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Beet 2024 07 July

Jackson County Master Gardeners Announcements — July 2024

By Beet 2024 07 July




  • JCMGA Monthly Board Meeting – July 11th from 9:30-11:15 a.m.
  • OMGA Joy of Gardening Conference – July 12th – 13th
  • We will start collecting produce (fruit and vegetables) donations on Wednesday, July 24th, from 10-11 a.m. in the Gathering Garden at SOREC – which will be given to Access.
  • OMGA Gardeners Pen Newsletter




  • Collecting produce (fruit and vegetables) donations every Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. in the Gathering Garden at SOREC- which will be given to Access.


Things They Are A-Changing

By Beet 2024 07 July

One of our key words since 2020 has been “flexibility.”  On March 17, 2020, COVID-19 hit, and we had to stop all the in-person activities – including our Class of 2020 Master Gardener sessions.

We got used to doing meetings differently by using Zoom.  No Practicum, no Spring Garden Fair, no work in the Demonstration Gardens…

The Jackson County Master Gardeners have been slowly coming back to life and becoming more involved as an organization and within our community.  We missed our in-person activities, such as the Spring Garden Fair, OSU Master Gardener classes, Practicum, monthly community education classes, and working in the Demonstration Gardens. Thankfully, we are now able to thrive by participating in-person in all these activities once again.

We have started new programs, such as: Plant A Row (to donate extra produce from our gardens to people less fortunate) and the Cultivating Companions Program (to reach out to seniors in rural areas to bring gardening into their lives).

Our Demonstration Gardens are being enriched and are absolutely beautiful!

We are embarking on the next phase of our organization.  Several of our buildings which we use for Practicum, growing plants, and housing our gardening tools are very old and need major repair or replacement.  The JCMGA Board has created a Practicum Design Ad Hoc Committee that is scoping out ideas and plans to best meet our needs and our vision.  Jane Moyer is the chair of this committee. We have been gathering ideas from different groups within our organization.

Jane met with Alec Levine, who is the head of SOREC, and he is pleased with what we are working on.  In fact, since the Creepy Old House is scheduled to be torn down soon, he has volunteered to have the old tool shed, Peggy’s Greenhouse and the Infirmary taken away at SOREC’s expense.  The Board has agreed to rent a Pod to store the items from these three buildings temporarily.  This Pod will be located in the parking lot in front of the Native Plant Nursery.

As the plans develop, we will keep you informed.

Please feel free to ask Jane or me any questions you may have about this project.


The JCMGA Board Needs YOU!

By Beet 2024 07 July


We are looking for new, and experienced, members of Master Gardeners to serve on our Jackson County Master Gardener Board of Directors for 2025.  Could that be YOU, or someone you can recommend?

Please consider becoming a member of the board – the governing body of the association. The board adopts the budget, sets policy, and generally oversees the present and future direction of JCMGA.  Meetings are held the second Friday of each month.  Most board members also sit on one or more of the association’s working groups.  Your input is important, and fresh perspectives on how we move forward are the key to our success.


The following positions are to be elected this fall:

  • Vice-President/President-Elect
  • Membership Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Assistant Treasurer
  • Recording Secretary
  • Archivist
  • Oregon Master Gardener Association Representative
  • Five Members-at-Large

Job Descriptions can be found in the JCMGA Bylaws, which are located on the JCMGA Member Portal.

Contact Rob MacWhorter, President-Elect, at or Marcie Katz, Past President, at if you want to nominate yourself or someone else.

Please submit any nominations by September 1st.

2024 Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens Sessions For 2024

By Beet 2024 07 July

October 18, 19, 25 and 26


The Winter Dreams Summer Gardens Working Group is developing an informative and interesting lineup for this year’s symposium. This article contains some of the presenters.   Registration will be open August 12th We hope that you will join us!



Backyard and Small-Scale Composting 

Regina Boykins, Presenter


Have you dreamed of being a compost master and improving your soil? Learn about what you need you need to get started. Set up, materials to add, and even amendments to make your compost more plant specific. She even will bring examples of material and tools.


Regina Boykins has been a Master Gardener since 2015. She is an avid gardener who looks to research and science, and wants to share what she has learns with others.



Firescaping for Home, Habitat, and Sense of Place

Adrienne Edwards and Rachel Schleiger, Presenters


Do you worry about wildfire risk to your home? Can we improve our protection and still support pollinators? This presentation will discuss how to create a beautiful home garden with native plants and reduce fire risks.


Adrienne Edwards is a PhD, botanist, plant ecologist, garden designer and environmental consultant who lives in northern California and in a faculty lecturer at California State University, Chico.


Rachel Schleiger, MS, is a plant ecologist specializing in restoration ecology. Her family and property survived the 2018 Camp Fire in northern California. She is a faculty lecturer at both Butte College and California State University, Chico.



