Skip to main content

Beet 2023 10 October

SOREC Plant Clinic – Plant Mystery Central

By Beet 2023 10 October

The Plant Clinic is one of the first volunteer efforts offered by the Oregon Master Gardeners. While OSU Extension researchers help the state’s commercial growers, the Master Gardener volunteers help our home growers. The Jackson County Master Gardener Association was formed in 1982 as a chapter of the OSU Master Gardener™ Program. The SOREC Plant Clinic began soon after and has grown and expanded from its humble beginnings.

Plant Clinic Mentor Liz Koester started her time as a Master Gardener before the Extension office made its home on Hanley Road. The old location had a very small Plant Clinic, only about a third of the size as our current Plant Clinic! When Liz was a student, there were only a couple active Plant Clinic Mentors. Now we have a dozen SOREC Plant Clinic Mentors and there will soon be more from our graduating 2023 class. Our office has seen many changes over the years to help our fabulous plant detectives solve the mysteries of Jackson County gardens.

Not all those changes have been great. From 2020 to 2022, the SOREC Plant Clinic went 100% virtual. Anyone who has had a friend or family member give vague descriptions or blurry photos of plants knows how difficult it is to solve plant problems without samples of the plant in hand. Our Plant Clinic Mentors made the best of a bad situation to help our community’s gardeners with their plant questions with phone calls and emails.

The SOREC Plant Clinic is happy to be back in person this year. Prior to 2020, the SOREC Plant Clinic answered over 2,000 questions from home gardeners each year. This year we are getting back into the swing of things and have answered 996 plant and insect questions from January through July. In addition to helping a larger number of people in the county, being back in person brings forth the best parts of volunteering in the Plant Clinic.

I asked a few Plant Clinic Mentors why they love working in the Plant Clinic so much. The most common answers were that you are always learning something new in the Plant Clinic and it is a great way to interact directly with our community. The satisfaction of solving a mystery through the gripping (and sometimes irritating) hunt for illusive answers keeps Mentors coming back. It is also a great way for Master Gardeners to get to know a wide range of other members and build some teamwork when tracking down clues. Students have said they are intimidated by the Plant Clinic when they first start but learn so much from our Plant Clinic Mentors.

Do you want to be a Plant Clinic Mentor?

Come to our interest meeting on Thursday October 19th at 2:00pm in the SOREC Auditorium. Snacks and tea will be served!


  • Certified Master Gardener
  • Winter Plant Clinic volunteer hours
  • Plant Clinic focused trainings

We hope to see you in the Plant Clinic next year!

What Is Going On in the Herb Demo Garden?

By Beet 2023 10 October

By Colet Allen and Herb Garden Team

At the end of 2023 Practicum, Jory Kaplan and I became Co-GEMs of the Herb Demo Garden to rescue it from its sad state of overgrowth with oregano. We had others who wanted to join us, so a team was built. Shirley Wentworth, the previous Herb Garden GEM, generously helped us with identification of what was left after the oregano invasion, even though she was struggling with a major shoulder issue. She gave us her notebooks and lots of historical information on the garden. She still comes occasionally to check on our progress and we are grateful for each visit.

There is a big rose bush in the middle of the garden and the team discussed its future. Due to limited space, our plan was to remove it eventually. Joanne Mitani researched with her Rosarian friends and let us know this should be a keeper. It is a Black Cherry rose from Jackson & Perkins, patented in 2006. There is a 20-year patent on it, so we have until 2026 before that patent expires and we can propagate the rose. It is not a climber and should only be about 3’ tall. We are pruning it back to its expected size and will determine what to do with it next year. Thanks, Joanne, for the research and education on this beautiful and happy thriving rose.

Our concepts and guiding ideas are:

  • To consider labor and aging backs by making the garden as maintenance free as possible.
  • To make it truly a demonstration garden, show several different gardening techniques that will support growing herbs. The various ideas were barrels, a rock garden, a terraced container area, raised beds, and inground planting for larger and taller plants. It was not our goal to make a traditional Herb Garden but something providing more educational opportunities.
  • To incorporate art into the garden. We hope our efforts will be a positive visual addition to the Entry Garden for the front of SOREC.
  • To base the refurbishing effort on team decisions and collaborative work.
  • To bring in friends and relatives who want to work in the garden to join us.

