Get the 2024 Garden Calendar
The WVU Extension Garden Calendar is produced and distributed each year as a service to West Virginia’s many home gardeners and agricultural producers. The annual calendar is just one of many meaningful projects, programs and outreach efforts provided by WVU Extension throughout West Virginia’s 55 counties.
If you have gardening questions or want more information, please contact your county’s WVU Extension office. Be sure to check out information for controlling garden pests year-round as well as related coloring pages and learning activities for even more opportunities.Download the 2024 Garden Calendar Get a Garden Calendar at Your Local County Office
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Note: To print as many Garden Calendars as existing funds allow, WVU Extension may not be able to honor web or email requests for mailed calendars. Please contact your nearest county office to get a calendar. Your understanding is sincerely appreciated.
Fresh from the Garden Calendar
Grow a Colorful Potato Patch
Growing Irish potatoes ( Solanum tuberosum) is a family tradition here in the Mountain State. Potatoes are a staple food across the world due to their adaptability, yield, nutritional value and storage quality. Irish potatoes are not roots, but specialized underground storage stems called “tubers.”
Plan ahead for your potato patch. One pound of seed potatoes will yield 10 pounds of usable potatoes. Purchase certified seed potatoes. Do not buy potatoes from a grocery store for planting – most have been chemically treated so they do not sprout.
The Color of Beets
Beets come in many colors – white, golden, red, purple and even candy-striped. Plus, the bright green tops are edible too! Plant a rainbow in your own garden by planting a mixture of varieties like Red Ace, red beets with red-veined leaves; Kestrel, deep red, sweet baby beets; Bull’s Blood, a dark red beet used for the tops; Touchstone Gold, a beet with a bright gold inside and green tops; and Guardsmark Chioggia, an Italian heirloom beet variety that is exceptionally sweet and has concentric rings of white and red inside.
Beets are a cool-season crop harvested for their leaves and roots. Start planting beets in April and seed or transplant every two weeks; however, remember that extended hot, dry weather will not produce quality beets. Beets are an excellent fall crop that can be seeded in August for harvest in October. While beets can tolerate partial shade, they don’t grow successfully with uneven moisture or crowding. Loose soil high in organic matter is best for beets, and keep them covered with soil as they grow to avoid a tough, corky layer from developing. Beets are botanically related to spinach and Swiss chard, so avoid planting beets in the same areas you had these crops for about two years. Harvest when beets are between 1 and 3 inches in diameter.
Rainbow Roots - Colorful Root Crops to Grow in WV
Many West Virginia gardeners grow traditional garden vegetables, such as beans, corn and tomatoes, as well as common root crops, like potatoes. And recently, a variety of new and unexpected colored vegetables have come to market for home gardeners to try and enjoy.
If gardeners are looking to add more color to their garden harvest, there are several bright and unique options that growers might not think about because their produce develops beneath the soil. In addition to potatoes, other root vegetables like radishes and turnips are an excellent choice for gardeners and come in a range of colors.
Color Diverse Melons Exist in Different Types
While cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon are the most known types of melons, there are many lesser known varieties. From heirlooms to hybrids, the colors, textures, shapes and sizes are endless. Rinds can be smooth or netted and range in colors from dark green, light green, striped dark and light green, to shades of tan, yellow, orange, gray and red. Flesh color can be red, pink, green, yellow and orange – there is even a white-flesh watermelon called White Wonder.
Melons are a tender, warm-season annual that prefers a soil pH of 6.2 to 6.8. Plant in well-drained soil once the threat of frost has passed and the soil is warm. It is most common to direct sow seeds. Plant in locations with 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. If using transplants, seeds can be started indoors three weeks prior to transplanting. Melons produce mature fruit 75 to 100 days after seeding. The average yield is about three to four cantaloupes or honeydews per vine and anywhere from two to three watermelons per vine.
