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Beet 2023 10 October

The President’s Corner October – the Harvest Month

By Beet 2023 10 October





October. My favorite month, but then again, I’m biased. I belong to those who are October-born, and “Libra” all the way through. Known as the tenth month of the year and the second month of autumn, October was the eighth month in the Roman calendar – hence “octo”, the Latin word for eight. When they converted to the twelve-month calendar, several Roman emperors tried to change the name, but it stuck when it entered into old French and then into old English.

When you think of October, it signifies everything autumnal. The weather is cooler at night, leaves are turning colors, and the long summer of working in the gardens is rewarded with bountiful harvests to put up for the long winter.

October has many days of observance too. There’s the Hunter’s Moon, the full moon closely tied to the autumnal equinox and folklore. There is Lief Eriksson Day, Columbus Day, and Indigenous People Day (an oxymoron having them in the same month, don’t you think?). International Ships in a Bottle Day, National Fossil Day, Word Origami Day, and Frankenstein Friday! And let’s not forget the original Friday the 13th, in October this year. That’s the day in 1307 when French King Philip IV, owing a large debt to the Knights Templar, ordered their arrest and burning at the stake. When their leader Sir Jacques De Moray was burning, he cursed the King and Pope Clement V that they would both meet their death before the end of the year. Both men did meet their demise shortly after, contributing to the clout of the lore about Friday the 13th.

Of course, how could we leave out the most popular day in October – Halloween? Also known as “All Hollows Eve”, the day before the Catholic holiday of “All Saints Day”. As “hollows” means saintly or holy, the name evolved into Halloween. There are many customs and practices of Halloween. The Irish used to hollow out turnips for candles and carve faces of demons on them. Placing it by your front door kept the evil spirits away. When immigrants came to America, there were no turnips, so they used the bountiful native pumpkins to carve. Corn husk dolls and shrunken carved apple heads were traditions taken from the Native Americans. There is also the ancient celebration of “Samhain”, a sacred Celtic and Druid festival honoring the harvest, the end of the year and when the spirits can cross over while the moon’s veil is at its thinnest.

All in all, October is a fun month! It embraces celebrating the end of the growing season before the earth goes into its winter sleep. This year the JCMGA is celebrating the wonderful year we have had by having a “Fall Festival”! It will be a small one-day event with native plant sales, several vendors, fall and holiday décor, dried flower bouquets, lavender from our demo garden, hanging glass garden mosaics, and a petting zoo with the “3 Amigos” – goats from Sanctuary One! So come on out on October 14th from 9am-2pm at the Extension and help us celebrate! Happy October!

Coordinator’s Column

By Beet 2023 10 October

Hello Gardeners,

As October begins, we approach the end of the Master Gardener volunteering year. I have had a great year getting to know our perennial Master Gardeners and experiencing the program for the first time with our new Master Gardener students. We had a great crew of students, many of whom will graduate on November 4th and continue on to be lasting volunteers in the Master Gardener Program. Thank you everyone for all your hard work in making this year successful and providing feedback and ideas to make next year even better!

Remember to record your volunteer hours!

Recording volunteer hours is important for every Master Gardener no matter how many or few hours you volunteered this year. Program Coordinators (like me!) track our numbers in our yearly reports to show our counties how awesome our volunteers are and all the amazing things you accomplish. The deadline for reporting hours is the end of October. The sooner you get those in the better!

OSU uses an online website to report volunteer hours called the Volunteer Reporting System. (Website Link: This makes it easier to keep track of everyone’s hours to see who will remain certified to teach next year and which students have completed their hours for graduation. Here are helpful videos on how to use the VRS. (Videos:

Students need a total of 45 volunteer hours to graduate and become certified to teach others. Perennial Master Gardeners need 20 volunteer hours and 10 continuing education hours to remain or become certified to teach. Teaching can range from being a Plant Clinic Mentor educating the community on their plant problems; being a Seed to Supper instructor educating the community on veggie gardening on a budget; or a GEM leading Master Gardeners and students in the Demonstration Gardens, giving presentations to garden clubs through the Speakers Bureau, and much more!

It is not too late to complete your 2023 graduation or recertification hours!

Please reach out to me at so I can help you find ways to reach your goals!