  1. Naturalistic Privacy Screens 
  2. Take a Walk on the Dry Side

         Bonni Engelhart, Presenter


Is there a better way to have some privacy than the typical hedges? Bonni’s first presentation will give us information on deer resistant, drought tolerant and fire-wise options.

Bonni’s second presentation helps us learn about more water-wise planting for a drought tolerant landscape in our homes and gardens.


Bonni Engelhardt is a Master Gardener, landscape designer and writer.



Climate Forward Trees

Mimi Enright and Tim Coyne, Presenters


In our changing environment how do we know what trees will thrive and grow in the future? The Climate Forward Trees Project developed by the University of California Master Gardener Program and the City of Santa Rosa have provided a list of trees that can be planted now for the future.


Mimi Enright became a UC Master Gardener in 2011, and currently oversees the program. One of her interests is helping to educate others about sustainable landscaping. She was Program Coordinator for the Climate Forward Trees Project.


Tim Coyne participated in the Master Gardener Program in both Ventura and Sonoma counties in California. Is on the SCMG Board of directors. He was the Project Leader for the Climate Forward Trees Project, and currently for a Fruit Tree Study Group.




Bringing Nature Indoors: Creating a Houseplant Home

Grace Florjancic, Presenter


Many of us have struggled with the new beautiful plant we bring into our home only to have it looking very sad in a short period of time.  Where did we go wrong? This presentation looks at what different plants require to live indoors and what we can do to meet those needs.


Grace Florjancic is the Master Gardener Coordinator for Jackson County. Grace has a degree in microbiology and horticulture from Virginia Tech, with a working background in research greenhouses, botanical gardens, and an indoor wedding venue.


The Practicum Story 2011-2024

By Beet 2024 07 July


As the leadership changes, a written record of Practicum history was deemed important. Here goes, although bear in mind, much is from memory which at times can be faulty.


In 2005 and prior years, Master Gardener students were required to participate in one of three activities: Greenhouse, Grandma’s Garden, or designing, constructing, and manning an educational booth at Spring Garden Fair (SGF).  Greenhouse consisted of growing plants from seeds for selling at SGF.  Grandma’s Garden propagated plants using other methods, also for selling at SGF.  The educational booth was discontinued after 2005.


Two mentors, Janet Rantz from Grandma’s Garden and me (Jane Moyer) from Greenhouse, noticed that every year many students expressed the desire to be able to participate in both.  So, we put our heads together to figure out how to accomplish this “merger”.


In 2011 a pilot program was run by combining the Thursday morning groups from Grandma’s Garden and Greenhouse, teaching the lessons from both programs.  The rational was that, even though the lessons would take about twice the time, there would be double the number of students to start and grow the plants. Therefore, the end results would be the same.  As in any new program, there were bumps along the way; but when asked, the pilot students unanimously expressed their appreciation for having been in the new pilot program versus one program alone. That summer, the mentors from both Grandma’s Garden and Greenhouse met together to consider combining their programs. Not all mentors were in favor, but the majority came to agreement that doing what provided the best education for students was the goal.


Those who decided to continue with the effort to design a combined program spent September through December 2011 writing lesson plans, painting the inside of the garage of the Creepy Old House a bright yellow, and combining supplies and equipment.  Rick Evans, a commercial painter and husband of Master Gardener Carol Evans, painted murals on the walls, cupboard, and filing cabinet.  Michael Riding, 2012 President, named the new program “The Jackson County Master Gardener Practicum.”


The first problem to surface was scheduling the Practicum sessions.  Historically, all sessions were held in the morning. With a class of 75, that would require many morning Practicum sessions with a high student-to-mentor ratio held in a small space. The solution was to switch to the current practice of having six morning sessions and three afternoon sessions every week.


Each year, changes have been made based on evaluations from both students and mentors.  Mentors now have an annual training before Practicum begins, take turns each week conducting a review of the lessons for the upcoming week, and sign up to be responsible for both one-time jobs and recurring jobs.  Students are no longer required to take Practicum (although most still do), they are asked to read articles and/or view videos online in preparation for the topics for the upcoming week, and they attend for 14-15 weeks.


In 2017-18, a Prop House and Lathe House were torn down and Greenhouse #2 was built. A valuable lesson was learned along the way: next time we build anything, we should hire a contractor rather than try to do it ourselves!


2018 brought a mandate from the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture and OSU that sent us all into a tizzy for a while!  Up until that time, we had asked Master Gardeners who were dividing plants in their yards to bring any extras divisions to us.  We would divide them, if needed, pot them up, and care of them until they could be sold at the SGF.  Because this practice had caused the spread of some harmful insects, viruses, and weeds up north, MG programs were told they could no longer accept plants grown in garden soil.  We couldn’t even accept divisions from our own demonstration gardens.  That was about a fourth of the plants for Spring Garden Fair!


