Personal Column

James J. Barrett
Ag & Natural Resources Extension Agent
WVU Extension Service

"The Backyard Gardener" is a weekly horticulture, farm and home gardening column published in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel in Parkersburg, WV.  It reaches over 26,000 people in the Mid-Ohio Valley on a daily basis, providing a valuable educational resource to the community.  This is a great tool to disseminate research-based information to the public, who are eager to learn home horticulture, farming and gardening tips and receive lawn care advice.  The column focuses on timely recommendations during the growing season and mixes in local themes as well as personal stories to engage readers. 

As an unbiased source of information, WVU Extension Service must continue these avenues of communication to a mass audience.  The column generates numerous phone calls and e-mails to the Wood County WVU Extension Service office for citizens who request follow-up information.  The column covered various topics in 2019, including growing cauliflower, rosemary for the herb garden, planting turnips, making leaf mold compost, soil testing, preserving the harvest, lawn care for drought conditions, cracking in tomatoes, winter wheat as a cover crop, growing pole beans, the power of lime, the value of rained on hay and planting spring flowering bulbs. 

"Crimson Clover" and "The Kissing Bug" are prime examples of the appeal of the column to farmers, home owners and avid gardeners.  The real impact of the "Backyard Gardener" is that many of these readers take the research based information and apply it to their farm, home garden or property.