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Susan Koenig

Highlighting JCMGA Experts Presenting at Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens

By Beet 2023 09 September


Last month began our Beet series of three articles on the speakers and their presentations for the upcoming Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens Symposium October 27-28 and November 3-4. This month I shine a spotlight on Jackson County Master Gardener Association’s own experts who are presenters at the symposium. We have a deep and talented bench at JCMGA!


Ronnie Budge 

  • Presentation: Two 45-minute presentations: 1) Unlocking the Mysteries of the Seed Catalog, and 2) Coping with Critters in the Garden
  • Description
  • Every flower and vegetable variety described in a seed catalog, accompanied by a beautiful photo, is so tempting. How do you pick and choose? Learn to decipher the codes and clues in the catalog before you order, so you can grow the kind of garden you really want.
  • Deer, squirrels, gophers and voles – how do you keep them from destroying your garden? Learn what methods will help you control the pests, and what probably won’t work.
  • Speaker Bio: You can take the woman out of the Rogue Valley, but you can’t take the Rogue Valley out of the woman. Although she moved to Seattle last year, Ronnie continues to honor us with her participation in JCMGA. Ronnie lived and gardened a large part of her adult life in the valley. She became a Master Gardener and served as a Practicum mentor for many years. She tended vegetable and ornamental gardens on her property near Jacksonville where she did battle with all manner of “critters”.


John Kobal    

  • Presentation: Rock Gardens
  • Description: Create a unique feature, exclusive to your property. Try a Rock Garden.  Each rock garden is unique to its developer and varies by plant and hardscape variety.  It’s not hard to build one, but does take some planning and forethought.  The plants are usually on the small side, but a well-placed tree can be a welcome addition.  Create living pathways, garden walls, and points of interest using rocks (and plants).
  • Speaker bio: John has 30+ years of gardening experience.  He relocated to the Rogue Valley in 2014, and is a Master Gardener, certified by the Oregon State University Extension in Jackson County.  John has an extensive orchard, an in-ground garden and 18 raised beds used for growing vegetables.  He has three worm bins which compost a majority of kitchen scraps.  John is a garden lecturer for civic organizations, interfaces with several local school gardening programs, is an instructor in the Practicum aspect of the Master Gardener Training Program, is an OLLI instructor, and hosts the garden lecture series at the annual Master Gardener Spring Garden Fair.




Bonnie Englehardt  

  • Title: Masses of Grasses
  • Description:  Overwhelmed with the abundance of ornamental grass options, but ready to delve into this endlessly useful category of plants? Come explore the varieties that are best suited to our region, including many North American natives, and learn about their bountiful benefits-: deer resistance, drought tolerance and wildlife habitat among them.  Tips and information on the best care practices will also be discussed.
  • Speaker Bio:  Bonni Engelhardt is a landscape designer, Master Gardener, and writer.  She loves to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for plants with the community.



Rosenelle Florencechild 

  • Title of Presentation: Fragrance in the Garden   
  • Description of Presentation: When we see a beautiful flower in the garden, instinctively we bend toward the bloom and breathe in. Often we are disappointed. As modern hybridizers work toward increasing pest and disease resilience, scent is sacrificed. This presentation will examine varieties of shrubs – peonies, roses, lavender, and herbs – such as mints, lemon verbena, and pineapple sage – that offer a feast for your nose as well as your eyes.
  • Speaker Bio: Rosenelle Florencechild completed the Jackson County Master Gardener Program in 2013. She served as Head Gardener of the Lavender Garden from 2014-2016. She is a member of the Herb Society of America, the American Rose Society, and several local garden clubs.



Marsha Waite  

  • Presentation: Identifying and Attracting Beneficial Insects to the Home Garden 
  • Description: This class will help students identify, attract and protect some of the best garden helpers in Southern Oregon. Come learn which factors are depleting beneficial insect populations and what we can do to help them survive these challenging times.
  • Speaker Bio: Marsha Waite, a Master Gardener since 1995, has been a Plant Clinic Specialist and an Entomology and Integrated Pest Management instructor for the past 28 years. She has given many classes to garden clubs in Oregon and written articles for the Mail Tribune and Garden Beet. She was given the Jackson Co. Master Gardener of the Year award in 2000, Oregon State Master Gardener of the Year award in 2007, and was the State Behind the Scenes award recipient in 2016.

