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Lynn Kunstman

Bottle Drive Reminder

By Beet 2022 06 June

Looking for a quick and easy way to help Jackson County Master Gardeners? Consider donating your redeemable beverage bottles and cans. 

It’s easy! Pick up a BLUE BAG or two (no more than two please) from the table in the lobby of the Extension office and fill it with clean, empty, beer, soda, water, tea, or juice container–ANY bottle or can that has the OR 10 cents redemption value listed on the label. Once your bag is full, you can drop it off at any of the following bottle redemption sites: 

  • 1179 Stowe Ave, Medford, OR 97501
  • 2727 Ave G, White City, OR 97503
  • 1040 Rogue River Hwy, Grants Pass, OR 97527 

Then pick up another blue bag and start again. Every little bit helps!

“Catch the Rain” Reminder

By Beet 2022 06 June

In September of 2021, the irrigation wells on the OSU Southern Oregon Research and Education Center campus, at 569 Hanley Road, in Central Point ran dry.  Watering of all campus demonstration gardens stopped, and plants in the native plant nursery began to die.  Through a massive emergency effort, the nursery stock was donated to local restoration projects or taken to members homes to be maintained until we coulda install a watering system.  

JCMGA, in conjunction with Small Farms, Land Stewards and other programs housed at SOREC, are fundraising to be able to install a large Rainwater Catchment System.  The system is a 5,000-gallon system that will capture water off the roof of greenhouse #2.  Master Gardeners will use the water to maintain the native plants in the nursery on campus.  The system will also be demonstration teaching tool for Master Gardeners, Small Farms, Land Stewards, 4-H programs, and any community association that would like to bring members on campus to see what a large capacity capture system looks like.  Interpretive signs and brochures will be placed with the system for the public’s information.

The Rainwater Catchment System is a $15,000 project, so we need to raise considerable funds.  Please consider donating.  No donation is too small.  Give through this link, http://gofund.me/23100a1f, or on our website: https://jacksoncountymga.org/

Thank you for supporting Master Gardeners in Jackson County in our ongoing efforts to educate and serve the citizens of Jackson County!

Hover fly on asters

Garden for Life!

Bottle Drive

By Beet 2022 04 April

Looking for a quick and easy way to help Jackson County Master Gardeners? Consider donating your redeemable beverage bottles and cans.

It’s easy! Pick up a BLUE BAG or two (no more than two please) from the table in the lobby of the Extension office and fill it with clean, empty, beer, soda, water, tea, or juice container–ANY bottle or can that has the OR 10 cents redemption value listed on the label. Once your bag is full, you can drop it off at any of the following bottle redemption sites:

  • 1179 Stowe Ave, Medford, OR 97501
  • 2727 Ave G, White City, OR 97503
  • 1040 Rogue River Hwy, Grants Pass, OR 97527

Then pick up another blue bag and start again. Every little bit helps!

 

Catching the Rain

By Beet 2022 04 April

In September of 2021, the irrigation wells on the OSU Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center campus at 569 Hanley Road in Central Point ran dry. Watering of all campus Demonstration Gardens stopped and plants in the Native Plant Nursery began to die. Through a massive emergency effort, the nursery stock was either donated to local restoration projects or taken to member homes to be maintained until we could install a watering system.

 

An emergency water storage system of eight caged tanks was installed near greenhouse #1 in February 2022 to provide purchased water to irrigate native plant seedlings and transplants being produced in our nursery. This was intended as a temporary fix for the ongoing watering problems.

 

As a more permanent solution, JCMGA, in conjunction with Small Farms, Land Stewards and other programs housed at SOREC, began fundraising to install a large Rainwater Catchment System. The 5,000-gallon system will capture water off the roof of greenhouse #2 and is due to be installed sometime in July or August, 2022. The captured water will supply emergency irrigation to the nursery on campus in the event of future well failures.

 

This system will also act as a demonstration teaching tool for Master Gardeners, Small Farms, Land Stewards, 4-H programs, and any community association that would like to bring members onto campus to see what a large capacity capture system looks like. Interpretive signs and brochures will be placed with the system for the public’s information.

