Grow This: West Virginia Garden Challenge
The Grow This: West Virginia Garden Challenge provides free seeds to anyone in West Virginia who fills out a short survey.
Sign-ups for the 2023 season began December 19, 2022. More than 25,000 people signed up in a little over two weeks. Due to a limited number of seeds, the survey is now closed.
But anyone can still participate in Grow This, if they purchase their own seeds. This year's crops will be cosmic purple carrots, red ursa kale and miniature mixed color bell peppers — although any variety of those seeds will work just the same.
The program launched in 2018 and, for the first few years, had a few hundred participants statewide. But interest exploded in 2020, as COVID lockdowns had many stuck at home and looking for a new hobby. In 2022, Grow This seeds and gardening instruction reached over 100,000 West Virginians. Around 40 percent of participants were first time gardeners.
Family Nutrition Program staff also held events around the state to distribute seeds and allow gardeners to share plants and supplies. The program keeps in touch with participants via the Grow This Facebook page, where growers get updates on the program, share photos, compete in challenges and share advice. The page also hosts regular “Ask the Expert” live streams where followers ask WVU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources experts for gardening and home preserving advice.
The Grow This email newsletter provides weekly to-do lists based on the WVU Extension Garden Calendar.
By the numbers
Over 100,000 reaches
Grow This programming reached more than 100,000 West Virginians in 2022. Many of those were first-time gardeners.
The Grow This! Facebook page, where we share gardening information and host special competitions, has more than 11,000 followers.