A Preview of the 2023 Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens Symposium

By Beet 2023 08 August


Planning for the 2023 Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens Symposium is well underway. The symposium will offer 14 different class sessions, four each day on October 27th, 28th, and November 3, and two more on November 4th.  There are many gardening-related topics from which to choose, but the WD/SG Working Group decided on four subject areas: critters in the garden; climate change/ecology; home gardening; and a “grab bag” category.

To increase our audience, we are again partnering with the Oregon State Landscape Board, who will offer our classes for Continuing Education credits in horticulture to landscapers. We are also trying new avenues of advertising, including color ads in both the Ashland and Medford Parks & Recreation Departments’ Fall Catalogs. Because the classes will again be presented via Zoom, there are plenty of seats!

We have booked 14 spectacular speakers, a few of whom you may already know and others who are new to WD/SG. This month, and for the next two months, we will be showcasing the bios of several speakers in the Garden Beet.

The schedule of classes and registration information will be available in mid-August. You will be able to register and pay online through PayPal at the  website. Watch for the MailChimp announcement in August.



2023 WD/SG Sessions

Taking a Walk on the Wildside… In Your Own Backyard

Andony Pelathopoulus, Presenter


Last year, Andony talked about how Oregon is leading the nation in cataloguing its bee biodiversity. All of this data has provided great insights into the top bee-attractant plants for your garden. In this lecture, we talk about what we are learning from the Oregon Bee Atlas in terms of best plants for bees in southern Oregon.

Andony Melathopoulos is an Associate Professor of Pollinator Health Extension in the Department of Horticulture at OSU. He leads the Master Melittologist and Bee Steward Programs and hosts the podcast PolliNation.



Succulent Gardening for Drought Resilience

Annie Schreck, Presenter

Looking for easy, drought-tolerant plants that can bring color to your garden and attract pollinators? Explore why succulents are ideal for low-water landscaping and learn how to incorporate them into a stunning, low-maintenance rock garden.


Annie Schreck is the researcher and editor-in-chief for Mountain Crest Gardens, a family-owned, online nursery that grows succulents in Northern California. She found her passion for horticulture as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. Upon returning to the US, she worked in a native plant nursery in the Willamette Valley and earned her certification in Permaculture d Design. She now takes great pleasure in researching and writing about succulents, talking plants with novices and experts alike, and helping people cultivate resilient, waterwise plants at home and in the landscape.



Masses of Grasses

Bonni Engelhardt, Presenter

Overwhelmed with the abundance of ornamental grass options, but ready to delve into this endlessly useful category of plants? Come explore the varieties that are best suited to our region, including many North American natives, and learn about their bountiful benefits such as deer resistance, drought tolerance and wildlife habitat, among others.  Tips and information on the best care practices will also be discussed.

Bonni Engelhardt is a landscape designer, Master Gardener, and writer.  She loves to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for plants with the community.



Fire Adapted Landscaping Best Practices and Understanding Defensible Space

Brian Hendrix, Presenter

Designed to help gardeners improve their understanding of what ‘being firewise’ really means for gardens and landscaping around the home. Learn how various wildfire risk reduction activities can improve the survivability of a home in a wildfire event. Terms and activities relating to wildfire mitigation will be introduced, as well as some basics of effective plant spacing and maintenance for improved defensible space, and differences between a firewise versus a flammable plant. We’ll offer examples from local homes and help prioritize actions related to vegetation maintenance for wildfire preparedness.

Brian Hendrix is the Fire Adapted Communities Coordinator for Ashland Fire & Rescue. He is a Certified Wildfire Mitigation Specialist. Before taking over the FAC Coordinator role in 2021, Brian was the Weed Abatement Coordinator and a Wildfire Mitigation Assistant for AF&R’s Wildfire Division.




Irrigation Systems: Common Problems & Solutions for a Water Wise Landscape

Cody Scoggins and Aaron Adachi, Presenters

Irrigation systems provide us with a convenient way to water our landscapes more evenly and at the most optimal times of day (early morning and late evening). However, these systems also need regular maintenance to ensure that water is being used as efficiently as possible.  This presentation will cover common problems that can occur in irrigation systems and best practices for creating a thriving water-efficient landscape.


