We are pleased to welcome 35 new trainees into the Class of 2023. They are meeting every Thursday in February to participate in Plant Problem Scenarios and to be introduced to the various committees in BCMGA. Last week, the Outreach Committee, Plant Sale, and CGET explained what each committee does. All are looking for new committee members, and this includes returning Master Gardeners. If you enjoy writing, then Outreach would be a good fit. If you want to play with plants, then Plant Sale is for you. CGET (Community Garden Education Team) is exactly what the name says—it’s about education. This a great place to share your knowledge with the gardening public.
I also wanted to let you know that the Volunteer Reporting System (VRS) has been updated to version 2.0. This new iteration was launched on Feb. 1, 2023. It has some improved features. The one I like best is the hours history for each person. Don’t wait until Oct. 31 in that last-ditch effort to report your 2023 hours. You may have to change your password for 2.0. There is a helpful U Tube video to introduce the new system. Here is the link to the VRS. https://vrs.osumg.org/
Å Board Meeting Update: The next BCMGA board meeting will be on Monday, February 13 (9:00-11:00) via Zoom. Join HERE.
Å BCMGA Membership Meeting: Monday, Feb. 20. 7:00 p.m. Hybrid meeting (in-person & Zoom) In Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard, Doug Tallamy discusses a creative means for saving wildlife populations that are in decline – planting more natives and creating what he calls the “Homegrown National Park”. Janet Magedanz, president of the Corvallis Evening Garden Club, has graciously agreed to provide a recording of that Zoom presentation to Master Gardeners at our February 20 membership meeting. This presentation will suggest steps all homeowners can take to improve habitat and provide conservation corridors and thus help restore wildlife biodiversity.
Å OMGA Advocacy Committee: OMGA Advocacy group is launching a campaign to push for more state funding for Extension programs. Judith Kenner (firstname.lastname@example.org) is on this taskforce. They are asking MGs to contact their legislators to ask that Extension funding be increased. Below is a list of legislators. When you contact your legislators, please copy Judith on her email or let her know how you have communicated. See the 6-month action plan and time line in the link. It is not too soon to start now. The 6-month action plan will give you valuable information that can be included in to communication to legislators. This is extremely important to the future vitality of Master Gardeners and Extension as a whole.
Here are additional links from the latest OMGA newsletter:
From the OMGA website:
House Speaker Dan Rayfield, House District 16
Senator Sara Gelser Blouin, Senate District 8
Representative David Gomberg, House District 10
Senator Dick Anderson, Senate District 5
Representative Shelly Boshart Davis, House District 15
Senator Sara Gelser Blouin, Senate District 8
Å NEW! OPPORTUNITY TO EARN VOLUNTEER HOURS! Community Garden Education Committee: For the past three years a group of Master Gardeners has maintained an educational demo garden at Calvin Community Garden growing crops that are carefully selected to be culturally appropriate for our LatinX community. Food Bank donations have averaged 500 pounds per year. With the departure of some of the Master Gardeners who helped with the Calvin Garden, we need Master Gardeners or Master Gardener Trainees who could help us to maintain those gardens by planting, weeding, watering and/or harvesting.
We share the work with a flexible schedule to accommodate times that are convenient for you including weekends. We need to know by the end of February or early March that we have a minimal crew to support this garden or we will have to discontinue our efforts. The time commitment is a few hours per week. If you speak Spanish, we can use your skills, but speaking Spanish is not a requirement.
Å Plant Sale Propagation: More dates for seeding and potting up at the Philomath High School Greenhouse, 2054 Applegate St, 10:00 am-12:00pm:
Friday, February 17
Saturday, February 25
We will finish up seeding, then start the huge task of potting up hundreds of our growing seedlings into 4” pots. In order to make sure we’ve got the help we need, please RSVP to Leslie what dates you are able to come. All are welcome! email@example.com
Å Plant Problem Scenarios: Group Leader (4 sessions) Thursdays in Feb, 10:30 – 11:45
Sign up link here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0a45a9ac29a7f85-benton37#/
Å Public Seed Library: The Public Seed Library Inventory & Growing Guide google document is ready for volunteers to hop online and get it completed, following these instructions! Interested volunteers please email Jill Farrow to request edit access, and to help you get started and answer your questions. The timing is now through February 13, to get the document completed with time for review and laminating for the Public Seed Library slated to open March 4. The Inventory & Planting Guide is a key tool for the new Public Seed Library as it consolidates the crop-growing information from local primary resources of seed companies so that patrons will know when and how to plant and tend the seeds they’ve selected. Patrons will be asked to select the seeds they want and to take them home in small kraft paper envelopes provided for that purpose, leaving the seed packets at the Library for others to access. Doing the data research and entry is fun for those who enjoy looking at seed catalogs or who want to learn more about the vegetables, herbs and companion flowers they might want to grow. We’ve received donated seeds for every plant in the document! And we need volunteer help now to get this critical task done. Because this is a google doc, volunteers can work concurrently and at any time they choose. First, though, the document will need to be shared by me with them for editing. I’m thinking of hosting several “Flash Mob Public Seed Library Document Entry gatherings” on zoom so that folks can volunteer in the community and get any questions answered timely. To get involved please contact Jill Farrow: firstname.lastname@example.org. Report service as Educational writing: direct.
