Skip to main content

Grow This: West Virginia Garden Challenge

Seed packets for Grow This 2024: Jimmy Nardello peppers, Russian red kale and scarlet Nantes carrots.

The  Grow This: West Virginia Garden Challenge provides free seeds to anyone in West Virginia who fills out a short survey.

This year's crops will be scarlet Nantes carrots, red Russian kale and Jimmy Nardello peppers.

Sign-ups for the 2024 season began in January — and more than 90,000 people signed up in just a week. Due to a limited number of seeds,  the survey is now closed

But anyone can still participate in Grow This, even if they missed out on free seeds. You are welcome to purchase your own seeds from a retailer of your choice — Mary’s Heirloom Seeds is offering a special “Grow This” bundle for a discounted price. Or you can grow something else in your garden! Many Grow This contests and activities aren’t crop-specific.

Introducing: The Grow This Throwdown

In conjunction with its 2024 seed giveaway, the West Virginia University Extension Family Nutrition Program is launching the “Grow This Throwdown,” a statewide competition that aims to get West Virginians to move more, grow their own food and crush hunger in our state. 

Participants will complete challenges to earn points for their counties. Some challenges are simple, like donating vegetables to a food pantry. Others are more involved, like organizing a seed library or building a Grow This-themed float for a local parade. The competition is supported by grant funds for these types of educational programs. 

Click here to learn more about the Grow This Throwdown.

About Grow This

The Grow This: West Virginia Garden Challenge began during a brainstorming session during a Try This West Virginia conference. The idea was simple: many West Virginians live in food deserts with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables — but we could partially close that gap by encouraging families to grow their own food, through free seeds and gardening educaiton.

The program launched in 20 18. For the first few years, only a few hundred participants signed up. But interest exploded in 2020 as COVID lockdowns le ft many West Virginians stuck at home, looking for a new hobby and worried about food supply chains. 

Interest has remained high. In 2024, over 90,000 West Virginians will participate in Grow This.

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 live streams where followers get gardening advice from WVU Extension  Agriculture and Natural Resources experts.

Grow This is also active on Instagram and Tiktok.

The  Grow This email newsletter provides regular updates about the program, as well as weekly to-do lists based on the  WVU Extension Garden Calendar.

By the numbers

Icon of seed packets.

Over 90,000 reached

Grow This programming will reach more than 90,000 West Virginians in 2024. Many of those are first-time gardeners.

An icon showing a carrot garden.


The Grow This! Facebook page, where we share gardening information and host special competitions, has more than 17,000 followers.

Icon of seed packets.

Four crops

For 2024, Grow This! participants are growing scarlet Nantes carrots, red Russian kale, Jimmy Nardello peppers, and Connecticut Field Pumpkins.