Cody Scoggins is the Water Efficiency Coordinator for Medford Water Department. He has a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Management. He’s part of a committed team who thrive on being good stewards of our water and a reliable resource for those who look to be good stewards themselves.




Aaron Adachi is a Water Efficiency Technician for Medford Water Department. With a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Aaron chose to come to Medford Water for the opportunity to implement lasting change in the surrounding community with the skills that he learned from the private sector.

Winter Dreams Summer Gardens 2022 — Saving the Best for Last

By Beet 2022 10 October



This is the last Garden Beet article showcasing our Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens presenters. Have I saved the best for last? Well, who knows what will be the best presentation? They all sound exciting to me!

Join us on October 28-29 and November 4-5 for Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens. Sixteen one and one-half hour lectures with Q&A on timely and relevant gardening topics will be presented.

Be sure to register at Registration cost is only $30.00 for all 16 lectures, less than $2.00 for each. Now, that’s a bargain you can’t turn down. The Zoom link will be sent to you the day before and will be the same link for each class that day.


Brian Hendrix       

  • Title: Fire Adapted Landscaping: Best Practices and Understanding Defensible Space
  • Description of presentation: Designed to help gardeners improve your understanding of what “being Firewise” really means for gardens and landscaping around the home. Learn how various wildfire risk reduction activities can improve the survivability of a home in a wildfire event. We will introduce terms and activities relating to wildfire mitigation, learn basics about effective plant spacing and maintenance for improved defensible space and differences between a “Firewise” or “Flammable” plant. We’ll offer examples from local homes and help prioritize actions related to vegetation maintenance for wildfire preparedness.


  • Bio: Brian Hendrix is the Fire Adapted Communities Coordinator for Ashland Fire & Rescue. He has served since 2017 and is a Certified Wildfire Mitigation Specialist and Fire Inspector II. Brian was the Weed Abatement Coordinator and a Wildfire Mitigation Assistant for AF&R’s Wildfire Division.



     Neil Bell

  • Title: Groundcovers of Every Size for Unirrigated Landscapes
  • Description: The term “groundcover” is usually interpreted to mean a diminutive plant which spreads horizontally in the landscape and does not exceed a few inches in height. In most landscape situations, groundcovers are utilized in a supporting role as filler between shrubs or trees that are the real focus of the landscape and serve principally to suppress weeds. Weed management is a worthy goal of groundcover plants, but their effectiveness is directly related to the height of the plant and the density of the canopy. This presentation will look at an array of groundcovers which vary in size for use in un-irrigated situations not as filler, but as a mainstay of the landscape itself.


  • Bio: Neil Bell was Community Horticulturist for OSU Extension Service from 2000 to 2021 and coordinated the OSU Master Gardener programs in Marion and Polk Counties during that time. He oversees landscape plant evaluations on drought-tolerant shrubs and is currently conducting a 3-year evaluation of shrubs for groundcover in unirrigated landscapes at the OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora, OR.



Ray Seidler         

  • Title: Why Regenerative Agriculture?
  • Description: The global food system currently generates approximately one-third of atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions. What we eat and the kinds of agricultural practices used to produce our food contribute significantly to these emissions. Seidler will provide an operational definition of regenerative agricultural practices that lead to numerous agronomic benefits including lower fossil fuel inputs as well as sequestering or removing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Thus, he says, there is a clear nexus between regenerative agriculture practices and climate change mitigation. Dr. Seidler will also explain how all of us, regardless of our gardening skills, can help mitigate climate change and reward American farmers who are already participating in carbon sequestering regenerative agricultural programs.


  • Bio: Dr. Seidler has studied, taught and conducted research at 5 major American Universities. He received a B.S. degree from California State University, Northridge and a Ph.D. in Bacteriology from the University of California at Davis.  He was a tenured professor of Microbiology at Oregon State University and later a senior research scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In retirement, he and his wife grow lavender commercially using regenerative and organic practices at Pompadour Lavender Farm, Ashland.



