Extension Service calendars offer knowledge, recipes for new year

Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and my work preparing my year-end review reports, something very special happens in my office.  At some point in December case upon case is delivered to our office, filled with highly desired goods.

These are items that have been requested as far back as mid-summer by some folks, and as the year ends a great many more requests come via phone, email, and in person.  Some people are persistent, asking many times for the items, taking on a fervent desire akin to that of the Gollum in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ looking for “The Precious.”

But these are not powerful gold rings, or fine jewels, or anything of real material value.  What they hold is knowledge.  It is knowledge shared with the people of West Virginia from the agents and specialists from WVU Extension Service.  What it holds is therefore more precious than a golden ring, it is the knowledge to grow a garden.  This knowledge is priceless, which is why it is fitting that we give it away for free.

I’m talking, of course, about the 2015 edition of the WVU Extension Service Garden Calendar.  We have published this calendar annually now for a few decades, and they are highly prized for good reason.  This year, the extension service had over 80,000 calendars printed to give away across the state.  Aside from being a functional calendar, many of the dates have suggestions for tasks in the garden, such as planting certain crops and plants, when to sow seeds, harvest suggestions, and more.  Additionally, each month features an article of useful information prepared by an extension agent or specialist specifically for the calendar.

I must say that this year’s calendar is superb.  Aside from a beautiful new design with full color printing (thanks to newer techniques that made it as economical as single-color printing), the calendar has a great theme of “Farm to Table” and features a dozen detachable recipe cards.

Each month, information on growing a specific fruit or vegetable is featured (check out March for my article on growing leeks).  The calendar also has a list of variety recommendations and some basic pest control information.  It truly is a valuable resource.

So, how do you get your hands on one?  There are a few ways.  If you are in Kanawha County, one of the most convenient ways is to stop by the local library.  We send most of what we get out to the libraries for distribution.  Several other counties do this as well, so check with your county office to see what your options are.  We do, of course, have some at our office for distribution to those who stop by (and I’m sure we will have a stampede of people this week).

If you are in the digital age, you can access the calendar any number of ways.  A visit to http://anr.ext.wvu.edu/garden_calendar will provide a downloadable and printable PDF file of the calendar, as well as the associated items such as the recipe cards.  You can also find an RSS feed that you can use to import the calendar information into your own digital calendar.  I also have a feed of the calendar dates on my Facebook page (Garden Guru John Porter) and Twitter account (@wvgardenguru), so you can also follow me for the information.  I also share calendar information at the end of my articles when appropriate.

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