed with pesticides. You're likely to think of crop-dusting biplanes,  but a new pest-control idea is using a much smaller, and more natural source: bumblebees.

John Tann / Creative Commons

One morning at breakfast, I found myself swatting flies. What, flies in winter? Then I saw they were coming from my amaryllis plant on the table. I love house plants, but so do the pests.

Liam Moloney (tir_na_nog) / Flickr

One legend has it this holiday descended from the ancient Roman fertility festival where boys and girls would draw names to see who would be paired for the coming year. The Catholic church attributed this day to a priest who secretly married young soldiers in defiance of the Roman emperor. His name was Saint Valentine.

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