 Sherry Sheng

  • Title: Fruit Tree Pruning
  • Description: This class will discuss how to use different types of pruning cuts and when and where to apply them. Attendees will learn whether fruits are produced on spurs or shoots so that pruning stimulates an abundance of fruiting wood to support good production. Join us and learn how to shape a young tree and steps for pruning pome fruits (apple and pear), stone fruits (plum, cherry, apricot, peach and nectarine), persimmon and fig.


  • Bio: Sherry Sheng is an Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener who leads and teaches for the award-winning 10-Minute University™ Program. She began teaching gardening classes in 2006 and has many instructional videos to her credit. Sherry gardens at home, at a community garden, and co-manages a pollinator garden at a public park.



Susie Savoie   

  • Title: Creating the Troon Vineyard Native Plant and Pollinator Botanical Garden
  • Description: In December 2020, Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds installed a ½-acre Native Plant and Pollinator Botanical Garden at Troon Vineyard in the Applegate Valley that includes nearly 100 species of native plants. Primarily established through direct seeding, with some use of potted native nursery plants, the garden provides an opportunity to learn about native plants in a scenic, organic, and biodynamic vineyard setting that is open to the public. This presentation will focus on how the space went from bare ground to a botanical garden with paths, a small meadow, and blocks of species highlighted with plant signs within two years. Lessons learned and specific species information will be provided.
  • Bio: Suzie Savoie is co-owner of Siskiyou Ecological Services and Klamath-Siskiyou Native Seeds. She was co-author of Native Pollinator Plants for Southern Oregon and an editor of The Siskiyou Crest: Hikes, History & Ecology. Suzie provides native seed collection services, online native seed sales, native nursery plants and native plant consultation. For nearly 20 years, she has been using native plants for gardens and habitat restoration on her property in the Applegate Valley, and she enjoys helping others do the same.



JCMGA Picnic Food a Great Success

By Beet 2022 09 September

One of the favorite dishes was Susan Koenig’s Carrot Cake.  Many people asked her for the recipe.  Enjoy!

Carrot Cake




Cake batter

2 C flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1-1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

4 large eggs

2 C. sugar

1-1/2 C vegetable oil

2 C peeled and finely grated carrots

8 oz. crushed pineapple

3/4 C. pecans, coarsely chopped



12 oz softened cream cheese

1-1/2 sticks softened butter

1 Tbps. vanilla

1 C. pecans, coarsely chopped

6 C. confectioner’s sugar


3  9-inch round cake pans, 2″ deep



  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Sift together all dry ingredients
  3. With electric mixer, beat eggs until light
  4. Add sugar slowly to eggs while mixing
  5. Mix in oil in slow stream until combined
  6. Mix  in pineapple with juice, carrots and pecans on low.
  7. Mix in 1/3 of dry ingredients at a time to wet ingredients.
  8. Grease and flour pans.
  9. Pour 1/3 of batter into each pan.
  10. Bake for about 45 minutes, switching the position of the pans between top and bottom to cook evenly.
  11. Insert knife into center to test for doneness. If knife comes out clean, cake is done.
  12. Remove pans from oven and cool on wire rack.



  1. In the mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla on medium until very soft — about 5 minutes
  2. Add powdered sugar slowly while mixing on medium low to incorporate, then beat for 5 minutes at medium high until smooth — about 5 minutes.
  3. Cool in refrigerator to stiffen a little before icing the cake.



  1. Remove cakes from pans and cool thoroughly.
  2. Spread 1/4 of icing on first layer.
  3. Add another layer on top and spread 1/4 of icing on that.
  4. Add the top layer and add the remaining icing to the top.
  5. Spread icing down sides and across top with a wide spatula .
  6. Sprinkle top and sides with coarsely chopped pecans.



Highlighting JCMGA Experts Presenting at Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens

By Beet 2022 09 September

Last month began our Garden Beet series of three articles on the instructors and their presentations for the upcoming Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens Symposium October 28-29 and November 4-5. This month, I am going to shine a spotlight on JCMGA’s own Master Gardener experts who will be presenting at the symposium. I’m including Rachel Werling in this group, because she was the instructor for my class in 2016 and we made her an “honorary” Master Gardener. Although you may have heard presentations by each of them in the past, these Master Gardeners are developing NEW lectures for this symposium. We have a deep and talented bench!