We have been able to address our main ideas and goals. So far, we have received a donation of four wine barrels that we are preparing for Cultural Kitchen Gardens – Mexican, Indian/Middle Eastern/African, indigenous (potentially) and teas. Over time we may rotate the plants in the barrels as we discover different cultural herbs that will grow in our region.

We may use metal stock watering tanks rather than building raised beds. We received an offer of a donation of two tanks that we felt would accommodate our needs. We will paint and decorate these tanks and make them more appealing to the eye.

The container terraced area will be addressed later in the year, and we have a donation for materials and the potential for an individual to help construct that phase of the project.

Finally, Grace connected us with a Community Collaborative Citizen Science group called Oregon Season Tracker.  She has installed a sanctioned rain gauge in the Herb Garden and will be monitoring and reporting the information gathered. This puts us on the map with a nation-wide effort. There are other Citizen Science projects and, for some of them, Master Gardeners can earn hours with these organizations. If you are interested talk to Grace.

Rain gauge on the right.

We are developing a list of seeds to grow next spring. We will be looking for donations if you have some available. The babies that we captured from the original herb garden and the Practicum donations were placed in the nursery and have mostly done very well. Now that the weather is cooler and rains are in our future, we transferred those to the garden and they will be transplanted in their permanent locations in the next few weeks.

In addition to our two-legged friends, we are delighted to see pollinators, frogs and small black lizards enjoying the garden.

We are grateful (Thank YOU) for those who have volunteered and hope that their experiences inspire others to give us a try.

Specifically, thanks to everyone who worked to get the donation of the wine barrels, especially Nicole, Brian, Marie, Monette, Mark Hoffmeister and Padigan’s Winery. Mark and Monette also prepared the barrels so that they could be used for planting. It takes a village. Also, the stock tanks to be used as raised beds were donated my Jory Kaplan and Marie Carbone. These donations are greatly appreciated and have put us ahead of our expected refurbishing time schedule. The major items remaining will be plants and seeds.

I have also been told that there is a large pile of rocks on site under the cherry tree. Now I must locate that cherry tree. It will be a lot easier to pick them up in wheelbarrows on site and wheel them to our garden. The Rock Garden will be our fall and winter project and will hopefully be ready for planting next spring.



Wednesdays in the Gathering Place

By Beet 2023 10 October

I want to give a huge shout out to all the Garden Education Mentors (GEMs) and student Master Gardeners who attended the Wednesday Demo Garden workdays this season! We have had a steady turnout every week. There were only two Wednesdays that were called off due to excessive heat and/or smoke. The students were exceptional. They came out to work and in return got to know each other and the GEMs. In two gardens, the students took the lead while their GEMs were on vacation or out of commission. Many of the students continued coming, long after they fulfilled their volunteer hours obligation, much to the delight of the gardeners.

When the cow bell rings, it’s time for us to head to the Gathering Place each week. We take a break under the shade of the beautiful old oak tree, as hummingbirds and bees buzz throughout the flowering beds and we recharge ourselves with yummy snacks. Fruit, cakes, chips, cheese and meat trays, biscotti and cookies were some of our favorite delights, along with dispensers of ice water and lemonade or iced tea.

This is a vital part of the Demo Gardens because it is where we meet each other, “talk story” about gardens and share quality time with each other while taking a breather in our grubby work clothes. But alas, the season is ending as September comes to a close. I would like to thank the many GEMs for contributing to our weekly snacks. It was fun to see what was served. I believe the grand prize for imagination goes to Marsha Waite, with her ladybugs on leaves! So, so cute and delicious. THANK YOU, Marsha, for the time you spent making them.

Next year, hopefully there will be an apprentice coordinator who will lead this weekly event. With or without an apprentice coordinator, it will carry on. That’s just how we roll (or dig) out there in the gardens!