 

The Rainwater Catchment System is a $15,000 project, so we needed to raise considerable funds. With the help of a small cadre of volunteers, we reached out with personal emails and text messages to all Jackson County Master Gardeners for donations, as well as to other stakeholders and community members. As of March 25th, we have received $9,782.00 in donations.

 

We are pleased to have made so much progress toward our financial goals. We are now pursuing grants to make up the balance of the expenses to pay for project completion. Though the GoFundMe campaign ended on March 15th, we are still actively fundraising directly through our website donation page https://jacksoncountymga.org/donate/

 

Our association would like to thank everyone who donated to this effort, for supporting Master Gardeners in Jackson County in our ongoing efforts to educate and serve the citizens of Jackson County!

 

Garden for Life!                                

 

Bottle Drive

By Beet 2022 03 March

Looking for a quick and easy way to help Jackson County Master Gardeners? Consider donating your redeemable beverage bottles and cans.

It’s easy! Pick up a BLUE BAG or two (no more than two please) from the table in the lobby of the Extension office and fill it with clean, empty, beer, soda, water, tea, or juice container–ANY bottle or can that has the OR 10 cents redemption value listed on the label. Once your bag is full, you can drop it off at any of the following bottle redemption sites: 

  • 1179 Stowe Ave, Medford, OR 97501
  • 2727 Ave G, White City, OR 97503
  • 1040 Rogue River Hwy, Grants Pass, OR 97527 

Then pick up another blue bag and start again. Every little bit helps!

Jackson County Master Gardeners Catch the Rain!

By Beet 2022 03 March

In September of 2021, the irrigation wells on the OSU Southern Oregon Research and Education Center (SOREC) campus at 569 Hanley Road in Central Point ran dry.

Watering of all campus Demonstration Gardens stopped and plants in the Native Plant Nursery began to die. Through a massive emergency effort, the nursery stock was donated to local restoration projects or taken to member’s homes to be maintained until we could install a watering system.  

Now, JCMGA, in conjunction with Small Farms, Land Stewards and other programs housed at SOREC, is fundraising to be able to install a large Rainwater Catchment System. The 5,000-gallon system will capture water from the roof of Greenhouse #2.  

Master Gardeners will use the water to maintain the native plants in the campus nursery. The system will also be a demonstration teaching tool for Master Gardeners, Small Farms, Land Stewards, 4-H programs, and any community association that would like to bring members on campus to see what a large-capacity capture system looks like. Interpretive signs and brochures will be placed with the system for the public’s information.

The Rainwater Catchment System is a $15,000 project, so we need to raise considerable funds. Please consider donating. No donation is too small. Give through this link, http://gofund.me/23100a1f or on our website: https://jacksoncountymga.org/

Thank you for supporting Master Gardeners in Jackson County in our ongoing efforts to educate and serve the citizens of Jackson County!

Garden for Life!

So Long…and Thanks for All the Fish!

By Beet 2022 02 February

For those of you who are fans of the “trilogy” of six books, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, this title will make sense to you.  For those of you not familiar, I can only recommend you get to reading these.

As I hand over the reins of the JCMGA board to our new President, Regula Pepi, I wanted to express my appreciation and love for this organization and all the friends and volunteers who make Jackson County Master Gardeners such a wonderful force for good in our community.

Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles – COVID-19, shut downs, well failures, decreased membership – our board and all our volunteers have continued to serve the association and the broader community in so many ways: garden maintenance on campus, teaching OLLI classes, Winter Dreams Summer Gardens Symposium, JPR radio gardening show, JCLS library lectures, installation of a native plant demonstration garden at Britt Festival, and many more that I am sure I am omitting.

So, this is both a thank you and an appeal.

It has been my great honor to serve as president.  Before I agreed, two years ago, to become president-elect, and then president, I had no idea of the complexity of steering such a giant ship of volunteers. I have learned so much from my fellow gardeners and board members and appreciate their dedication so much.

