A limited supply of seeds for the West Virginia 63, a blight-resistant tomato developed at West Virginia University, will be available for home gardeners beginning this week.
The tomato, bred by WVU professor emeritus Mannon Gallegly, was created to resist blight and was unveiled in 1963 as part of West Virginia's centennial celebration. Signs of blight, which is of concern to many gardeners, include brown spots or lesions on the stems, olive green or brown patches on the leaves and white fungal growth underneath.
"Overall, it's a good canning tomato and a good slicing tomato for the table," said Gallegly, who retired from WVU's Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design in 1986. "A lot of people just eat slices of the tomato between two pieces of bread. That's the way I eat 'em."
As WVU celebrates the tomato's 50th birthday, and as West Virginia celebrates its 150th birthday, Gallegly and WVU colleagues have harvested a supply of seeds to let Mountaineer fans grow a piece of history in their own yards and patios.
To claim a packet of seeds, simply send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: WV-63 Tomato, PO Box 6108, WVU Extension, Morgantown, WV 26506-6108
Seeds will be mailed out beginning this week, with a limit of one packet per household.