Enjoy the cool fall weather,

Grace Florjancic

Saving the Best for Last?

By Beet 2023 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 which will be the best presentation? They all sound exciting to me! Join us on October 27-28 and November 3-4 for Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens. Sixteen 1½-hour lectures with Q&A on timely and relevant gardening topics will be presented.

Be sure to register at The registration cost is only $30.00 for all 14 lectures; a little more than $2.00 per lecture. Now, that’s a bargain you can’t turn down! The zoom link will be sent to you the day before each symposium day and will be the same link for each class that day.


Max Bennett

  • Title of presentation: Trees on the Edge: Forests and Climate Change in Southern Oregon
  • Description of presentation: How are the forests of Southern Oregon coping with a warming climate? Which species and ecosystems are most at risk?  How can we help local forests better adapt to the climate change, now and in the future? This presentation will review these and related questions while providing practical, “climate smart” guidance on native tree care for landowners and homeowners.
  • Short bio: Max Bennett is a recently retired Extension Forester for Oregon State University. He spent 24 years advising forest landowners and managers on tree and forest health, wildfire mitigation, and small woodland management. He enjoys hiking and cycling the trails and backroads of s Southern Oregon.


Govinda Shrestha

  • Title of presentation: What You Can Do to Identify and Manage Insect Pests in Your Garden
  • Description of presentation: Gardening is an area where we would like to see no or minimal insecticide use. Govinda will share his knowledge on what integrated pest management methods (such as identification, pest monitoring, cultural control, biological control and biological insecticides) can be used to manage harmful pests in your garden.


  • Short bio: Govinda Shrestha is an Assistant Professor (Practice) and Hemp Extension Specialist at Oregon State University. As an applied entomologist, Govinda has over ten years’ working experience in crop insect pest management. He is very passionate about gardening. Govinda sees gardening as a natural therapy center, improving mental health and family and societal bonding.



Neil Bell 

  • Title of presentation: Avoiding the Green Meatball: How and When to Prune Flowering Shrubs
  • Description of presentation: Often what passes for pruning in many landscapes is annual shearing of the plant into some sort of geometric shape; the sphere (or meatball) being the most popular. Besides being wretched and mindless horticulture, this practice often is more work than pruning to the natural habit of the plant. It also eliminates from the landscape the texture and form, and often flowers, that plants of different architectures contribute. This class will cover identification of growth habit and flowering of shrubs so that the array of plants in your garden can be pruned the right way at the right time.


  • Short bio: Neil is retired from the OSU Extension Service, where he was the Community Horticulturist and oversaw the Master Gardener program in Marion and Polk Counties from 2000 to 2021. His efforts with curriculum development for the Master Gardener program were presentations and written materials on pruning of ornamental plants and diagnosis of plant problems, among other topics. Since 2021, he has been employed one day per week by Extension to assist with a multi-year evaluation of 118 olive cultivars at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora.


Maud Powell

  • Title of Presentation: Identifying and Managing Weeds in Your Garden
  • Description of Presentation: Understanding weeds is the key to controlling them, whether in a garden, farm or elsewhere. Controlling weeds can save you time and money and make room for the plants you want to grow and thrive. This class will introduce you to what weeds are, how to identify them, and how to manage them.


  • Short Bio: Maud Powell has worked in the OSU Extension Small Farms program for seventeen years. Additionally, she and her husband own and operate Wolf Gulch Farm, a small, diversified vegetable and seed farm in the Little Applegate Valley. She is passionate about reinvigorating rural communities by strengthening local economies and increasing food and fiber production.



New Opportunity — JCMGA Friends of the Gardens

By Beet 2023 10 October

The Community Outreach Working Group and the Member Services Working Group are planning something new – a Friends of the Gardens Program. The JCMGA Board has approved the program to begin in April, 2024.

Friends of the Gardens participants will be non-MG volunteers who are interested in gardening but not interested in becoming a Master Gardener.  The details are still being worked out and we will provide updates in March. We anticipate that participants may want to work in a specific garden because of individual interests. They would also have the opportunity to move around to other gardens at a later date as long as the GEMs involved agree.

Friends of the Gardens participants would work on Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. with GEMs. Participants could start the first week of April and end the last week of November.

This is a great opportunity which will benefit the individuals involved as well as JCMGA. It is a great program to help support our community!