Lynn Kunstman introduced the idea of growing native plants from seeds and cuttings instead.

In 2017 Lynn, a Jackson County Master Gardener and Practicum mentor, had been giving butterfly garden presentations. Influenced by the books “Bringing Nature Home” and “Nature’s Best Hope” by Doug Tallamy, Lynn began propagating native plants from cuttings taken on the SOREC campus and seeds purchased from Klamath Siskiyou Native Seeds.  Growing natives, which requires less water and maintenance, also aligns well with recent directives from OSU regarding sustainable gardening practices.  The Native Plant Nursery has expanded and is now an ongoing source of revenue for JCMGA.


In March 2020 everything came to a halt.  With all we had heard about the dangers of COVID, the JCMGA board had an emergency meeting and canceled the Spring Garden Fair.  Classes were canceled.  The campus was shut down.  All Practicum seedlings were given to members to take home and raise.  No-contact honor sales were held from members’ driveways.  We learned to hold lessons and classes via Zoom.  Practicum mentors put together kits for each student to use during online classes.  The 2020 graduation was held over Zoom.


And so it went for the remainder of 2020, 2021, and 2022.  There was no MG class in 2021.  The 2022 class took place entirely over Zoom.  Eight students graduated. Plans for Practicum were made and canceled.  The gardens were open for summer work with strict limits on how many MGs could be in them, then closed again.


Finally in 2023, things began returning to “normal” with a difference.  Classes were offered in a hybrid format, meeting in-person only a half day each week, while the rest of the classes met online.  The Creepy Old House had been condemned due to asbestos, so a Practicum teaching area was set up in Greenhouse #1 which cut down on space for plants. Some of the Practicum mentors decided not to teach anymore so each session had only two mentors instead of three. There were frequent absences due to COVID.  The Spring Garden Fair was held at the Extension instead of the fairgrounds due to the expense and lack of volunteers. But the Practicum mentors pulled together and made it work.


During the summer and fall of 2023, a small team of mentors went through the lesson plans to update them.  All teaching charts were professionally remade, laminated, and mounted.  Four mentor teams were organized (Curriculum, Greenhouse Maintenance, Native Plant Nursery, and Seeds).  Mentor positions were all filled.  It looked like it was going to be a great year for the Practicum.


Then two of the leadership mentors had health and/or family situations that kept them out for most of the season.  Virginia Brown assumed the chairmanship and with the help of a great mentor group was able to guide the Practicum through.  Spring Garden Fair was a financial success even though the first day set records for rainfall and low temperature (and probably mud).


And so, Practicum continues to grow, expand, and improve.  The first and major goal of Practicum is education with a second minor goal of fundraising.  Practicum is one of the main pillars that supports the efforts of JCMGA to learn, practice, and teach the art and science of gardening in the Rogue Valley.


Future changes: Barbara Low and Nicole Smith are assuming the leadership of Practicum.  The Creepy Old House, the tool shed, the Propagation Greenhouse, and the Practicum Plant Infirmary are all going to be removed by the county. An ad hoc committee is exploring the possibility of replacing them along with Greenhouse #1.





Master Gardeners Have a New Demonstration Garden

By Beet 2024 07 July

This year, The Jackson County Master Gardeners designed a new demonstration garden as part of an extended Vegetable Garden. We call it The New Garden. This new garden is separate from the current vegetable garden. It is located northeast of the Apple Orchard.

The inspiration for this garden comes from the Indigenous people of this country and incorporates companion planting techniques. The garden is an experiment with Three Sisters planting – corn, beans, and squash. There is also a fourth sister, sunflower, as well as numerous smaller companion plants to add color, biodiversity and to enhance pollination. Here is a great video which explains the process.

The demonstration garden has been constructed in three concentric circles of corn, sunflowers, squash and pole beans interspersed with basil, parsley, nasturtiums, and calendulas. In the outer ring, buckwheat and more sunflowers are planted as cover crops. The entire design fits within a 40ft x 40ft square.

The addition of buckwheat and sunflowers enables us to experiment with allelopathic plants. An allelopathic plant is one that produces one or more biochemicals that influence the germination, growth, survival, and reproduction of the plant and/or the growth of other plants and seed germination around it.

In the garden, many varieties of squash were chosen to extend the harvest for both summer squash and winter varieties. The beans are a purple variety of pole beans. Pole beans are necessary as they climb up the sunflower or the cornstalk. The purple beans were chosen to make them easy to harvest – you can easily see purple beans growing among the tall corn and sunflower stocks.

Walkways were dug out to add soil to create the “raised beds” and cardboard was laid down in the walkways to reduce unwanted plants from developing. Entrance paths were also dug out to remind visitors not to walk on the raised beds and compact the soil.

