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Beet 2024 02 February

Jackson County Master Gardeners Announcements — February 2024

By Beet 2024 02 February



  • JCMGA Chapter Directory Photo Contest
    • Have photos to Sandy Hansen by February 1st.
  • JCMGA Board Meeting will be a hybrid meeting on February 9th.
  • Friends of the Gardens Logo Design Contest – submissions due by February 15th.
  • Josephine County Home Show February 16-18. We will have a table there.
  • Articles for the March Garden Beet due by February 15th. Send articles to




Spring Garden Fair – May 4 and 5 at SOREC (Mark your calend

President’s Corner

By Beet 2024 02 February


As a gardener, you have probably heard people say, “There isn’t anything to do in the winter.”  I find that is far from the actuality.  As a gardener, I’m just about as busy during the winter as any other time of the year.  But instead of working outside in my garden as much as usual, I am planning my garden for the upcoming spring and summer.  What do I want to plant again?  What new plants interest me?  Do I want to move some of the existing plants?  Do I want to install structures to help my vegetables to grow and produce better – such as climbing trellises?

Next, there is looking at seed catalogues, which offer so many possibilities.  For the past few months, we have asked people to submit articles about their favorite plant to grow – whether vegetables, fruit, or flowers.  What do you like to grow?  Why?  I encourage you to write a short article and share your thoughts with others.  We can learn so much from each other.  It is easier to try something new if we have heard from another gardener and what they think about it.  If you are interested in writing an article, please email me

Last year we were a part of the Plant a Row project and gave the extra food to Access to disseminate to needy families in our community.  We are planning on participating in the Plant a Row project again.  All we ask is that you plant an extra vegetable plant or row in your garden.  Produce from that plant or row is brought to the SOREC Extension parking lot, and we will bring it to Access.  Please consider being a part of this important project.

On top of all that, there is pruning to be done – fruit trees, cane berries, roses, shrubs, etc.

This is the time of year when I tend to read more gardening books.  Have you read a gardening book about which you’d like to write a review in our Garden Beet?  It’s a time to share what you have learned and maybe help others with their gardens.

There are several Community Education classes being offered at the SOREC Extension and via Zoom this year.  You can check the SOREC website and the OSU Education website.

  • Click here for a list of programs and to see what is offered.
  • Click here for a list of upcoming events and classes

As gardeners, we tend to spend a lot of time with our gardens – planning, preparing, tending, harvesting, enjoying, solving problems, being creative.  For me, it is physical and mental therapy. Though I may not be as physically active in the garden this time of the year, I am still a very active gardener.

Happy Gardening!

Coordinator’s Column

By Beet 2024 02 February



Hello Gardeners,

I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season and started the year off on a good foot! We are entering a very busy time for us Master Gardeners. The 2024 training class has started, with Practicum soon to follow. Our community education classes will be kicking off this month, as well as more upcoming ways to volunteer!


Upcoming Classes!

Rose Pruning: February 17th from 10:00am – 12:00pm. In Person Only.

Have roses you are not sure how to prune? Join the Master Gardeners in our Rose Demonstration Garden as we teach you the ins and outs of pruning the perfect roses. Register here


LAST MG Trivia Night:  February 21st   6:00pm – 7:00pm. Online Only.

Play trivia against MGs across the state for a chance to win a gift card to an Oregon-based gardening company. This month’s trivia will be about Oregon native plants. Trivia is fun, and also counts towards your continuing education hours! Register here


OSU MG Training Modules: February. Self-Paced. Online Only.

The online modules used for the MG training class are available for Current MGs to review for free! If you would like to access the videos to use as continuing education credits, please email Grace at to receive the registration link.


Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities!

Plant a Row Food Donation

The Master Gardeners will be collecting home grown produce at SOREC to donate to ACCESS Food Pantries this summer. If you have the garden space, plan ahead of time to reserve a bed or section for produce to donate. Last year we collected over 700 pounds of fresh produce. This is one way we can help make a more food secure Jackson County!