Make sure to let your friends know!!

Fall is the Best Time to Plant Native Plants!

By Beet 2023 10 October

While most gardeners think of planting new garden plants in spring when the weather warms, the very best time to plant those native plants you’ve been meaning to put in is fall.  Autumn planting of natives has many benefits for the gardener, the plants and the soil. Our native plant nursery at Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center has many beautiful native grasses, perennials, shrubs and trees for you to plant in late October for establishment over the winter months. And as an added bonus, we will be selling them on Saturday, October 14th from 9 am to 2 pm. Yes, this is shameless self-promotion, but we want EVERYONE to plant a native this fall!


Plants that go into the ground in mid-to-late fall have an advantage over those planted in spring.  Because native plants use the first several months in the ground growing their root systems, they can take advantage of the soil warmth, even after air temperatures drop to the point that top growth becomes dormant. It may look like nothing is happening, but those roots are growing and moving down in the soil, making associations with the mycelial organisms that will help them grow faster in the spring, and helping to infiltrate the rain that falls on your property. When planted in the spring, native plants will often appear to not be growing at all, as they race to get their roots established. By taking advantage of fall planting, and cool season root growth, you can see faster growth in spring of the above ground vegetation.


Of course, benefits to the gardener include not having to water through dry hot seasons while the plant establishes itself. Native plants require less water and pruning maintenance in comparison to non-natives, but like any young plant, if planted in spring they will require more watering to ensure survival. Fall planting just makes sense to keep both the plant and the gardener from stressing!


Benefits to the soil abound as well. As long as the plant can photosynthesize – that is, build carbon body parts using sunlight and carbon dioxide through above-ground vegetation – that carbon is being absorbed out of the air and into the root systems. Carbon in the form of root tissue can stay in the soil for hundreds to thousands of years. Think of our native prairie soils, made rich and black by millennia of native bunchgrass roots. The exact same thing happens in your garden when you plant our deep-rooted native plants. Soil organisms that evolved with western native plants abound where natives grow, and add to the richness of the soil ecosystem.


Plant some native plants in your yard this fall and you will see the ecosystem benefits: healthier soil, more abundant and diverse wildlife, more pollinators and butterflies, more breeding birds, better water retention and less need to irrigate.



The Glass Garden Art Class Was a Bloomin’ Success!

By Beet 2023 10 October







Fifteen or so gardeners piled in to Greenhouse 2 on Friday, Sept 15th, armed with bits of vintage glass plates, bowls, glass blobs of all descriptions, old jewelry, tiny tiles and rocks, beads, stained glass, and a whole lot of creative spirit.

As morning proceeded, the glass garden art took shape. Gluing glass to glass is easy and satisfying. Everyone’s projects were so different. So much creativity! So many pretty pieces!

This event blossomed because visitors and Master Gardeners admired the pieces of glass garden art that were created by members of the Garden Enhancement Committee (GEC) and which now decorate some of the Demonstration Gardens.

The GEC took on this activity as an opportunity for fun and comradery and with the goal of creating a number of pieces to be sold at the Fall Festival on October 14th to help with fund-raising.

By the end of the morning, gardeners were already expressing their desire to have another session. Let’s see what the future holds!

Plant a Row Opportunity Update

By Beet 2023 10 October

  • We had a great first year!

  • 727 pounds of produce were collected!
  • A BIG thank you to everyone who contributed produce!
  • 55% of the produce collected was from our JCMGA Vegetable Demonstration Garden. The garden’s GEM is Seán Cawley.  Thank you to Seán and his team for their hard work in the Vegetable Garden!
  • All collected produce was donated to the Access Community Action Agency of Jackson County. Access distributed the produce to help feed others in our community.
  • A Big Thank You to Grace Florjancic for setting up the collection area at the Gathering Garden each Wednesday and for coordinating with Access to have the produce picked up from the SOREC Extension!
  • Plant a Row provided a great opportunity for us to help others who need a little extra help to feed their families.

Gardening in the Fall

By Beet 2023 10 October

The Vegetable Demonstration Garden was planned to demonstrate companion planting, harvesting healthy and delicious food and sharing with ACCESS. For the past month or so the garden has been a source of great abundance. Over 300 pounds of produce has been harvested and donated to ACCESS so far this year from the garden.

