Skip to main content

Beet 2023 05 May

Jackson County Master Gardeners Announcements – May 2023

By Beet 2023 05 May


JCMGA Photo Contest Reminder

  • We will be again having a Photo Contest for the front cover of the 2024 JCMGA Chapter Directory.


Spring Garden Fair

  • Saturday, May 6th from 9:00-3:00 p.m.
  • At SOREC Extension, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point
  • This year we are pleased to announce the return of many of our perennial vendors who have stood by us through the COVID years. Our Native plant nursery will be selling a variety of native plants, also there will be plants grown by our Student Volunteers including vegetable plants and herbs. Our

Propagation nursery will have a variety of ornamental plants available. (see flyer)


Pollinator Project Native Plant Sale

  • Sunday, May 7th from 10-3:00 p.m. (see flyer)
  • In the parking lot behind The Pollinator Place in Phoenix


Ashland Garden Club Plant Sale

  • Saturday, May 13, 2023
  • The sale will start at 9:00 a.m. in the Ashland Safeway parking lot.


SGF Plant After Sale

  • Saturday, May 13, 2023
  • 9:00-3:00 p.m. at the SOREC Extension (see article)
  • Plants 50% off – not including Native Plants


Medford Open Streets Event

  • Saturday, May 20 from Noon-4:00 p.m.
  • JCMGA will have a booth to pass out gardening information, Plant Clinic information, and JCMGA information.
  • We will be asking for volunteers to set up, work the booth, and take down. (see flyer)
  • Contact Barbara Low if you would like to volunteer



Beneficial Insects You Need to Know: Part 1

By Beet 2023 05 May

As a child, I had a pathological fear of any insects or spiders I encountered in the house.  I was fine with the giant garden spider that hung out in her orb web over my mother’s iris bed, but anything entering the home sent me into hysterical weeping and demands of action of my parental units to eliminate the perceived threat.  Fortunately, I have outgrown this phobia, and as an adult I even hate dispatching black widows and yellowjackets, although I do this if they pose a threat to my grandchildren.

How did this miraculous transformation come about?  Education.  The understanding of the importance of all life to well-functioning ecosystems has changed the way I view the world.

Unfortunately, many people still have that knee-jerk reaction that I had as a child to most invertebrates they see in their yards and homes.  And the response is to reach for the bottle of insect spray so easily found at every nursery and big box store or to call pest control.  This is a plea to everyone to please stop and consider the role these creatures play in nature’s functioning.  When you spray for one insect, you are killing all others in the vicinity, and thereby eliminating potential beneficial insects that might assist you in maintaining the health of your garden.

We are all familiar with ladybugs and praying mantids as good guys, but there are so many more. We will begin with the predators.  By way of introduction, here are a few examples:


Lacewings & Snakeflies

The larvae of both are voracious predators of aphids, whiteflies, leafhopper nymphs, scale, spider mites and more.  Look for lacewing eggs laid on stalks in your yard.




Our second most important pollinators are the flies.  Larvae eat garden pest species, while the adults are nectar feeders on small, shallow flowers in the Brassicaceae, Apiaceae, and Asteraceae families.




True bugs – Minute Pirate bug, Big-Eyed Bug and Damsel Bug

All eat a wide variety of pests, in all stages of their life cycle.  To attract these, plant marigolds, native goldenrod, native biscuitroot, native buckwheat, cosmos, or native yarrow.






Beetles:  Ladybug, Rove Beetle, Soldier Beetle, and Ground Beetle.




Ditch the sprays and encourage these hunting insects by providing rock and wood piles for habitat and leaving the leaves to over winter under your shrubs and trees.  Plant native bunch grasses, native ground covers and native perennial plants near these “beetle berms.”  They will reward you with a garden with far fewer pest species.  A yard in balance does not need poisons.

In the coming editions of the Garden Beet, I will talk about two remaining groups of beneficial insects: parasitoids and pollinators.

Garden for Life!

The President’s Corner — Why Does the Earth get Only One Day?