The key factor in the design of a garden with corn is pollination. Pollen must fall on each silk tassel to create each kernel of corn, one tassel of silk = one kernel. Planting corn in bunches, circles or some other closed configuration ensures the best pollination. Thus, a little breeze goes a long way to ensure a good crop yield of corn.

Pole beans are self-pollinated and do not require close proximity to other bean plants. Squash is cross-pollinated by insects including the squash bee (Peponapis pruinose), a native insect of Oregon. Sunflowers are both self-pollinated and cross-pollinated. The addition of the sunflower, as well as buckwheat, also ensures greater attraction of other pollinating insects.

The buckwheat was intentionally planted to help reduce the amaranth seed (aka pigweed) germination and the sunflowers will be cut down and used as mulch to reduce grass and other unwanted seed germination for the next year.



By Beet 2024 07 July

The 2024 Spring Garden Fair was a big success despite Mothers Nature’s attempt to derail it! It persistently rained all day Saturday, but the public came out anyway.  On Sunday, the weather was a little better.  All the vendors I spoke to were pleased with their sales.


Financial Summary of the Spring Garden Fair

Total Gross Income $21,551
Expenses $8,466
Net Revenue $13,085


A big thank you to our students and volunteers!  They endured being cold and wet without any complaints. Without you, none of this would have been possible.

We now look forward to next year’s SGF which will be held May 3 and 4, 2025 at the Jackson County EXPO in the Mace Building and surrounding areas.

We will also hold a Fall Festival at the Extension on September 28, 2024.  If you would like to help plan these events, your ideas and energy would be appreciated. Meetings for the Fall Festival will begin soon.

Please contact either chair, Marcie Katz or Lucy Pylkki, for both of these events.

The Language of Trees – A Rewilding of Literature and Landscape

By Beet 2024 07 July


By Katie Holten


Are you ready to embark on a journey through forests and trees, across time and cultures? Then I recommend “The Language of Trees – A Rewilding of Literature and Landscape” by Katie Holten. This is an anthology of essays and poems that offers perspectives about our cultural, emotional and political relationships with forests and trees. Contributors pull from natural history, ancient and recent human history, the environment and humans’ impact upon it, and even fractal geometry. You’ll find lessons from fungi, observations of tree migration and tree clocks, and people’s efforts to awaken a broader appreciation of all plants. Included is a tree alphabet based upon Ireland’s medieval Ogham, which used trees for letters.

Contributors are varied – scientists, novelists, poets, architects, linguists, activists and artists – and include: Plato, Robin Wall Kimmerer (author of Braiding Sweetgrass), Radiohead (yes, the band), Nemo Andy Guiquita (an indigenous Ecuadorian woman), Suzanne Simard (pioneer on plant communication) and others.

Immerse yourself in a journey with many branches and thought-provoking trails. “The Language of Trees considers our relationship with literature and landscape, resulting in an astonishing fusion of storytelling and art and a deeply beautiful celebration of trees through the ages.”[1]

Katie Holten is an artist and activist whose work investigates the tangled relationships between humans and the natural world.

[1] From the book jacket. 

July in the Garden

By Beet 2024 07 July

In July, 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.

July is the time to:

  • Blackberries need at least 1” of water per week while growing and fruiting. Providing heavy mulch will reduce the frequency of watering.
  • Blueberries also require a constant supply of moisture while fruiting.
  • Potatoes should have their water supply decreased when you see their tops dying back.
  • When peppers start to blossom, spray them with a solution of Epsom salt (4 tablespoons per gallon of water). This will help to make them crisper and sweeter.
  • Plants which you can plant as seed outside (make sure to check the soil temperature)
o   Amaranth

o   Beets

o   Collards

o   Endive

o   Florence Fennel

o   Kohlrabi

o   Peas

o   Scallions

o   Beans

o   Carrots

o   Dill

o   Escarole

o   Kale

o   Lettuce

o   Rutabaga

o   Swiss Chard


  • Plants to transplant this month (make sure to check the soil temperature)
o   Brussels sprouts

o   Cauliflower

o   Cabbage



  • Fertilize and Prune
    • Asparagus
    • Trailing cane berries finish producing fruit- prune those vines which produced fruit. Prune to the ground
    • Fertilize fall-bearing raspberries when they start to bloom.
    • June-bearing strawberries should be fertilized once a year after harvest.
  • Control Pests and Diseases
    • Powdery mildew on grapes
    • Corn earworm


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 Cool

Garden For Life


A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

By Beet 2024 07 July

A future gardener and intrepid young soul braving the rain and cold of the 2024 Spring Garden Fair.

This young man and his gardening family passed our Rock Painting booth in the pouring rain. Mom and Dad were happily training him in the “garden work ethos” to prepare him for all-weather gardening. He could hardly wait to get home and plant his treasures!