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agriculture

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.

WoodlyWonderWorks / Creative Commons

I'm always amazed at the price of arugula and baby greens in the grocery store. They sell sometimes for ten dollars a pound! A better way to eat healthy greens is to grow them yourself, and we're getting close to the day when we can start planting two of my favorites: arugula and mache.

Theophilos Papadopoulos via flickr.com / Creative Commons

Winter is a great time to sit down and plan the expansion of existing gardens or creation of new ones. But don't just think of growing gardens for yourself. 

Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr

Heirloom vegetables are generally any variety grown before World War II. Many are unique for their flavor, looks, and growth habits.

MJI Photos / Creative Commons

In winter it's hard for gardeners to get their fix of greenery. You can visit greenhouses such as at Yale's Marsh Botanic Garden, but it's nice to have your own house plants to create a warm, clean environment.

NatureNerd / Creative Commons

It's the new year, and time for all good gardeners to spend a little time perusing seed and plant catalogs for new varieties. 

Sonny Abesamis flickr.com/photos/enerva / Creative Commons

With the holidays behind us, gardeners are often looking for ways to keep their hands in the dirt. One old-fashioned growing technique is making a comeback and is worth trying, especially with kids.

Patrizia / Creative Commons

“I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..." Yes, dreaming seems like the best we'll be able to do this Christmas.

A white Christmas in Connecticut normally has about a 50/50 chance of occurring, with less chance along the shore and more a likely chance in the Northwest hills. But this winter the chance is nil, and it won't even be cold! 

Like amaranth and quinoa before it, millet – a hardy, gluten-free ancient seed – has become an "it" grain in recent years.

Almond Butterscotch / Creative Commons

Connecticut needs to conserve more land -- and do it much faster -- if the state hopes to meet a conservation goal set for the year 2023, which seems increasingly out of reach.

scrappy annie flickr.com/photos/14903992@N08/15723002693 / Creative Commons

Ho, ho, ho, it's time for holiday gift buying. Yes, let's talk about special gifts you can give the gardener in your family. If you're stuck for ideas, I've got a few to share. Are you listening, Santa?

Chris Coomber / Creative Commons

I was visiting my brother in Goshen recently. We were looking at the majestic blue spruce trees in his backyard that he planted as Christmas trees years ago, when his kids were younger.

They've created a backdrop for privacy, and have cherished memories for him and his kids.

Maja Dumat flickr.com/photos/blumenbiene/11692859806 / Creative Commons

This flower is named after a shepherdess who had unrequited love for a gardener.

Artie Aiken used to have stomach problems. During World War II, he served on bases in Connecticut and Texas instead of going overseas. When he got back to Vermont, a doctor prescribed goat milk – and things were never the same.

Urban foraging might call to mind images of hipsters picking food out of the trash.

But one group in Massachusetts eats only the finest, freshest produce. The League of Urban Canners harvests fruit from trees in Cambridge and Somerville and turns it into jam.

Sam Christy, a local high school teacher, started the league four years ago.

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