Rachel Werling                                                                                 

  • Title of presentation: Wildflowers to Know
  • Description of presentation: We will have a virtual tour through some of our lovely Southwest Oregon habitats and see native blossoms in their native habitats. We will give pointers on where to see wildflowers, tools for identification, and suggest places to find these species for sale for your own garden.
  • Short bio: Rachel Werling runs the OSU Land Steward program and Klamath Siskiyou Ecoregion Course of the Oregon Master Naturalist Program. She is president of the Siskiyou Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon.



Lynn Kunstman


  • Title: Why Natives? – Seven Steps to Restoring Biodiversity in Your Yard
  • Description: Planting native plants is crucial to ecosystem health and to preserving and protecting life on earth. Plant choice matters and choosing native plants helps to restore and ensure vital ecosystem services in our landscapes. Based on the work of Dr. Doug Tallamy, this presentation outlines seven steps you can take to create healthy, productive gardens and help save our disappearing pollinators and birds.
  • Short Bio: Lynn is a Master Gardener living in Medford Oregon. She has lived in the

Rogue Valley since 1986. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management and a

Master’s Degree of Science in Education. A retired middle school science and special

education teacher, Lynn’s students at Ashland Middle School established the butterfly

garden there. Her first project upon retiring and moving from Ashland to Medford was

to mulch out all the lawns on her property. Lynn’s entire front yard in Medford is now

given over to wildlife: planted with edible trees and shrubs, and pollinator plants. The

back yard is planted in fruit trees, berries and vegetables for the humans. She is an

enthusiastic advocate of gardens planted with wildlife, pollinators and butterflies in mind.


Robin McKenzie                                                                                 

  • Title of Presentation: Planning and Growing a Living Landscape: Gardening for Biodiversity
  • Description: Save time and money by planning before you plant! With the right knowledge about native and ornamental plants, timing, seasonality, and basic design principles, it’s easy to transform any space into a pollinator and bird paradise, regardless of size. You’ll walk away from this information-packed class with step-by-step planning techniques for creating a garden that supports native and migratory pollinators and birds, while offering a beautiful, soothing vista for you and your neighbors.
  • Short Bio:Robin McKenzie is a landscape designer in Talent, Oregon. Rockbird Gardens specializes in transforming typical lawns into living landscapes using native and ornamental trees, shrubs, and perennials. As an avid birder, Robin values insects as critically important parts of the ecosystem and encourages students to embrace gardening that brings all facets of life into the neighborhood. Robin tends her own official Talent Pollinator Garden as well as a Certified Monarch Butterfly Way Station.



Sherri Morgan                                       

  • Title: Lawn Gone
  • Description: Many of us grew up with lawns and have always considered them a major part of our landscapes. But we live in Southern Oregon, which has a Mediterranean climate, with four-plus months of little to no rain. Currently, we are in the third year of a significant drought, with water restrictions increasingly likely. Lawns are thirsty and do little to provide food or shelter to our native insects and vertebrates. This class will show how to easily remove the lawn. Then, we will discuss replacing the lawn area with plants that preserve a sense of space, but which are more appropriate for our climate and support the ecosystems in which we live.
  • Short Bio: Sherri is a Master Gardener and 15-year resident of Jackson County. She has taught in the Master Gardener Practicum program since 2009 and currently is the mentor of the Native Plants Garden at the Extension (SOREC) in Central Point. Sherri has certificates in landscape design and construction and over the past several years has focused on designs that feature plants native to our area.



Shirley Wentworth                                                                   

  • Title: Incorporating Herbs into Your Life
  • Description: A discussion of herbs used as flavorings, infusions, scents, nutrients and in cooking that can be grown in the Rogue Valley. Shirley will talk about growing selected herbs and how to use them.
  • Bio: Shirley has been a Master Gardener since 2013. She is the Garden Education Mentor for the Herb Garden at Extension and was the organizer of the Herb Study Group.