My hope is that each of you, as members, will reflect on how you might help Jackson County Master Gardeners to maintain the high level of service we provide for Rogue Valley gardeners and the broader community. Can you be sure you have renewed your membership?  Can you volunteer to help with upcoming events? If you cannot volunteer in person, can you assist from home?  If you are capable of making a monetary donation, we are always in need of money to fund our programs.  Please be sure you are checking the JCMGA website regularly, and pressing that donate button, if you can. https://jacksoncountymga.org/

I have one more year on the board as past-president and look forward to seeing many–I hope all–of you in the gardens this year.

 

So long…and thanks for all the fish!

Reelin’ in the Year

By Beet 2021 12 December

 

Fall has arrived with its gray mornings and rainy days.  As I struggle to get my “Dawn of the Dead” vegetable garden vines and shrubs into the compost pile, I am heartened by all the bird activity amongst the standing stalks and stems.  Even looking its worst, my garden is providing important food for birds and insects.  I have raked the leaves up off of sidewalks and paths and placed them gently under the shrubs and trees to provide overwintering sites for moths, butterflies and other insects.  The juncos, thrushes, robins and other birds will utilize this resource for winter sustenance.

Things are winding down on campus as well.  The gardens have been tucked in and are enjoying the rain after the long summer dry spell.  The gardens and grounds crew continues to place signs, and remove debris from paths — a year-round job.

In the Native Plants Nursery, volunteers working in Greenhouse 2 meet each Wednesday from 9 to noon to start seeds in stratification trays and pots.  Beginning in December, we will start planting our milkweed seeds in special pots for sale in the spring.  As always, I am looking for a crew to help with that.

The failure of the well is being addressed.  Our hope is that the winter rains will recharge the shallow well used to irrigate the orchards and gardens.  However, we are going forward with research on a rainwater catchment system to use as supplementary water.  Also, an old well site is being evaluated as another possible source of water for next summer’s irrigation needs.

Our JCMGA association election is complete and we are pleased that all positions have been filled.  I am thankful that we had members willing to step up and take on positions of responsibility to assure that the association could continue.

It has been both a challenge and a great honor to have served as president this past year, and I sincerely thank all those who guided and supported me in that effort.  If you are interested in becoming more involved with Master Gardeners, we welcome your attendance at our monthly meetings on the second Friday of each month.

Finally, we are looking forward with great hope to the coming year and the start of a new Master Gardener class.  Having students on campus is always such a joy.  And teaching new skills to gardeners is pretty much what we do this for.

Hope you will all come out, as the weather and your interests permit.  And remember to Garden for Life. 

Why Natives Part 4

By Beet 2021 11 Nov

Why Native Plants?  Plant Choice Matters!

Part 4 of a four-part series

In past articles, I discussed the importance that native plants play in providing ecosystem services.  Part three of this series focused on their benefits in cleaning and managing water, providing food, and supporting pollinators.  The final two ecosystem services that native plants provide are addressed in this article.

Enriching and stabilizing soil: Long roots and drought tolerance allow native plants to penetrate the soil substrate much farther than non-natives. Natives demand much less water, and pull carbon deep into the soil, making plant tissues available to soil microorganisms and macroorganisms to feed upon. As the life forms in the soil grow, die and decompose, the soil becomes richer and more friable.  Native plants save you money on your water bills!

Sequestering carbon – Plants build their bodies from carbon that they take from the atmosphere. Using chlorophyll, plants harness energy from sunlight to combine carbon dioxide and water into long sugar chains. Oxygen is also made and released into the atmosphere.  

Yes, that is photosynthesis (photo=light, synthesis=building).  Plants are literally building their bodies using sunlight. Roots, stems, trunks, leaves – all plant parts rely on photosynthesis to combine CO2 with water to create the building blocks for plant life. Native plants can store carbon in the ground for a longer time than non-native plants! 

Quercus garryana – Oregon White Oak

One last important concept for folks wanting to grow the most beneficial native plants – use those that increase the ability of our birds to breed and increase their populations; that’s the idea of KEYSTONE PLANTS.  These are the plants that grow the most species of caterpillar.  In other words, keystone plants are the best bird feeders you can grow.  In Southern Oregon, the top three keystone plants are native willow, native cherry and native oak.  If you can plant any or all of these in your landscape, please do so.