Seed to Supper Instructor

Seed to Supper is a 6-week basic veggie gardening course for folks in the county facing food insecurity. Classes typically run in spring but can happen throughout the year, depending on location and instructor availability. Instructors are provided training for the course, teaching materials, and workbooks for all the program participants. Seed to Supper instructors must be current certified Master Gardeners. Reach out to Grace Florjancic if you are interested in becoming a Seed to Supper Instructor, at


Plants for Gramps Volunteers

This is a new program we plan to pilot in the summer of 2024. Plants for Gramps is going to be horticultural therapy activities for rural older adults. We are hoping to offer 6-8 activities for each group of participants. We are working to team up with libraries to hold the program meetings. This means you could volunteer to help folks in your local community! Fingers crossed the grant funding to launch this program gets approved! Instructors for this program need to be currently certified Master Gardeners. Reach out to Grace Florjancic if you are interested in volunteering as an instructor in Plants for Gramps at


Spring Garden Fair

This year’s Spring Garden Fair will be on May 4th and 5th here at SOREC! There will be many ways to help us prepare for this event, as well as staffing for the event. Keep an eye out and ears open this month for opportunities to get involved.




Jackson County Master Gardener Association 2024 Updates

By Beet 2024 02 February


We are off to a great start!

  • Our January Board Meeting was very productive. We are preparing for our JCMGA Board Retreat, at which we will review our JCMGA 2023 goals and create our JCMGA 2024 goals. We will use data from our Member Services Survey, which many of you completed in November 2023, as well as information from our Working Groups.
  • We are still looking for someone interested in serving as our President-Elect or as a Member-at-Large. If you are interested, please contact Barbara Low
  • The OSU Class of 2024 Master Gardeners started January 24th!


Have fun volunteering!

  • Josephine County Home Show – February 16, 17 and 18. We will have a JCMGA booth at this event. Please contact Sandy Hammond at to help staff the booth.
  • Friend of the Gardens Program to start in April. Details will follow.
  • Spring Garden Fair – May 4 and 5. Details will follow.

WELCOME, Class of 2024

By Beet 2024 02 February

Fifty-five strong, they arrived for the First Day Lunch on Wednesday, January 24. 2024.  And were they ever SOMETHING!  Enthusiastic from the moment they walked in the door, the Class of 2024 is already being predicted as another invigorating rejuvenating force for the Jackson Co. Master Gardener Association.  But who are they? Where do they come from?  What are their backgrounds?

Twenty-five of them come from Medford while eight are from Jacksonville, seven from Ashland, three from Central Point, two each from Talent and Eagle Point.  White City, Rogue River, Phoenix, and Grants Pass each claim one of these new students.  And, most amazingly, two are braving the wintertime Siskiyou passes to come from Hornbrook, California.  Three or four more may still be joining the class.

Varied backgrounds define this group more than any group in recent memory.  Business owner, supervisor, property manager, one landscaper and three professional gardeners, investor, accountant, and self-employed start the list.  It continues with painter, tour guide, program manager, and project manager.  Eleven associated with health-related fields and five with education comprise the largest groups. Two work for the State of Oregon while one works for the federal government.  Two moms, one real estate agent, one jeweler, one director, one fundraiser, one draftsman, one engineer, one each in HR, telecom, IT, and bookkeeping and the founder of Rogue Creamery complete this oh, so interesting class.

Eighteen of them consider themselves beginning gardeners, thirty-five labeled themselves as intermediate, and one advanced.  So why are they taking the Master Gardener class?  Seventeen want to become better gardeners while another eighteen are interested in gaining more gardening education including learning more about conservation/sustainability, soil, water, and xeric gardening.  Three are here to improve their work skills.  Being new to the Rogue Valley, new to a property, or new to a Mediterranean climate was the driving force for eight.  Fourteen want to help educate others, give back to their community, or just meet other  people interested in gardening.

