Farmers love tools. The prospect of a fully stocked tool shed ranges from badge of honor to true obsession. Plants, too, can be used as tools. Integrating cover crops into a […]
Reviewing the importance of International Year of Plant Health
The United Nations (U.N.) declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health. This sent a powerful message to the world: Plants are life. Sadly, the COVID-19 crisis changed a lot of 2020 […]
Urban agroforestry and its potential integration into city planning efforts
Should we reimagine a “garden city” that could help adapt our urban areas for a variable and uncertain future? One that provides several benefits, like cooling the city, providing green areas for […]
How does growing corn in perennial groundcover work?
Using perennial groundcovers, farmers can merge high yield agriculture with natural resources conservation, while maintaining or improving profitability. How does it work? Farmers first seed their acres with a groundcover, such as […]
Coconuts: Trees that keep on giving
Thinking about coconut, one image that comes to mind is lounging on a warm, sunny beach. Cool, sweet water from a freshly opened coconut, garnished with an orchid flower and a little […]
How can crops that are not grown from seeds be conserved in gene banks?
Plant genebanks, such as the USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), conserve vast collections of crops. They are saved for use in breeding and research programs. These collections are primarily conserved as […]
What can the wild chile teach us about conserving crop wild relatives?
There is a humble, wild chile pepper that grows in Arizona. Commonly called chiltepín, it is the wild relative of hundreds of domesticated pepper varieties grown (and eaten) all over the world. […]
The tale of a wild tomato’s discovery
Ripe, juicy tomatoes are one of the hallmarks of a summer picnic – and a key ingredient in salads and the classic BLT. Like many of our modern crops, today’s tomatoes have […]
How is disease affecting soybean yields?
Soybean is one of the most important sources of vegetable protein globally. Valued as both a human and animal food source, soybeans are used to produce both soy meal and oil. The […]
How do the various soil types in Puerto Rico support different crops?
Puerto Rico, where I am from, is the main island of an archipelago in the Caribbean. The smaller islands are Caja de Muertos, Culebra, Desecheo, Mona, Monito, and Vieques. Our history is […]