John Kobal       

  • Title: Year-Round Vegetable Gardening
  • Description: Why not take advantage of gardening year-round? With a little planning, you too can reap the benefits and enjoyment of eating your own fresh produce. Change what you grow with the changing seasons. Start your winter garden before cool weather sets in. Know what crops to plant and when to expect harvests. Interplant crops to anticipate changes in weather. Have a greenhouse or a heat mat? Start your seeds early.
  • Short Bio:   John has 30-plus years of gardening experience. He relocated to the Rogue Valley in 2014 and became a Master Gardener in 2015. John has an extensive orchard, an in-ground garden and 18 raised beds used for growing vegetables. He has three worm bins which compost most kitchen scraps. John is a garden lecturer for civic organizations, interfaces with several local school gardening programs, is a Practicum instructor in the Master Gardener Training Program and hosts the garden lecture series at the annual Master Gardener Spring Garden Fair.

A Preview of the 2022 Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens Symposium

By Beet 2022 08 August

Planning for the 2022 Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens Symposium is well underway. The Symposium will offer 16 different class sessions, four per day on October 28-29 and November 4-5. With so many gardening-related topics to choose from, the WD/SG Working Group decided to have four presentations for each of four subject areas: climate change/ecology; native plants; home gardening; and a “grab bag” theme.

To increase our audience, we are partnering with the Oregon State Landscape Board to offer our classes for Continuing Education Horticultural credits for Landscapers. We are also trying new avenues of advertising, including a color ad in the Medford Park and Recreation Department’s Fall Catalog with a circulation of 44,000 households. Because the classes will again be presented via Zoom, there are plenty of seats!

We have booked 16 spectacular speakers, a few of whom you will know and others who are new to WD/SG. This month, and for the next two months, we will be showcasing the bios of 5-6 speakers in the Garden Beet. The schedule of classes and registration information will be available in mid-August. You will be able to register and pay on-line through the website. Watch for the Mailchimp announcement in August.

Speaker Bios

Jamie Trammell                                                               

  1. Title: “Rogue Valley climatology in the future: implications for planning, fire, and food”
  • Description: What do the climate models suggest for the Rogue Valley in the future? More heat stress, less water? More rain, less snow? During this session, we will summarize what the latest models show for the Rogue Valley and how we can use this information to begin planning for the future today.
  • Short bio: Jamie Trammell is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Southern Oregon University. He is trained as a landscape ecologist and has been working on climate change models for nearly a decade. He specializes in visualizing climate and other drivers of ecosystems using maps and geospatial technology.


Jane Collier               

  • Title: “Intro to Berries”                                                                     
  • Description: This class will compare and contrast strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Topics include: longevity, space requirement, variety choices, expected time of harvest, quantity of harvest, cultural requirements (fertilizing, watering, pruning), and common pests and diseases.
  • Short Bio: Jane Collier became an OSU Master Gardener in Clackamas County is 1996. She has taught many classes for the award-winning 10-Minute University™ program. Jane gained extensive experience with growing blueberries, having operated a ‘U-Pick’ blueberry patch on her farm. Today, she and her husband grow and preserve a variety of fruits, berries, and vegetables on their five-acre farm.


Kora Mousseaux                                                                                                        

  • Title: “Stormwater Management and Conservation”
  • Description: Learn about stormwater management techniques and overall methods to increase water efficiency on your property. Participants will be given an overview on stormwater management, particularly rainwater harvest. Resources will be shared and participants should walk away from the presentation feeling better prepared to implement water conserving measures such as rainwater harvest on their property.
  • Short bio: Kora Mousseaux is the Community Water Resource Conservationist at Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District where she has worked since 2016. She provides technical and financial assistance to landowners and land managers in Jackson County. Kora focuses on stormwater runoff mitigation/low impact development, water-wise landscaping, and other water resource conservation projects.