On behalf of JCMGA, we would like to enthusiastically say, “WELCOME Nicole, Erin, Tracy, Pam and Pam, Susan and Susan, Shanie, Kelli, Karen, Doug, Scott, Mary and  Mary Ann, Grace, Carrie, and Joe!   We are so glad you’re here Janet and Jan, Vivienne, David and David, Tina and Tina, Flavia, Blake, Adrienne, Louise, Johnny, and Michael!  Cody, Cindy, Victoria, Melissa, Lindsay, Bruce, Jody, Kata, Cathy, Deidre, Chris and Chris, Gretchen, Alice, Teresa, and Ed, we hope you’ll stay with JCMGA for years to come!  Once again, WELCOME!



“Friends of the Gardens” Logo Development Contest

By Beet 2024 02 February


The Jackson County Master Gardeners Association would like you to enter the Friends of the Gardens Logo Development Contest.  You could win a $25 gift certificate to use at the JCMGA’s native plant nursery.    We will feature the winner in the March Garden Beet.

As we look to expand our volunteers through the “Friends of the Gardens” program we would like a unique logo for the program. If you have artistic skills, please enter our contest!  The logo would be use on letterheads, JCMGA website, posters, and flyers to catch a gardener’s eye and will be used to brand and promote this program.

So, pull out your drawing implements, paints, or computer skills and send in your ideas!  Please submit an electronic copy of your design.   We plan on using the design when advertising the Friends of the Gardens program.  The design would become the property of JCMGA.  We would like the finished design to be in either jpg or Word format and submitted by 5 pm on Thursday, February 15th, 2024.

Designs are to be submitted to the JCMGA President, Barbara Low

Do you know anyone interested in helping JCMGA without becoming a JCMGA member?

By Beet 2024 02 February


The Friends of the Gardens Program is a great opportunity for them!


  • We are searching for participants who are interested in gardening but don’t necessarily want to become Master Gardeners.
  • The minimum age to participate is 10 years old and accompanied by an adult. All waiver forms will need to be signed by their parent/guardian.
  • The minimum age for someone to volunteer without a parent/guardian is 16 years old. Their parent/guardian will need to sign their waivers.
  • No maximum age limit.
  • There will be a variety of activities to choose from – gardening, research, office work, etc.
  • Enjoy hands-on learning while caring for our 16 different themed Demonstration Gardens.
  • “Friends of the Gardens” work under the supervision of a Jackson County Master Gardener Volunteer.
  • This program will start in April and run through the growing season.


If you know someone who might be interested,

have them contact Grace Florjancic at! Thank you.


February JCMGA Working Groups Summaries

By Beet 2024 02 February

Community Outreach Working Group

Chair, Ronnie Budge

  • We now have 22 possible speakers for the JCMGA Speakers Bureau.
  • Sandy Hammond is organizing our booth for the Josephine Home Show on February 16-18.
  • We are continuing to work on the details for the Friends of the Gardens program – which will start in April.


Fundraising Working Group

Chair, Jane Moyer

We are working on plans for the Fall Festival.  Stay tuned for details.


Garden Enhancement Working Group 

Chair, Janine Salvatti

We are getting ready for Spring.


Marketing and Technology Working Group

Co-Chairs – Barbara Low and Keltie Nelson

We will be focusing on updating our JCMGA Marketing Plan.


Member Services Working Group

Chair, Barbara Low

The First Day Lunch for the OSU Class of 2024 Master Gardeners was a great success!

We are continuing to work on the JCMGA Chapter (Membership) Directory.

We are continuing to work on the details for the Friends of the Gardens program – which will start in April.


Program Support Working Group

Chair is Grace Florjancic

The 2024 Master Gardener Training Class has started! Thank you to everyone for helping make this class another success. A big thanks to all the MG’s giving presentations, being Garden Buds to help the students, and JCMGA to help cover the cost of classroom activities! We are going to have another wonderful group of Master Gardeners to welcome to our program.