Varieties to Grow a Rainbow of Peppers in WV
Peppers are a staple in most gardens. While green peppers seem to be the most popular and abundant, most varieties start green and ripen to any number of colors — yellow, orange, red and purple, to name a few. The variety of a pepper will dictate its color and flavor.
All peppers contain antioxidants that support heart and eye health, in addition to anti-inflammatory properties. Color plays an important factor in the taste and nutrient quality of the vegetable. Green peppers, being less ripe, are slightly bitter in taste. This also explains why green peppers tend to be cheaper, since they are harvested sooner. When left to mature to a yellow, orange or red color, the vegetable grows sweeter and increases in the content of vitamins A and C.
Golden Raspberries to Grow in WV
Golden or yellow raspberries are a color variation of the common American red raspberry, Rubus strigosus. Although there is a golden raspberry native to the Himalayan mountains, the golden raspberries you can buy here in the United States likely resulted from a natural mutation that turns off the plant’s ability to produce dark colored pigments, also known as anthocyanins. These “albino” berries appear yellow or golden because they lack the pigments needed to turn them red, blue or purple.
Despite a lack of anthocyanins, these golden berries are full of vitamins B and C, dietary fiber, folic acid, iron, copper, magnesium and antioxidants. Plus, they have lots of good-for-you phenolic compounds, including the anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting ellagic acid. Golden raspberries have a sweet, mild taste and can be used in any recipe calling for raspberries. They have soft fruit and are typically found at local markets.
Purple Asparagus Sweeter & Richer in Vitamin C
When we think of asparagus, what usually comes to mind is the dark green, mild earthy-tasting spring treat. While all this is true, the asparagus family also offers beautiful purple cultivars that can be grown right here in West Virginia.
No matter the color, asparagus is high in potassium, fiber and vitamin B6. However, purple asparagus, which gets its color from anthocyanin, will deliver a sweeter taste and more vitamin C per serving than its green counterpart.
Unique Tomatoes to Grow in WV
One of our favorite summer crops is the colored tomato. Tomatoes can be considered a “wonder fruit” because of their health-promoting phytonutrients. Phytonutrient-rich tomatoes are usually a vibrant red, orange or yellow color and help paint a beautiful picture of health.
Tomatoes that are red have high amounts of lycopene, which helps slow our skin’s aging and helps fight against certain chronic diseases, as well as vitamins C, B3, B5, B6, E and K. Red tomatoes contain more vitamin A than any other color.
Purple Carrots are Filled with Antioxidants
When you think of carrots, you most likely picture a bright orange carrot found in a salad, beef roast or crunchy snack. However, carrots come in a multitude of colors, including purple! In fact, it’s believed that the first domesticated carrots weren’t orange at all – they were purple and white.
So why should you try growing or eating purple carrots? Purple vegetables have antioxidants called anthocyanins, which delay cellular aging and help prevent the formation of blood clots. Anthocyanins also help with muscle recovery after intense exercise. Furthermore, they can inhibit the development and progression of some types of cancers.
Leafy Greens are Packed with Vitamins
Nothing packs a nutritional punch quite like leafy greens. The dark greens supply folate, a B vitamin that promotes heart health. The vitamin K of dark green leafy vegetables provide many health benefits, including protecting bones from osteoporosis and preventing inflammatory diseases.
Thanks to their high content of antioxidants, green leafy vegetables also may be one of the best cancer-preventing foods. Studies have shown that eating two to three servings of green leafy vegetables per week may lower the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.
Importance of Color in the Garden
An exciting benefit of gardening is the vast palate of colors that can be observed with garden plants. Vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruits contain natural pigments that can be visually seen as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, black and brown.
The colors we find among our garden plants are the result of complicated genetic traits that are expressed over the course of the growing season. Color can even be an indicator of plant nutrition and overall plant health. Sometimes, poor color expression, like yellow or dull leaves, can be a signal for plant disease or nutrient stress. Colorful plants also attract pollinators and other beneficial insects to the garden.
Master Gardeners Make A Difference in WV
Dear Friends and Garden Enthusiasts,
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