Matt Young                                                                                           

  • Title: “All About Soil & and the Nutrients”
  • Description of presentation: The presentation will cover a wide range of important information about garden soils. A few of the topics in this presentation are: types of soil, the macro and micronutrients reported on soil analyses, the role of pH and buffer pH, how to raise nutrients using organic and synthetic fertilizers and how to read the various analyses on a soil test report.
  • Short bio: Matt Young is the agronomist for a California company that consults with farmers and ranchers on soil and water issues as well as offering soil tests for home gardeners. He has lived on a farm all his life where he discovered his aptitudes for machinery, crops, and animals. He has studied the science behind what grows and what makes it grow – anything that is between the water, how the water gets there and the soil. He has two BS degrees in Agriculture Sciences – Biology and Sustainability, as well as several certificates in irrigation technology, plant sciences and poultry science.


Andony Melathopoulos 

  • Title of presentation: “Take a walk on the wild side: The weird and wonderful world of Oregon’s native bees”
  • Description of presentation: Explore the buzzing world of bees with OSU professor Andony Melathopoulos from the comfort of your home. Learn about Oregon’s native bees and Andony’s research with the Oregon Bee Atlas. You will leave knowing how to identify some of the more common bee species and what to plant in your garden where you can study them more closely.
  • Short bio: Andony is an Assistant Professor in Pollinator Health Extension in the Department of Horticulture at Oregon State University. OSU’s work around pollinator health comes from mandates passed by the Oregon Legislature. He has four primary responsibilities: (1) training pesticide applicators on how to control pests while minimizing impacts to pollinators, (2) organizing a state-wide native bee survey (the Oregon Bee Atlas), (3) guiding residential beekeepers on how to prevent their honeybees from becoming a nuisance, and (4) hosting a weekly podcast on pollinator health (PolliNation). He also sits on the Steering Committee of the Oregon Bee Project, which coordinates pollinator health work across state agencies.

September in the Garden

By Beet 2021 09 September

I never realized how much water I used on my yard and garden until I had to haul it myself. Ordinarily, I use TID water, which is pumped to my property by our community
water district. In past years, I took

for granted that come early May, I could turn on the valve and an unlimited amount of irrigation water would be available 24 hours a day until late September or early October. I had an inground watering system installed in the front yard which is difficult to water any other way and laid miles of soaker hoses everywhere else.  The irrigation water was not metered, so I used what I needed without much thought as to how much that was. 

In mid-July, TID abruptly shut off the water for this year. What to do? Unlike those of you with city water, I am unable to use domestic water which comes from community wells that are not producing enough for normal use this year, due to the continuing drought. That leaves water delivery or haul-it-yourself. Since the water delivery services are over-subscribed this year, I had little choice but to make the trek out to the Medford Water Department and drop quarters in the meter. There is only so much gray water I can capture from showers and washing.

I must admit I was unprepared for the magnitude of the problem this water shortage would cause, despite the fact I knew it was coming. Mostly, I’m concerned about my trees, which are young and still getting established. So, I have become a member of the bucket brigade, hand watering my extensive landscape. 

More recently, I have added an electric ½ HP pump to distribute the water. I spent the past week hauling water using my neighbor’s truck and now I know it will take about 800-1,000 gallons of water per week to keep my trees, landscape plants and vegetable garden alive. That’s not to say they will thrive on that, and it is, I am chagrinned to say, much less than what I used in previous years. With the smoke, excessive heat, fire danger and lack of water this year, (I can’t believe I’m saying this…) winter cannot come soon enough!

But, I also know that this drought is not a one-time thing. It has actually been with us for many years, and we are now feeling the effects of long-term drought. According to NOAA, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, most of Oregon has been in a more or less severe drought for the past 20 years (at least), with only a few exceptional years of normal rainfall and snow pack. This summer, we have had the most severe, prolonged drought conditions of the past 20 years. I don’t have a crystal ball, but it probably doesn’t require one to see the future. 

While it is true that I need a more permanent, reliable source of summer water than TID, I also need to use less water. I am seriously considering how to “edit” my plantings to fit the conditions. This year I pared back my vegetable garden, but it, too, could use some further reduction. Although I am reluctant to eliminate roses, I do have 63, and well, I guess, maybe, possibly I could do without so many. I love them, but they really love water. Sigh… 

What gives me hope is that there are many lovely waterwise alternatives, including the natives in JCMGA’s own native plant nursery. Recently, I stopped at Chipotle in Medford and as I passed through the parking lot, the xeriscape caught my attention. They have some of the nicest grass landscape plantings I have seen. If you’re curious about how low-water grasses can be artfully used in a landscape, also check out the plantings around the new Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on Garfield Street in South Medford. 

