Gardening Around the State
The WVU Extension Service 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 Service throughout West Virginia’s 55 counties.
If you have gardening questions or want more information, please contact your county’s WVU Extension Service office.Download the 2018 WVU Extension Service Garden Calendar
This PDF download is provided as a convenience for printing the document at home.
The WVU Extension Service is committed to providing reasonable accommodations upon request.
Fresh from the Garden Calendar
What is Perennial Gardening?
Home gardens are typically thought of as an annual project, but perennial gardening allows for a single, one-time planting with a harvest of produce year after year.
When selecting a location for perennial crops, choose an area that will be undisturbed with well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. The outer area of a current garden or in raised beds works well.
Putting the Garden to Bed
Putting the garden to bed in fall is the first step to a successful garden the following spring.
Make a record of the current planting sites in your garden. Crop rotation is key to preventing diseases and pests, and also builds soil fertility. Make a map or video noting where things were planted and problems you experienced.
Fall & Winter Crops in High Tunnels
As fall approaches, most people think that harvesting fresh food is coming to an end; however, if you have a high tunnel, that doesn’t have to be the case.
Planting fall and winter crops in a high tunnel requires some preplanning. You must also be willing to pull some end-of year summer plants in order to plant crops that are ideal for cooler temperatures, like spinach, kale or carrots.
Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens
This time of year not only brings juicy ripe tomatoes and sweet corn bursting with flavor to the dinner table, but it’s also when we come together as communities and celebrate fairs all across the state. The largest of these gatherings in the state, the State Fair of West Virginia, takes place in Fairlea every August. Over 100,000 people come through the gates to take part in the festivities. Many come for the entertainment while others come for their favorite food. One thing is for certain though, the West Virginia University Extension Master Gardeners demonstration garden shouldn’t be missed.
The garden is an example of what the Master Gardener program brings to this state. In 2003, the newly formed Greenbrier Valley Master Gardeners joined into a partnership with the Fair to establish the 50 foot by 50 foot perennial plot. Now it’s blossomed into eight gardens and a high tunnel for fairgoers to enjoy. As you make your way down the path, you will pass by flowers of every variety abuzz with wild pollinators racing to get that fresh nectar and pollen from the new flowers each morning. Guests who visit the garden each year marvel at the beauty and detail, and they get ideas on how to bring that beauty back to their own backyards and communities.
Home Canning Methods
Would you like to brighten up winter with the taste of garden tomatoes? Are you having trouble using peppers from your garden before they spoil or running out of room in your freezer for all the green beans? Home canning is a great way to enjoy food from your garden year-round and make good use of your harvest.
Being a tradition that is passed down through generations, you may have learned how to can from your parents or grandparents. If you are new to canning, you will likely receive advice; however, keep in mind that not all advice is good advice.
Harvesting Crops for Market
A market gardener’s goal should be to run the operation as a business and to make a profit. Just as a home gardener plans their garden plot, a market gardener should plan for marketing crops prior to planting. While a marketing plan helps, it does not guarantee that what is planted will be sold. But, it can help eliminate wasted time, space, crops and money.
Market gardening typically targets local markets, although innovative marketers will eventually expand to other venues.
Community gardens grow stronger communities by helping neighbors work together in a fun, beautiful and tasty way.
Wheeling is home to at least seven community gardens and each has a different structure and goal.
There has been a renewed interest in teaching our youth how food is grown. Since 2013, the Putnam County garden-based learning program has garnered the attention of others in the community and has expanded to now include six elementary schools, reaching over 1,700 students.
The program, funded by four grants from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and support from local businesses and organizations, allows for the installation of school gardens using high tunnels.
Youths Learn from Transplant Production
In-school gardens are a beneficial educational learning tool that covers a range of topics, such as germination, transplant care, spacing and nutrient requirements. Extension agents partner with teachers to implement gardening directly into their classroom curriculum.
In Jackson County, there are several raised bed gardens that are utilized as outdoor classrooms. Students begin the production process by seeding in the classroom or greenhouse. Then, students transplant them directly into the raised beds, which are equipped with low tunnels allowing the plants to get an early start.
Deep Winter Vegetable Production
High tunnels are plastic-covered, solar greenhouses that can be used year-round for vegetable production. The low temperature and light of winter is a challenge for gardeners, but there is an opportunity to grow and market throughout the winter in many regions of West Virginia using high tunnels, which can be constructed and operated at a fraction of the cost of greenhouse production.
Root vegetables are able to be harvested or overwintered from October to April in high tunnels. Root vegetables grown in winter are very nutrient dense and have optimal sweetness from the cold growing conditions. They also adapt to the progressively lower temperatures and light during winter.