Spring Garden Fair Working Group

co-Chairs – Marcie Katz and Lucy Pylkki

Plans are underway for the 2024 Spring Garden Fair which will be May 4 and 5 at the SOREC grounds.

Mark your gardens.


Winter Dreams Summer Gardens Working Group

chairs are Colet Allen, Susan Koenig, and Barbara Low

We will start meeting on a regular basis in February.

Stay tuned for details about the 2024 Winter Dreams Summer Gardens!










Plant Immunity

By Beet 2024 02 February

Ever wonder why some plants seem to remain healthy and vibrant while others seem to get eaten up by insects or “catch” other diseases?

All organisms have an immune system designed to protect them from diseases and to detect and respond to pathogens that try to invade from the environment. We know about our own immune system with its lymphatic system, white cells, antibodies, spleen, and gut microbiome. We can enhance our immune system by eating well, being physically active, getting enough sleep, etc.

But what about plants? They have evolved many mechanisms to detect and defend against numerous pathogenic attacks, such as avoiding growth during time periods when pathogens are plentiful, producing a biochemical response to a pathogen, and cell tissue death at the site of invasion (so the pathogen is arrested within the dead plant tissue). Protection against herbivores can include thorns, thick cell walls, producing chemicals that are toxic to insects or animals trying to eat them, etc.

As gardeners, we know that photosynthesis converts carbon, oxygen and nitrogen into the various sugars (carbohydrates) and fats (lipids) that are plants’ building blocks. Equally important are micro-nutrients and water that are drawn into the plant from its roots to further supply the necessary chemicals to create the defense system to ward off disease and insect attacks.

The soil is vastly important in supporting the plant’s defense system. “Soil is a living ecosystem that includes minerals, air, water, and habitat for creatures plus the creatures themselves…Did you know that soil provides 14 of 17 essential plant nutrients?” (OSU EM 9304, 12/2020)

Soil, with all of its micro-organisms, fungi, and bacteria creates a symbiotic relationship with the plants. Some of the carbohydrates and lipids produced by the plants find their way to the roots and share their bounty with these micro-organisms. In exchange, soil’s micro-organisms allow water and trace minerals to be readily absorbed by the plant root system and carried up into the plant. The plants need the water and these nutrients to generate both growth and defense chemicals. And both plants and pathogenic organisms are constantly evolving to “outwit” the other for survival.

So, when you are out in your garden and witness your plant in stress or looking lackluster, or there are unusual looking spots or insects chowing down on a leaf, remember to first ask – how is the soil? Is it healthy? Remember that the soil supports the immune system of the plant. To learn more about this magnificent symbiotic relationship, you may be interested in the video, books and papers listed below.



  • Groundwork: A Family Journey into Regenerative Cotton. 16-minute video about a family that applied regenerative agriculture practices to restore the health of their soil. Click here to watch the video.


Reading List:

For the Love of Birds

By Beet 2024 02 February

We have all heard about the declining bird populations and many of us, as garden enthusiasts, are doing what we can to nurture our local species. Did you know that you can also participate in tracking those populations?

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an annual, interagency effort by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon, and Birds Canada (Oiseaux Canada) and is scheduled for February 16-19 in 2024. This annual event, first launched in 1998, became a global project in 2013. During these four days, birdwatchers of all levels and ages gather as much information as they can worldwide and report in real time. This is a true ‘participatory science’ project!

For more information, and to participate, go to You can sign up online and download the necessary app, either Merlin Bird ID (good for new birdwatchers) at or eBird at There are ‘how to’ videos about using this software if needed. There are regional bird lists, bird photos and bird sound links to help with identification – which make the whole process a lot of fun.

In past years I printed out my regional list of birds and carried it with me. If you’re more tech savvy then I am, you may want to download it all on your phone. You can observe, count and record for as little as 15 minutes one day or any length of time you want to over the four days of the event.

If you find you want more information check out

where you can take a free beginner course, listen to lectures, watch videos, or play games.

I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the ‘Great Backyard Bird Count’ in past years and thought you might also – it’s addicting!