Turning to September in the vegetable garden, this is the month to get your fall garden in the ground if you haven’t already. With the unusually hot summer, you may have delayed planting some vegetables. Hopefully, early September will bring some respite and enable you to get good germination from direct sowing leafy greens such as arugula, corn salad, garden cress, lettuce, kale, mustard and turnip greens and spinach. Use shade cloth overtop if temperatures are still high and keep the soil moist.  Lettuce requires light to germinate, so don’t cover seeds with more than a light dusting of soil. If you are going to plant a cover crop of fava beans, now until mid-October is the time to do it.

If you sowed seeds for transplanting, it’s time to get broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage and Pak Choi in the ground. Ditto for shallots, garlic, and onions (both to use as green onions and for harvesting next June or July).

Cooler weather is coming and eventually rain and snow. But how much? Probably not as much as we need. This fall and winter are the time to prepare for our “new normal” – hotter temperatures and less water. What changes will you need to make in your garden? Although the cities in the Rogue Valley have not yet rationed water, that could happen. Having lived in California for 42 years, I remember water rationing. Get ready. Be ready for next year by editing your garden and trying something new like xeriscaping, natives, ground covers in place of your lawn, and who knows what else. Doing nothing is probably not an option for most people. I’d like to hear what you decide to do. 

It’s a Brave New World

By Beet 2021 08 August 25 Comments

I don’t know how to interpret this summer’s weather other than to say climate change is not coming, it’s here! Since mid-June, the temperature has climbed to over 95°F every single day at my house. I’ve been without A/C since June 23, so I sympathize with my plants, which are wilting or burning up. The broccoli limped across the finish line in July, giving me one of the sparsest crops I have had in years, and so far, I have not seen any side shoots. I may as well pull it out. The peas had barely begun to produce when the vines turned to crispy critters. The poor carrots fainted and bolted in the heat. I quickly picked the lettuce and wrapped it in wet paper towels and put it in a Ziplock bags to preserve a small number of heads. Thanks to steady watering, my tomato plants are still green, but the flowers dry up without producing any signs of fruit. It’s just too hot for them to set. It is safe to say that the eggplants and the peppers are the only plants that are (relatively) happy and producing.

Although August is usually the month to direct seed many greens such arugula, collards, corn salad, Oriental greens, Swiss chard, cress, lettuce, endive, kale, kohlrabi, mustard and turnip greens, I can’t imagine how they will fare in the excessive heat once they germinate. You may want to wait to sow some of these delicate greens until late August or even early September when it often cools down substantially after Labor Day. Unfortunately, I won’t even get to try for a fall vegetable garden because TID water went off in mid-July for the season! If you are lucky to have garden irrigation the latter part of this summer into the fall, you can sow for later transplanting broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage and Pak Choi. You can also direct sow daikon radish, beets, peas, parsnips and rutabaga. If the hot weather persists, planting onions (as you usually can do for next year’s crop) would be a waste of seed as they do not geminate well in very hot weather.

If your beans are producing, be sure to pick them regularly so that they continue to produce. They may also need some fertilizer and more water to continue production. Fertilize vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, and cucumbers while they are in heavy production. If you planted corn, this is the month for your corn feast. Early in the month, give your corn another shot of fertilizer to get it across the finish line. You can also try hand pollinating for fuller ears. When the ears start to appear and the tassels are yellow-transparent, strip the tassels on top of the plant of their pollen and shake it onto each ear. Whenever I do this, I am pleased with the results.

August is usually when I start canning and preserving what my garden produces. Peaches usually ripen now and they can be frozen, dried or canned. For several years, I have been making what I call vegetable pasta sauce which is simply a medley of whatever vegetables are ripe at the time together with tomatoes. My very favorite canning recipe book is The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. I love their recipes! Every one I have tried has been perfect for me. 

We are in the brave new world of climate change. 

I would welcome your comments on how gardening is changing in the Rogue Valley and tips on how we can adapt to still produce the fruits and veggies we all love. I’ll include your tips in this column in the coming months.