By Beet 2023 05 May

May Day! It’s finally here, the month of May, the turning point, an end to frost and snow (hopefully) and time to get those tomatoes, peppers and other tender veggies in the ground. As we all know that “Mother’s Day” signals the coast is clear! But is it? Recent weather in the last few years has changed those old predictors, making us stop and re-evaluate. Super cold springs, scorching hot summers, global warming is real, the Earth is telling us to wake up and time to take notice!

I was recently at a local Earth Day Celebration. Everyone there was concerned about the environment, the future of bees, and the importance of native plants in our home gardens. That made me contemplate why we only celebrate the Earth for ONE day! I remember the very first Earth Day in 1970! I was a senior in high school, and very involved in ecology and zero population control. My school had a big outdoor assembly and invited guest speaker Eddie Albert (you may remember him from Green Acres), who was an ecology activist. I belonged to the Ecology Club, and we went to UC Berkeley to attend the burying of a car! What enthusiasm I had at age 17! How naïve! I rode my bicycle to work and back, mostly out of necessity because my car blew up, and being a poor student, I certainly wasn’t leaving a big carbon footprint. Then the years went by, and life happened. Although I moved to Oregon where life was slower and more in tune with the land, my only contribution to the earth was limiting my use of paper towels and plastics. We recycled, we composted, I got the Rodale Press book of “Organic Gardening”, I even made bread (for a while). Then I turned into a consumer, I had two kids and all that came with them, disposable diapers (the real ones lasted one whole week!). Baby wipes, plastic bottles, binkies, and sippy cups. My gardening time was replaced with two jobs – my career as a full time X-Ray Tech and then as a single mother. Earth Day was no longer on my radar; I was in survival mode!

Fast forward to the 2000s – the kids were bigger; I had a new spouse to share the daily chores with and I had garden time again. That’s when I started paying attention to the weather, and things, well, they were a-changing! We had hailstorms in July that dented cars, a month-long freeze that broke pipes, late snows that intermixed with 80-degree days in March, shorter springs and longer, hotter summers with less frequent mid-summer rainfalls. Now people were starting to take notice, as every year major weather events of floods, forest fires, tornados, and hurricanes were in the news.

But why has it taken 50 years? Why didn’t we listen to the predictions, and WHY does the Earth only have one day a year to be commemorated? If you are like me, you try to do your part – we don’t litter, we recycle, go to Goodwill and other thrift stores to buy gently used rather than new if possible, and fix things that are broken instead of throwing away. My old mantra is the “new” three R’s – repair, recycle, repurpose! I also joined the Master Gardeners upon my retirement and that opened my eyes to native plants. I went from a deer in the headlights, “duh, what’s a native”, to being an advocate who tells everyone who will listen to plant them. I watch Dr. Tallamy’s videos and read his books. I want to help the baby birds have lots of yummy caterpillars to eat and have habitat for the wildlife!

We need to celebrate the Earth EVERYDAY! You can do it too, by contributing to agencies that save the whales, clean up ocean plastics or stop the rainforests from being burned, and by planting native plants in your home garden.  This planet is not just for us. Every living thing has a function and part in this amazingly complex design of ecosystems and food webs, and we as humans have successfully turned it upside down. We can’t wait another 50 years. It will be too late; we may be the last generations to know of how the Earth used to be.

JCMGA Spring Garden Fair

By Beet 2023 05 May

The 2023 Spring Garden Fair is going to be held at the extension on May 6th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Set up for the fair will be on Friday the 5th all day. We have approximately 20 paying vendors and 6 nonpaying vendors. Some examples of nonpaying vendors are SOREC, the Plant Clinic, and the Fire Department. Vendors will be in the auditorium, in the outer limits of the parking lot and in the arboretum. Our vendors are primarily plant vendors. Others are garden art, garden equipment, and garden furniture. There will also be live demonstrations in the small classroom. There will be an 11:00 am demonstration of worm composting and a 1:00 pm class on how to transplant your plants. Students from 4-H will hold on to plant purchases while shoppers enjoy the fair. Students will then assist in taking them to your vehicle, if needed. Donations are welcome.

The Practicum classes, Native Plant Nursery, and the Propagation Garden will sell their plants with much pride.

The fair is free to the public. This is a test run for the Master Gardener Association. We have great enthusiasm and confidence that we can make this event a success.