Native plants are not always easy to find in local nurseries. Specialist nurseries and native plant societies are local sources. As more gardeners ask their garden to support insect and bird species, they can in turn ask nurseries to stock more native trees, shrubs and perennials. 

Prunus virginiana – Native Chokecherry

Down here in Southern Oregon, the Jackson County Master Gardener Association has undertaken a project to propagate native plants from cuttings and seeds. We’re fortunate to have native shrubs and perennials in our Demonstration Gardens which can serve as sources for the cuttings. We sell these at pop-up sales at our Extension site. To help folks envision how natives might fit into their own landscapes, we have a Native Plant Demonstration Garden and are expanding our use of native trees, an important contributor to insect support.

Home gardeners with the time and interest can propagate natives themselves. A great source for propagation how-to is Geoff Bryant’s book, Plant Propagation A to Z. Just be sure you are propagating an Oregon native plant.  Use the sources below to find plants suited to your location.

Oregon Flora

https://oregonflora.org/

Native Plant Finder

https://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/plants

Plant choice matters!  Garden for Life!

Congratulations Class of 2020!

By Beet 2021 11 Nov

Greetings and congratulations, Graduates!  We have celebrated a momentous occasion, honoring your perseverance and determination to complete the Master Gardener Program. I welcome you all as fully certified Master Gardeners to our incredible organization:  Jackson County Master Gardener Association.  We hope you will remain with us, and continue to work, learn and teach with us as the years progress.  The best way to hone your gardening skills and help your community is to learn from the amazing group of volunteers who make up our association.

If you read the Garden Beet, you have seen me use our slogan GARDEN FOR LIFE at the end of all my articles.  This really is what we believe in.

In JCMGA, you will find community, friendship, support and a joy in learning and sharing knowledge that is unsurpassed.  We want all of you to stay involved and welcome you and the talents you bring.  Each of you has unique expertise and gifts and yours are needed now, more than ever.  

We are looking to the future with hope and need your help.  Come spring, we will need volunteers in our gardens on campus and in the Native Plant Nursery.   Our Board of Directors is always looking for new talent.  If you have experience in communications, fundraising, business, member services, community outreach, education or administration, please refer to the organizational chart in your directory and see where you might plug in.  Contact a board member or a Working Group chair and ask how you can get involved.   

Once we can meet in person without restrictions, we will need volunteers to help with the social events we hold on campus as well – picnics, meetings, banquets, work days.

Our Working Groups meet monthly and are happy to welcome new members.  Communications WG is responsible for our JCMGA website, Facebook, YouTube channel, the Garden Beet, document storage, membership database, and marketing and publicity. If you are a techie, we could certainly use your help. 

Membership Services WG is for you if you love planning and staging social events, field trips, the Garden Buds program and all things people related. 

Community Gardens WG oversees our community garden and school garden grants, scholarships, and runs our Speakers Bureau.  

Fundraising WG is in charge of making money to run our programs through fundraising, corporate and private donations, sales and grants.  

Program Support WG runs the MG class and the Plant Clinic and oversees Practicum and Seed to Supper. 

The Gardens and Grounds WG coordinates the demonstration Gardens, along with irrigation and garden enhancement projects.

Our two major educational events each year are Winter Dreams, Summer Gardens – coming to you virtually this November 5, 6 and 13, and Spring Garden Fair, hopefully live, the first weekend in May. Sign up for Winter Dreams, Summer Gardens now on our website.  https://jacksoncountymga.org/

As we go forward into 2022 and beyond, I want to reassure you that learning about gardening is not just a matter of taking a class or a course of instruction.  Gardening is a PRACTICE, and just as teachers and doctors get better in their “practices,” so will you.  JCMGA sees you as the newly-planted Master Gardeners here in the Rogue Valley.  We know you will need care, and food, and encouragement to grow, just like any young plant.  We are here to provide that for you so that you can grow and thrive and become the best gardener you can be.  If you want to attend this year’s Practicum, please let me and Erika know so we can get an idea of numbers.  And of course, you are always welcome to sit in on Master Gardener classes starting in January.  

Gardening, helping, learning and teaching about gardening is a great gift that we give to ourselves and others.  JCMGA pledges to support you.  We hope you will support us as we all GARDEN FOR LIFE.