Jackson County Master Gardener Association Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

By Beet 2023 10 October

Jackson County Master Gardener Association

Board of Directors Meeting


August 11, 2023

The Board of Directors meeting was called to order by Zoom at 9:27 a.m. with President

Marcie Katz presiding.

Board Members Present: Marcie Katz, Barbara Low, Jane Moyer, Sean Cawley, Keltie Nelson, Kathy Apple, Colet Allen, Dee Copley, Trina Stout, Lucy Pylkki, Rob McWhorter, Marcia Harris, Ronnie Budge, Sandy Hammond, Janine Salvatti, Grace Florjancic

Absent: Regula Pepi, Margaret Saydah, Pam Hillers, Cassandra Toews,

Guests: Sherri Morgan

Consent Agenda:  Ronnie Budge asked two questions about the picnic plans as described in the Member Services WG Report.  “Offers and Needs” is an icebreaker where everyone tells three things they need, then three things they have to offer.  The Arboretum was mistakenly labeled the pavilion.  Ronnie Budge moved and Colet Allen seconded the Consent Agenda be approved.  Unanimous approval.


Additions to the Agenda: The blue barrels were deleted from the agenda to enable the board

to follow Policy 1.8.

Approval of Agenda: Kathy Apple moved to have the agenda approved as amended.  Ronnie

Budge seconded.  Motion passed.

Approval of Minutes: Keltie Nelson pointed out four board members were listed as both present and absent in the July minutes.   Keltie Nelson moved and Ronnie Budge seconded the July board meeting minutes be approved as corrected.  Unanimous approval.



  1. Barbara Low reported to date 57 people had signed up for the picnic on August 19.

Sandy Hammond will run the 50/50 raffle.  Colet Allen is arranging for the groceries.

  1. The Nominating Committee will be chaired by Barbara Low. A Mail Chimp will be sent

out asking for more members.

  1. Barbara Low announced the 2024 graduation will be held at 5:30 on November 4.

Both students and perennial Master Gardeners need to report their hours online

(VRS) or turn a paper version into Grace.

  1. Janine Salvatti reported a workshop will be held September 15 for making glass

mosaic garden art.  It will be open to Master Gardeners and the public.  Participants

can find the supply list in the August Garden Beet.

  1. Janine Salvatti announced Art in the Gardens will be held 9:00-12:00 August 26.

Artists are invited to make “plein air” art in the demonstration gardens.  The only

request is that artists include “JCMGA” in their art piece.

  1. Sandy Hammond reminded board members the Fall Festival will be held October 14.

Setup will be Friday, October 13.  Plant sale booths will be located in the parking lot.

All other sales will be in the auditorium, including holiday items.


Coordinator’s Report:  MG Coordinator Grace Florjancic reported

  1. Danielle Knueppel, MG Coordinator and Small Farms Coordinator for Josephine Co.

has resigned effective August 31.  A replacement will be advertised for.

  1. interpretive signage for the gardens is being edited and will be ready for installation

in the spring.

  1. Talk to Grace if you are interested in a citizen scientist project involving rain gauges.
  2. One-hundred fifty-five pounds of produce have been collected for ACCESS to date.

Bring extra produce to the Gathering Garden 9:00-10:30 on Wednesday mornings.

Discussion items:

  1. Barbara Low announced the dates for the 2023 Winter Dreams Summer Gardens

Symposium have been set for October 27, 28, November 3, and 4 (14 sessions).  All

speakers for the 2023 WDSG have been arranged plus one for 2024.  Registration will

open on the JCMGA website on Monday, August 14.  The 2024 dates will be October

18, 19, 25, and 26 (16 sessions).

  1. The Southern Oregon Home Shows will be held in Josephine Co. February 16, 17, 18

and in Jackson County May 3, 4, 5 (the same weekend as Spring Garden Fair).  The

Community Outreach Working Group will be in charge of JCMGA involvement.  It is

thought there may be some MG’s who are unable to physically help with SGF who

might agree to doing a shift at the May Home Show.