Å Community science: Contribute data to research on gardens, plants, and wildlife. Explore and sign up. Many projects are remote and on your own schedule. Report the time as “citizen science: indirect”.
Å Online Plant Clinic: Check for messages from the public on evenings and weekends. Volunteer from anywhere with an internet connection. Enroll HERE.
Å Master Gardener Desk (Office Plant Clinic): The office is open and there are questions coming in from the public. Volunteers are encouraged to return to the desk, in particular certified MGs comfortable with the pH meter and the microscope are needed. Sign up HERE for shifts to answer client questions or practice skills. You can either work at the desk or in the Extension conference room if you’d like more space.
Find more opportunities on the Benton Volunteer Opportunities Page.
Continuing Education Opportunities
Å Gearing Up for Gardening: This popular brown-bag gardening education series begins on January 3, 12:00-1:00 at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. Go to www.bentonmg.org/gearing-up-for-gardening to view all the up-coming classes.
Å Save the date! 9th Annual BEEvent Pollinator Conference- March 4, 2023, Linn Expo Center, Albany, Oregon. “Adapting Your Garden to the Coming Changes”. This in-person conference is back after a 2 year on-line only presence. Focus on Home Gardens and Small Farms. 9:00am – 3:30pm Registration will open in February: www.LinnMasterGardeners.com
Å Growing Oregon Gardeners – Level Up 2022: watch the recorded sessions HERE.
Å Other Opportunities
Feb 8 Growing Blueberries 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PST Online
Feb 14 Rooting for Runoff: Storing and Treating Home Stormwater Using Rain Gardens 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PST Online
Feb 14 Groundcovers: great alternatives to turf grass 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm PST Online
Feb 15 Growing Caneberries 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PST Online
Jan 18 Pruning Ornamental Trees 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PST Online
Feb 22 Growing Tomatoes I: 10-Minute University™ Noon-Time Chat 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PST Online
Å On-going! The MG trivia tournament is an opportunity for all MGs to participate and win prizes. Open to Master Gardeners throughout Oregon this fall and winter, join us once a month for an evening of multiple-choice trivia, all online. With 50 questions per session, learn about timely gardening topics, have fun, and earn valuable prizes. Each session is good for one Continuing Education Credit in the Master Gardener program. Questions? Contact Nicole Sanchez at email@example.com
February 16, 2023, 6-7pm, Being Fruitful: Managing orchard and small fruit challenges
In Other News
Spring into Gardening “Our Changing Landscape”, a one-day educational event, is on Saturday, March 18. The keynote speaker will be James Cassidy. Other speakers on the program will be well-known to you. For more information and registration, go to the Yamhill County MGA website ycmga.org. All classes (except Topiary) count toward Continuing Education hours.
Å Coffee chats are back for 2023! If you are a board member, committee chair, or engaged volunteer, this is a chance to visit informally with program staff (Elza). Learn more and sign-up HERE.
Å Volunteer Reporting System updates. The statewide Master Gardener volunteer reporting system is now more secure. It also has a new look and feel. Please bookmark the new site: https://vrs.osumg.org/ When you log in, follow the steps to update your password. Tech Support is at https://vrs.osumg.org/help/ (Trainees – please wait on making accounts until prompted – thanks!)
Å The Grow This! Oregon Garden Challenge, Oregon State University Extension’s statewide seed giveaway, returns for a fourth year in 2023 featuring a continued partnership with the Oregon Potato Commission.
Starting Feb. 6, individuals and households, schools, and groups can sign up to receive an individual/household seed kit, group kit or seed-starting teacher classroom kit through the mail.