Today you can walk through the verdant forests of tomatoes, tomatillos and sunchokes or gingerly step around buttery colored butternut squash, blue bachelor buttons and a kaleidoscopic of colorful nasturtiums, yellow and white yarrow, red and golden raspberries and much more. Not all of the plants were planted for culinary use and human consumption. Some were planted for their medicinal herbal qualities or to attract and/or repel various insects. Some plants are growing as cover crops to protect and nurture the soil of the various beds. Plants were chosen as companion plants to grow in harmony, reduce infestation, enhance soil and for many other purposes.

Now that the days are getting shorter and the nights are cooler, consider putting the garden to bed for the winter months. Commune with nature in the garden and think about different actions you can take to improve the garden over the winter. By spending time in your garden, you can learn to watch and observe before you make a move. You will notice that nature is way more willing to help than cause trouble. And, you may find ways that are less labor-intensive and built upon Nature’s processes. Then take your ideas and prepare for the winter.


The soil is the most important aspect of a healthy garden. Although the garden may seem inactive and dormant over winter, there are many actions to take to ensure the soil will be ready come spring for seeding and planting. For example:

  • Should you sow a cover crop?
  • Chop down the dying vegetable plants and cover with a tarp? (AKA “chop n drop.”)
  • Maybe cover with a thick layer of straw?

Maybe try all of these based on what will go into the garden next spring.

But it all starts with the soil. A healthy garden is balanced and biodiverse. If you have happy microbes in your soil, you have happy plant roots that can fight off pests and diseases and uptake more nutrients.

Every plant, every insect and every four-legged critter has a purpose. Look for the balance.

Your garden is as healthy and diverse as you wish to create it in harmony with nature. Your garden harvests sunshine, combines it with water and nutrients, and creates carbohydrates which it shares with multiple microbes and mycorrhizal fungi in the soil. In return the mycorrhiza share micronutrients with the surrounding plants’ roots.


“Mycorrhizal symbiosis enables the fungi to forage for mineral nutrients

in the soil and deliver them to the trees in exchange for carbohydrates.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, Chapter: The Council of Pecans.

“Plants know how to make food and medicine from

light and water, and then they give it away.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, Chapter: Skywoman Falling.


In the fall as you remove the summer tomatoes and squash, be sure to leave the roots, water the beds and cover them to keep out the light. The microbes in the soil will over-winter well and will be ready for next spring when you return to plant. Come spring, you can remove what is left of the various roots of the plants. Leaving the roots over winter provides food and aeration for the soil biota. If your beds are raised you may wish to add amendments like calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) in preparation for next year’s tomatoes. If you have cover crops on some of the beds, maybe just chop n’ drop the cover crop, water and tarp for the winter. Next spring when you remove the cover you will see almost nothing is left of your chopped cover crop. It fed the soil critters.


Speaking of cover crops: What kind? And when to sow? These are great questions and the answer depends upon your plans for next year. The Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley has some tips. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) has great resources as well as Green Cover, a commercial cover crop company.

Now is the time think about how to prepare your garden for next spring.

  • Think of the soil.
  • Think about the types of covers.
  • Think about the microbes.
  • Think about balance and go out into your garden and sit and listen to nature.


Happy Autumn Equinox to everyone.


October in the Garden

By Beet 2023 10 October

I am continuing this series of articles and hope that you find them helpful and inspiring. In October, there is quite a bit to do in the garden depending on what you want to grow.  Most of our produce has been harvested and we are getting our vegetable beds ready for winter. 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.

October is the time to:

  • Check temperature forecasts and cover frost-sensitive plants when needed.
  • Put mulch around perennials and over-wintering crops.
  • Later in the month, cut globe artichokes back to 6” and mulch.
  • Jerusalem artichokes have tubers which should be ready to dig as needed.
  • Cut perennial herbs back to about half their height before winter.
  • Horseradish should be ready to dig. Harvest all roots, if possible.
  • Prepare garden tools for winter storage.


  • Direct Seed
o   Fava Beans
  • Transplant
o   Garlic cloves o   Shallot bulbs



  • Control Pests and Diseases
    • Use copper sprays on cane berries – if leaf and cane spot fungus have been a problem.



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

Garden For Life