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Mercer County Agriculture & Natural Resources

Lawn, Gardening & Pests

Get a yard that feels and looks like home. Get a bountiful harvest. Grow your own and sow something beautiful. WVU Extension has lawn, gardening and pests information you can use.

Master Gardener Program

The WVEMGA helps West Virginians understand horticultural and environmental issues through community engagement in gardening and beautification projects at schools, parks, public institutions, and locations throughout the state.

For more information contact Jodi Richmond at the WVU Mercer County Extension Office at 304-425-3079.

This Month in the Garden Calendar

Fat Man Pole Beans – An Heirloom Favorite

Greenish yellow Fat Man Bean pods hang from the vine on a vertical trellis system.

The snap bean is a hardy subsistence crop that has helped to sustain families in the mountains for hundreds of years. This crop, which has origins in Central and South America, is now cultivated throughout the world and is represented by over 130 varieties. These beans are divided into three categories: bush beans, pole beans and half-runners.  

Snap beans are often referred to as “string beans,” a name which comes from the notorious fibrous strip that runs length wise of the bean pod. While those strings can be a problem, many West Virginians’ childhood memories are filled with stringing beans during summer evenings on grandma’s front porch.  

More from the Garden Calendar

Lawn, Gardening & Pests News for Mercer 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.


Practical economic strategies. Investments in local growers. Farming like our future depends on it. WVU Extension offers timely, research-based agriculture information you can put into practice.

Agriculture News for Mercer 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.
Meeting ID: 989 9130 7779O or call  888-475-4499 and 877-853-5257 US Toll-free.

Featured next on Mountaineer FarmTalk:

Mercer County Beekeepers

The Mercer County Beekeepers Association consists of over 75 beekeepers and supporters in southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. They have monthly educational meetings with speakers from throughout West Virginia and Virginia covering topics such as basic beekeeping, disease control, and hive management. These meetings are typically held the first Monday of each month.

Additionally, they offer summer workshops and a five week beginning beekeeper course in the winter or spring.

To join the Mercer County Beekeepers mailing list or email list, contact the WVU Extension Office at 304-425-3079 or email Jodi Richmond.

Mercer County Livestock Program

The Livestock Program consists of educational presentations and hands-on workshops offered to over 400 livestock producers in southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. There are typically 6-10 programs throughout the year including risk management dinner meetings, field days, and other programs. The local Mercer County Extension office coordinates producer registration for special livestock sales with several area markets. We also provide service to the Mercer County Livestock Protective Association and the Mercer County Wool Pool.

Area Special Livestock Sales

Greenbrier Valley – graded sale Friday’s 2 p.m. 304-647-5833
Dublin – all breed steer and heifer Friday’s 2:30 p.m. 540-674-5311
Narrows- all breed steer and heifer Saturday’s 2 p.m. 540-726-2152

Mercer County Livestock Protective Association

For an annual dues of $10 area producers receive protection in the event of theft or vandalism on their property by providing a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators. The Association meets annually in the spring.

Mercer County Wool Pool

This program provides a group shearing event for area sheep producers and a later wool collection. The wool is sold through the Tazewell County Wool Pool.

If you are interested in any of these livestock programs contact the Mercer County WVU Extension Office at 304-425-3079 or email Jodi Rchmond.

Mercer County Tailgate Produce Market

The “Tailgate Market” exists to help local producers market their products and encourage the community to use fresh, locally grown products as much as possible. The market is open to any Mercer County resident that produces their own fruits, vegetables, plants, honey, eggs, herbs, jams/jellies, and baked goods.

The market sets up in the Mercer County Technical Education Center parking lot on Stafford Drive on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. until about noon (or whenever they sell out). The market also accepts WVDA/USDA Senior and WIC Food Voucher.

Market Location

Fnd the market at the Mercer County Technical Education Center (Vo-Tech) parking lot on Stafford Drive, Princeton.

Senior Food Vouchers

Area seniors on a fixed/low income are eligible to receive $24 food voucher booklets which can be redeemed through most sellers at the Mercer County Tailgate Produce Market. Eligible items include any fresh fruits or vegetables and herbs. Vouchers are limited and are distributed in the summer (typically late June/early July) on a first-come first-served basis through the area senior centers.

Contact the Mercer County Commission on Aging at 403-425-7111 or Community Action of Southeast West Virginia at 304-327-3506 to see if you qualify and find out when vouchers are distributed.

WIC Food Vouchers

Mercer County does not currently offer these vouchers to eligible WIC participants, but most Tailgate Market vendors accept WIC food vouchers from other counties for fresh fruits and vegetables.

If you are interested in any of these programs contact the WVU Mercer County Extension Office at 304-425-3079 or email Jodi Richmond.

Natural Resources

Land you can take pride in. Nature you can appreciate. Keep wild and wonderful just that. WVU Extension has natural resources information from trusted experts.

Natural Resources News for Mercer 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