  1. A Community Outreach Working Group committee made up of Ronnie Budge, Colet

Allen, Trina Stout, and Romina Klayman will determine how to proceed with Spanish

translation of MG written materials.

  1. Jane Moyer asked about reaching out to the Josephine Co. Master Gardener

Association to start investigating the possibility of having a two-county association

similar to the Tri-County Master Gardener Association in the Portland area.  It was

decided it might be premature.  OMGA Representative Kathy Apple was asked to find

out information about how they formed and how they function, though.

  1. Jane Moyer also suggested it might be a good idea to have a representative at the

Jackson Co. Commissioners meetings.  Master Gardener Coordinator Grace Florjancic

will ask Extension Manager Heidi Gehman and SOREC Director Alec Levin if it would

be appropriate.  The next meeting is 9:30 a.m. Friday August 16.  Barbara Low offered

to attend.

  1. Master Gardener Sherri Morgan, representative to the SOREC Advisory Council

reported the next meeting will be Thursday, August 17.  She will report on it at the

September board meeting.  Topics of interest to the board include ADA requirements,

solar panels, timeline for the Creepy Old House, painting a mural on the front of the

COH, regular mowing of the front yard of the COH.

  1. Keltie Nelson reported JCMGA has outgrown the capacity for having a free Mail

Chimp account.  Upgrading would cost $20/month with a 50% nonprofit discount.  No

vote was needed because the budget already has funds available.  Keltie also reported

all students are receiving Mail Chimps.

  1. The topic of including financial information in The Garden Beet was continued from

the July meeting.  It was decided that pie charts will be developed to show by

percentages where JCMGA’s funding comes from and how it is spent rather than

showing actual amounts.

  1. Janine Salvatti asked board members to save large pieces of cardboard for the

Gardens Enhancement Committee to use as weed barrier.

Motion Items:  Jane Moyer received bids from Travis Curtis Construction for concrete pathways around and in the Lavender Garden.  The original bid covered a 42″ pathway between the Vineyard and the Lavender Garden with a small section going into the Lavender Garden and a landing pad in front of the garden.  The estimate is $9480.  After discussions with Alec Levin, a second bid for a pathway through the garden was requested and received for $3250 with half the amount over $10,000 to be paid by JCMGA and half to be paid by SOREC ($1365 each).  On behalf of the Fundraising Working Group, Jane Moyer moved the board approve the amount of $1365 for JCMGA’s share of the amount to be paid over $10,000.  Unanimous approval. Jane will be meeting with Alec Levin and Travis Curtis to obtain a copy of the plan along with a contract.

MEETING ADJOURNED: President Marcie Katz adjourned the meeting at 11:33.

NEXT MEETING: Board Meeting (Hybrid) Friday, September 8, 2023, 9:00 chit-chat, 9:30 meeting             

Submitted by Jane Moyer, Recording Secretary






I Love This Tomato Because…

By Beet 2023 10 October

Do you have a favorite tomato variety that you grow every year? Or have you recently discovered a new favorite? We are looking for personal recommendations from local gardeners to include with our tomato ‘varietal information’ signage for the Spring Garden Fair 2024. I realize this may seem early, but right now those tomato qualities that you love are fresh in your mind, and fresh in your garden!

Your recommendation should have the specific tomato variety name and describe the qualities that you value the most (taste, appearance, vigor, size, etc.). You could also include how long you’ve grown it, how you use it (fresh, slicer, paste, salsa, etc.), and any other aspects that you think are important.

Please email your glowing recommendation of 100 words or less, in Word or Rich Text format, to Barbara Low at <> and include your name as you’d like it to be listed in our signage.


JCMGA 1st Annual Fall Festival

By Beet 2023 10 October

The 1st annual Fall Festival is set for October 14th

at the SOREC Extension, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point.

This will be a 1-day event.

The hours are 9:00am to 2:00pm.