Come to the After Sale!

By Beet 2023 05 May

Did you miss the Spring Garden Fair on May 6th at Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center?

Were you out of town?

Did you go to the Expo by mistake, and get distracted by the Home Show?

Or did you attend SGF and just not get ALL the plants you needed?


If so, you are in great luck!  Jackson County Master Gardeners are having an



May 13th from 9 am to 3 pm

Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center


All vegetables, herbs, and annual flowers left over from SPRING GARDEN FAIR will be on sale for HALF PRICE.  Many native plants will be discounted as well.  Come on down and shop ’til you drop!

Medford Open Streets Event – May 20th

By Beet 2023 05 May


Medford Open Streets Event

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Noon – 4:00 p.m.


Medford Open Streets is a free community event leveraging the city’s largest public space – its streets – to walk, bike, roll, and discover active transportation while fostering civic pride, stimulating economic development, and showcasing the community diversity.

Open Streets is an international program that temporarily repurposes streets for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing, and socializing. With more than 130 documented initiatives in North America, open streets are increasingly common in cities seeking innovative ways to achieve environmental, social, economic, and public health goals.


  • JCMGA will have a booth to pass out gardening information, Plant Clinic information, transplanting demonstration, and JCMGA information.
  • We will be asking for volunteers to setup, man the booth, and take down.
    • Booth Set up will be 10:00 a.m. on May 20th
    • Volunteers working the booth will be from 11:30 – 4:00 p.m.
    • Booth Take Down will be 4:15 – 5:00 p.m.

Contact Barbara Low if you would like to volunteer


OSU Extension Service prohibits discrimination in all its programs, services, activities, and materials.  Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made 7 days prior to the event by calling the Extension office 541-776-7371.

Book Report – Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and The Teaching of Plants

By Beet 2023 05 May

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and The Teaching of Plants

By Robin Wall Kimmerer

Last July, at the OSU OMGA Joy of Gardening Conference, in Corvallis, OR the Program listed Dr. Samantha Chisolm Hatfield as one of the Keynote speakers with a presentation titled What is TEK? I had no idea. I had never heard of the term TEK. After listening to her for an hour, I not only understood what it meant but my soul soared to learn that this was a subject being taken seriously at the university level.

The definition of TEK is: Traditional Ecological Knowledge.  Once I leaned the definition, I instantly thought of the Three Sisters, a gardening method many non-Native Americans have learned, practiced, and passed down without acknowledging where the idea came from. My farming grandparents used this approach in Oklahoma when I was a child.

There was several veteran Master Gardeners at my table and after Dr. Hatfield’s talk, I asked where I could find more information like she had discussed? One of them mentioned Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

After reading the first chapter, I convinced my online book club to make this a selection that I would facilitate. Only 7 people attended that month, but our discussion went 30 minutes overtime.  That was the first time in my experience with this club that happened.  I ask how many in the class had heard of TEK. Only two of us had.

This is a book about indigenous wisdom and also the struggle to have non-Native Americans take seriously indigenous wisdom’s keen observations with intent to learn and understand. The book is poetic and scientific, and introduces us to Native American folk lore – all in one magical read. Each chapter leaves you with a lesson that we can incorporate in our own knowledge base, not only as Master Gardeners but as good stewards of the land and a citizen of this planet.

Our OSU 2023 class had to watch many online modules on growing vegetables.  There was one slide about the Three Sisters. That one slide is a beginning.  I look forward to many more methods to learn about and to “acknowledge” those ancient care takers for their contributions.

An engaging and delightful read, both beautifully written and scientific! WOW, what a combination.


  1. Kimmerer is a Professor of Botany and an enrolled Citizen of the Potawatomi Nation.
  2. There was an endorsement by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, who said, “she takes us on a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as scared as it is historical, as clever as it is wise.”
  3. Jane Goodall, author of Seeds of Hope states, “Robin Wall Kimmerer shows how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people. It is the way that she captures beauty that I love most – the images of giant cedars and wild strawberries, a forest in the rain and a meadow of fragrant sweetgrass will stay with you long after you have the last page.”

