Skip to main content

Lawn, Gardening & Pests News

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.  

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. 

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. 

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.  

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.”

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.

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.