  • A fun day was had by all on September 15th making glass garden art. Some volunteers made their art project to keep, and some made garden art to sell at the Fall Festival.
  • There will be 6 outside vendors along with our wonderful Native Garden nursery.
  • The event will be outside and in Greenhouse #2.
  • We will even have Sanctuary One bringing their goats for petting and viewing.
  • There will be holiday items such as wreaths and decorations along with garden art.


Cookies and beverages will be provided for free.


Thanks to Jane Moyer there will also be beautiful Christmas cacti for sale.


Parking will be in the parking lot only so carpooling is a good idea.


October JCMGA Working Groups Summaries

By Beet 2023 10 October

Community Outreach Working Group

Speakers Bureau:

Colet Allen, chair of the Speakers Bureau, is continuing to work enlarging the Speaker Bureau.

Friends of the Gardens:

The new program for non-MG volunteers to become “Friends of the Gardens” was approved at the last Board meeting. It is time now to consider how best to implement the program. COWG members want to continue to be involved along with the Member Services WG.

Community Gardens:

Mary Foster has scheduled a meeting of the Community Gardens Network for Thursday September 28, from 10:30 to noon, in the Talent branch library. This is an opportunity for rejuvenating JCMGA’s support for and participation in the network.

School Grants:

The deadline for applying for 2023 school grants is November 3. John Kobal has updated the application form on the JCMGA website and will be using various methods to let all the schools and teachers in Jackson County know about this opportunity. Sandy Hansen offered to promote it on our Facebook page.



chair is Sandy Hammond

The 1st annual Fall Festival is set for October 14th at the extension. This will be a 1-day event. The hours are 9:00am to 2:00pm.

A fun day was had by all on September 15th making glass garden art. Some volunteers made their art project to keep and some made garden art to sell at the Fall Festival. There will be 6 outside vendors along with our wonderful Native Garden nursery. The event will be outside and in Greenhouse #2. We will even have Sanctuary One bringing their goats for petting and viewing. There will be holiday items such as wreaths and decorations along with garden art. Cookies and beverages will be provided for free. Thanks to Jane Moyer there will also be beautiful Christmas cacti for sale. Parking will be in the parking lot only so carpooling is a good idea.


Garden Enhancement Working Group

Chair, Janine Salvatti

We are continuing to work in the gardens and are now getting them ready for the cooler temperatures.


Marketing and Technology Working Group

chair is Marcia Harris

We didn’t meet in September.


Member Services Working Group

chair is Barbara Low

We are continuing to update the membership files.

We have made detailed plans for the MG Class of 2023 Graduation Celebration on November 4.

The Friends of the Gardens proposal was approved by the Board.  Community Outreach Working Group and Member Services Working Group will continue to work together to work out the details.


Program Support Working Group

Chair is Grace Florjancic

The Program Support Working Group is looking for Master Gardeners interested in becoming Plant Clinic Mentors. We are hoping to gain enough Mentors to staff weekend events to accommodate our Master Gardeners and our community members with questions who are busy during the week. Reach out to Grace Florjancic if you are interested in getting involved with the SOREC Plant Clinic!


Winter Dreams Summer Gardens Working Group

chairs are Colet Allen, Susan Koenig, and Barbara Low

Registration is now open Winter Dreams Summer Gardens 2023 Symposium.  This virtual event will be October 27, 28, November 3, and 4.