I agree with these two excellent authors completely.

May in the Garden

By Beet 2023 05 May

The weather is finally warming up!  The soil will get warmer, and we can successfully plant our vegetables – and for many of us ornamentals also.   

I am continuing this series of articles and hope that you find them helpful and inspiring. In May, there is quite a bit to do in the garden depending on what you want to grow.  Our gardens still need to be cared for so that they will do well, and we will have a plentiful harvest. By caring for our gardens, we are also caring for ourselves – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The Jackson County Master Gardener Association has a great resource for gardeners to use. It is the Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley – Year-Round & Month by Month.  This great reference book for gardeners is mainly about growing vegetables, berries, and melons.

May is the time to:

  • Plants which you can plant as seed outside (make sure to check the soil temperature)
o   Amaranth

o   Beans

o   Cantaloupe

o   Chervil

o   Cilantro

o   Cucumbers

o   Edamame Soy Beans

o   Lettuce

o   New Zealand Spinach

o   Parsley

o   Potatoes

o   Scallions

o   Summer Savory

o   Swiss Chard


o   Basil

o   Beets

o   Carrots

o   Chives

o   Corn

o   Dill

o   Leeks

o   Malabar Spinach

o   Okra

o   Parsnips

o   Pumpkin

o   Squash

o   Sunflowers

o   Watermelon

  • Plants to transplant this month (make sure to check the soil temperature)
o   Artichokes, Globe

o   Broccoli

o   Cabbage

o   Basil

o   Brussels sprouts

o   Cantaloupe

o   Cucumbers o   Eggplant
o   Leeks o   Oriental Greens
o   Pak Choi

o   Squash

o   Tomatoes

o   Rhubarb

o   Peppers

o   Sweet potatoes

o   Watermelons

o   Tomatoes


  • Control Pests and Diseases
    • Pea weevil
    • Root maggot fly
    • Powdery mildew on grapes


Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley – Year-Round & Month by Month. This book contains a wealth of gardening information. You can purchase it at our local Grange Co-op or at the OSU Extension office for $21.00. It can also be purchased on-line at  Note that a shipping fee will be applied.




Happy Gardening and Stay Warm

Garden For Life



Winter Dreams Summer Gardens 2023

By Beet 2023 05 May


~~~~~ Exciting News! ~~~~~

The Jackson County Master Gardener Association is back, virtually!


Dates: Fridays, October 27 and November 3 and

Saturdays, October 28 and November 4, 2023


Comfort of your own Home via Zoom

Dig into four days of virtual garden immersion seminars taught by 14 presenters, all designed to help you plan next year’s spectacular garden. 2023 Winter Dreams Summer Gardens Symposium is an ideal time to take stock while learning with experts about Gardening in Our Rogue Valley Climate.

Cost: $30. Pick your favorite topics or watch them all. Most sessions will be recorded and available for a limited time for paid participants.


Make it a family reunion & invite friends, family

and all your known far flung Gardening Enthusiasts!


Stay tuned — Details to follow



OSU Extension Service prohibits discrimination in all its programs, services, activities, and materials.  Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made 7 days prior to the event by calling the Extension office 541-776-7371.

Coordinator’s Column

By Beet 2023 05 May

Hello Gardeners,

It’s the time of year that spring ephemerals are popping up! What is a spring ephemeral? Merriam-Webster’s definition of an ephemeral is “something that lasts for a very short time.” These plants pop up in spring, bloom, and then die back and disappear in the summer heat. The root structures stay alive to repeat this rapid growth and short bloom the following spring. Spring ephemerals are common in deciduous forests due to the abundance of light prior to when trees leaf out in late spring.

On April 15th I took a hike up to the Lower Table Rocks to see the beginnings of these blooms. There is an informative sign at the entrance to the hike with photos, common names, and scientific names of the spring blooms found around the plateau. I saw an abundance of western buttercups, Henderson’s fawn-lilies, and whiteleaf manzanitas in bloom. The shooting stars and hound’s tongue were just getting started. I could see the leaves of many more ephemerals developing, but they didn’t yet have flower stalks. It will be worth a second visit at the end of April to see the later blooming ephemerals.