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Get the 2024 Garden Calendar

Back to Our RootsBackground of assorted vegetables with the outline of West Virginia that reads "Colors of the Garden"

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.

Enjoy this year’s Garden Calendar!

Download the 2024 Garden Calendar  Get a Garden Calendar at Your Local County Office
This PDF download is provided as a convenience for printing the document at home.
WVU Extension is committed to providing reasonable accommodations upon request.

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

The Classic West Virginia '63 Tomato

Three WV '63 tomatoes hanging on the vine at various stages of ripeness, from bright red to light green.

The West Virginia ‘63 tomato has been called “the people’s tomato.” Released in 1963 on West Virginia’s 100th birthday, the West Virginia ‘63 was developed by Mannon Gallegly, WVU plant pathology professor. Gallegly was hired by WVU in 1949 and was directed to research vegetable diseases. At the time, late blight was a huge concern for West Virginia farmers and gardeners.  

Read about The Classic West Virginia '63 Tomato

Plant Appalachian Garden Staple Hickory King Corn

Hands holding a small pile of light yellow heirloom dent corn variety Hickory King, grass in background

If you are thinking of raising corn for homemade cornmeal, grits, flour, roasting or hominy, look no further than Hickory King, a variety that has been a staple for more than 100 years in gardens throughout Appalachia.  

Hickory King, sometimes called Hickory Cane, is a popular white dent corn that was introduced close to 150 years ago by A.O. Lee of Hickory, Virginia.  

Read about Plant Appalachian Garden Staple Hickory King Corn

Reviving the Heirloom Rutabaga

Foliage and top of rutabaga poking out of soil, surrounded by sheet of black garden fabric.

Highland grassy sites in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia were popular sites for potato and rutabaga farming in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Rutabagas (Brassica napus) are a cool season root crop in the Brassica family and, in many ways, are a larger version of a turnip. 

Rutabaga comes from rotabagge, the plant’s Swedish name which means “baggy root.” This cross between a cabbage and a turnip is sometimes called a Swedish turnip or swede. In West Virginia, it also has been referred to as a Hanover. 

Read about Reviving the Heirloom Rutabaga

Forage for Wild Creasy Greens

Close up of creasy greens growing in raised bed garden.

Creasy greens are cold-hardy edible plants that grow wild throughout Appalachia. The traditional telltale sign of spring in the Appalachian Mountains is when greasy greens start emerging from the soil. 

For many decades, creasy greens have been hunted by foragers and grown by homesteaders, due to their ability to grow in nearly any type of soil and with limited maintenance.  

Read about Forage for Wild Creasy Greens

Growing Traditional Winter Potato Onions

Winter potato onions spilling out of mesh bag onto grass.

Onions are a staple crop in central Appalachia. Before the popular green bunching scallions and bulb onion, multiplier onions were widely grown in gardens throughout West Virginia.  

Multiplier onions are often called potato onions or shallots. Unlike traditional onions, multiplier onions produce clusters around a central bulb. As a result, the yield from multiplier onions is much greater than traditional bulb onions.  

Read about Growing Traditional Winter Potato Onions

Gardening is a Way to Connect to Your Appalachian Roots

Purple flowers are shown along the sidewalk in the State Fair Master Gardener Demo Garden, other colorful flowers are in the background.

Dear Friends and Garden Enthusiasts, 

A new year always brings a renewed sense of purpose and spirit. Gardening truly feeds our body and our soul. Growing fresh foods and vegetables creates community and fuels better health. 
For Appalachians, gardening also is a deeply rooted art form in our culture (hence the title of this year’s calendar - “Back to Our Roots”). To celebrate this heritage, our 2024 garden calendar features a look at some of our traditional, staple crops that hail from Appalachia, as well as some of the lesser known “wild” vegetables that can be added to our garden bounty. 
As always, you’ll find interesting articles written by our experts, as well as planting tips, recipes and other great information to make the most of your gardening experience. Our WVU Extension agents and staff are happy to help you grow a plentiful bounty. Feel free to contact your local county office with any questions. 
Best wishes for a healthy harvest and wonderful growing season! 

Read about Gardening is a Way to Connect to Your Appalachian Roots

Grow a Colorful Potato Patch

A stack of potatoes in a jar sit next to a yellow squash.

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.

Read about Grow a Colorful Potato Patch

The Color of Beets

Red 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.

Read about The Color of Beets

Rainbow Roots - Colorful Root Crops to Grow in WV

A bunch of red and white radishes.

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.

Read about Rainbow Roots - Colorful Root Crops to Grow in WV

Color Diverse Melons Exist in Different Types

Cut watermelons and mangoes.

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.

Read about Color Diverse Melons Exist in Different Types

Varieties to Grow a Rainbow of Peppers in WV

Red, yellow, and orange peppers on a table.

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.

Read about Varieties to Grow a Rainbow of Peppers in WV

Golden Raspberries to Grow in WV

Green and yellow unripe raspberries grow on the vine.

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.

Read about Golden Raspberries to Grow in WV

Request a Garden Calendar

Visit your local county office to get a copy of WVU Extension's free Garden Calendar.