Winter Dreams Summer Gardens 2023

By Beet 2023 10 October

~~~ Registration Now ~~~

The Jackson County Master Gardener Association is back, virtually!


Dates: Fridays, October 27 and November 3 and

Saturdays, October 28 and November 4, 2023

9:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Comfort of your own Home via Zoom


We have a variety of top-notch speakers who will be speaking on many interesting

and time relevant topics.



All sessions will be recorded and available for a limited time for paid participants.

Cost is $30 for 14 presentations.

Landscaper Board CEH re-certification available.

Email us at if you have any questions


Make it a family reunion & invite friends, family

and all your known far flung Gardening Enthusiasts!

OSU Extension Service prohibits discrimination in all its programs, services, activities, and materials.


Peter, Peter, Pepon Eater

By Beet 2023 10 October


Given that the pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo (from the Greek pepon, meaning large melon), has delicious flesh and a delightful design, it’s become a squash icon and symbol of autumn.     

It’s no wonder Peter dined with delight and Cinderella’s fairy godmother chose a pumpkin to conjure her creative carriage.

Pumpkins belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with squashes, muskmelons, watermelons and gourds. While pumpkins are classified as winter squashes, not all squash are pumpkins.

Pumpkins are actually fruits, as they have seeds that develop from mature ovaries of the plant’s blossoms. Their versatility has given them great value since their cultivation.

Despite somewhat unclear origins, the earliest records of domesticated seed remnants and consumption date back to approximately 8750 BC and 7000 BC in Oaxaca, Mexico.

There’s also evidence of domestication in North America, (Missouri in 4000 BC and Mississippi in 1400 BC) and in Central America. Pumpkins were shipped to Europe and other parts in the world during the 16th century.

Pumpkins have a long culinary and medicinal history. Native Americans roasted and dried pumpkin strips to eat and store. American colonists originated “pumpkin pie” by removing seeds then filling pumpkin cavities with honey, milk, and spices and baking them in hot ashes. No pan to wash here! Seeds were also likely roasted by the Aztecs as high protein snacks.

The pulp and sap of pumpkins has long been used medicinally in North and Central America for burns. Another by-product, pumpkin seed oil, is usually mixed with other oils and used for cooking and salad dressings.

Their decorative contributions are many, including dried strips woven into mats by Native Americans, mini varieties for tabletop decor, and of course, Jack O’ Lanterns, a Celtic tradition started with smaller turnips, beets, and potatoes in Ireland. Arriving in America, the Irish readily carved pumpkins into lanterns for scaring off tortured souls (like Stingy Jack) on Halloween.

Pumpkins are high in iron, vitamin A, protein and fiber that support anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antifungal properties.

Cooked flesh is found in pies and is delicious in soups, pasta, salads, desserts, preserves, candies, beverages, (beer and hot spiced cider) or roasted and dried. Cook edible leaves like any greens, stuff and fry flowers and roast seeds (pepitas).

Pumpkins come in a multitude of colors, shapes and sizes besides the classic rich orange ribbed rounds – from petite decorative pumpkins to gigantic monsters (largest ever recorded – 2,323 pounds!). Typically though, most grow to 20-40 pounds, and field pumpkins can reach up to 65 pounds.

Planting pumpkins is easy. Start seeds inside or outside in good potting soil or well amended garden soil, sowing seeds 1” deep. Sow 3-4 seeds about 10-14 days before last frost in 4” pots inside and the same depth outside in 5” high flattened mounds that warm more quickly than flat soil.

Keep all consistently moist and indoor seeds at 70-75°F. Once sprouted (in about 5-8 days), acclimate inside seedlings a week before planting outside.

Provide generous amounts of rotted compost for nutrients and mulch. Supplement with balanced organic fertilizer and plenty of horizontal (or vertical) space.

Whether planted for pies or for that giant first prize, the mighty pumpkin never disappoints!



Armand’s Harper Valley Farms


Pastorino Farms


Seed Sources:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Pinetree Garden Seeds

Territorial Seeds



Pumpkin Scones

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to cover a cookie sheet.


2 cups white whole wheat or oat flour

1 cup regular organic rolled oats (not quick or instant)

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup organic coconut sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root

½ cup chopped toasted walnuts (almonds, pecans or filberts), optional

¼ cup olive oil

2/3 cup pureed pumpkin

½ cup buttermilk

extra buttermilk and organic coconut sugar (for topping)


Mix together flour, oats, sea salt, sugar, ground spices and grated ginger. Pour in olive oil and blend until mixture is crumbly. Mix in nuts. Pour in pumpkin and buttermilk, then mix with a wooden spoon or clean hands just until mixture clings together, then gather into a ball. Transfer to parchment paper and flatten to an 8”-9” round. Score the round into 8 wedges with a sharp knife. Brush the top with a little buttermilk and sprinkle with some coconut sugar. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes until top is golden. Serve warm or freeze for longer storage.