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Marion County Agriculture & Natural Resources

WVU Extension offers a variety of programs related to horticulture, agriculture and natural resources available for the residents of West Virginia. For a complete listing of all the information WVU Extension has for home gardeners, visit our lawns, gardens and pests section. While you're there, learn about the WVU Extension Master Gardener Program and how it benefits individuals and communities. Be sure to check out the latest from our popular WVU Extension Garden Calendar.

If you’re a producer, whether with large-scale animals or vegetables for your local market, visit WVU Extension's farming section for more in-depth information about agriculture.

If you’re interested in learning about the all the things that make West Virginia wild and wonderful, visit our natural resources section.

This Month in the Garden Calendar

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.  

More from the Garden Calendar

Lawn, Gardening & Pests News for Marion County

AgAlert! Boxwood Blight

Boxwood blight on a shrub.

Boxwood blight is a fungal disease that affects one of West Virginia's most popular landscape shrubs.

Boxwood blights are a fungal disease that can be fatal if no measures are taken to manage the disease at the early stage of infection and symptom appearance. There are two different fungal pathogens involved with blights – Volutella buxi  and Calonectria pseudonaviculata.


Join the Winter/Spring 2024 Master Gardener Training

female planting in a garden

WVU Extension Master Gardener training, which used to be offered through in-person courses organized by WVU Extension offices around the state, will once again be available online via Zoom sessions. 

WVU Extension will continue offering online Master Gardener training classes for late winter/spring 2024 term, beginning on January 11 through May 2. Classes will be held every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. 


AgAlert! Herbicide Contaminated Compost

Compost has traditionally been used by growers not only for supplying nutrients to the soil and plant but also due to its multiple beneficial attributes, such as balancing pH, enhancing water holding capacity, and boosting soil structure and beneficial microbial populations to improve overall soil quality for plant growth and development. Compost can hold nutrients for a longer time and deliver to plants when needed. Nutrients found in compost are released slowly as the compost decomposes, reducing nutrient loss through prevention of off-site movement. Despite all these benefits, herbicide contaminated composts can do lots of harm to plants, especially to those belonging to the family Solanaceae, which includes tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Plant distortion due to growth regulator type herbicide is shown in Figure 1. 

Tomato plant with curled leaves due to growth regulator type herbicide.  Potato plant with curled leaves due to growth regulator type herbicide.

Tomato plant with curled leaves due to growth regulator type herbicide.

Master Gardeners

We’re growing

The WVU Extension Master Gardener Program provides people interested in gardening with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and sharpen their skills by taking part in Basic/Level 1 and Advanced/Level 2 training programs that provide in-depth training in various aspects of horticulture.

The program helps residents better understand horticultural and environmental issues through community engagement in gardening and beautification projects at schools, parks, public institutions, community organizations, and locations throughout the state.

Benefits of becoming a WVU Extension Master Gardener

Among the many benefits for getting involved with the WVU Extension Master Gardener program, here are the highest-ranking ones:

  • Getting to know more about gardening and horticulture to expand personal horizons and be able to help others
  • Significant improvements in quality of life, including physical activity, social activity, self-esteem and nutrition
  • Offers opportunities for professional development through continuing training opportunities
  • Meeting like-minded people and engaging in the garden activities you are passionate about
  • Opportunities to assume responsibility
  • Encourages individual independence
  • Gaining respect in the community for your newly developed horticultural skills
  • Flexibility to conduct volunteer work

How do you join?

The first step is to contact your county office and ask about the training program. Under normal circumstances, the WVU Extension Master Gardener Program is offered through our local WVU Extension offices. The training program has been migrated to an online-hybrid platform. You will still need to contact your local WVU Extension office to go over the registration, fees, paperwork and how to get the manuals.

The Winter/Spring 2024 training series will run from January 11 until May 2. Classes will be held every Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Over the course of the 17-session online training program, you will receive 51 hours of instruction in a variety of topics, including botany, plant propagation, entomology, pesticides and pest management, plant disease, soil science and nutritional management, turfgrass management, vegetable gardening, tree fruits, small fruit, pruning, landscape design, woody ornamentals, indoor plants, herbaceous plants, garden wildlife management and West Virginia native plants. 

From there, pass a test and complete 40 hours of initial volunteer work and you’ll have earned the right to call yourself a WVU Extension Master Gardener.

Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Application

Extension Master Gardener Policy Statement & Guidelines

Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Agreement

Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Code of Conduct

How to order a WVU Extension Master Gardener Manual

County Master Gardener Program coordinators are responsible for signing up new trainees and will take care of ordering the manuals for those participants. Each coordinator will submit their county’s manual order to the WVU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources office by contacting Carra Higgins ( Carra.Higgins@mail.wvu.edu) or Mira Danilovich, WVU Extension Master Gardener Program Coordinator ( Mira.Danilovich@mail.wvu.edu). The office will prepare the invoice and send it with the shipment of the manuals.

Manuals are available in two formats: a printed version and an electronic version. Printed manuals are $75, and the electronic version is $30. You will find all the related information covered in 22 chapters across more than 1,000 pages.

Master Gardener Member Resources


Agriculture News for Marion County

Lease Recommendations for Land Owner & Tenants

Ben Goff.

Ben Goff, WVU Extension Agent in Mason and Putnam counties, offers recommendations for landowners and tenants who want to prepare for the upcoming farming season and work to minimize their respective risks.

Goff covers a variety of tips for farmers and landowners regarding farm leases, including:


Register for 2021 Pasture Management Certificate Training

Barn on farm.

The Pasture Management Certificate Training is offered as part of Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College Agricultural Innovation Workforce Trainings & Certifications. 

Instructed by Kevin Shaffer, Ed Rayburn and Ben Goff from WVU Extension, this certification will teach farmers how they can improve sustainability to their operation by improving their pasture management so there is more available forage year-round. 


Making Quality Hay - Mountaineer FarmTalk

Join us and our special guests every Friday at 10 a.m., for Mountaineer Farm Talk! Learn, share, laugh and enjoy a cup of cowboy coffee (or herbal tea for non-coffee drinkers). We encourage audience participation so have your questions ready.

https://wvu.zoom.us/j/98991307779
Meeting ID: 989 9130 7779O or call  888-475-4499 and 877-853-5257 US Toll-free.

Featured next on Mountaineer FarmTalk:


Beekeeping

The Marion County Beekeepers Association in Fairmont, W.Va., shares love for bees and helps new members learn about how to care and nurture their hive by way of experienced members' mentoring new members.

Visit the association website for events the association is participating and hosting, and how to join.


Natural Resources News for Marion County

Register for White Oak in West Virginia Webinar

Hand holding up a leaf from a white oak tree. The leaf is red from fall coloring.

Join us as we dive into the opportunities and challenges related to sustaining and harvesting white oak trees in West Virginia.

Tuesday, February 2


Register for West Virginia Woodland Stewards Seminar

Timber forest.

Join us as we dive into a variety of educational topics and learn more about how we can be better stewards of West Virginia's woodlands.

Tuesday, February 9