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Chard

The Extension Service’s new monthly Gab with a Garden Guru sessions, offered on the fourth Friday of each month at Leap of Taste, will provide a chance for participants to ask gardening questions such as “What insects are eating the Swiss chard from the inside out?”

Cold, snowy, and frozen January is a dreamy time for gardeners: snuggled into their homes with a warm drink, a fuzzy blanket and a stack of garden catalogs, they’re dreaming of plants to be in the coming months. Each gardening season offers a chance to learn from experience to create new success, enhance excitement about the wonder of nature, and surround ourselves with beauty and food. This annual opportunity for renewal and refreshment is one of the many attractions of gardening.

That’s the dreamy part. Experienced gardeners in the Klamath Basin know that each gardening season also brings challenges. In addition to periodic outbreaks of insect or disease problems found anywhere, successful Klamath gardening requires careful planning, constant readiness for frost protection, water worries, and other issues that not present in more gardening-hospitable environments. Fortunately, Klamath gardeners have a variety of ways to access area-specific gardening knowledge and expertise.

Library gardening series: This partnership between Klamath County Libraries and Klamath County Extension is back for the fourth year, providing classes on popular gardening subjects at multiple times and locations for the best possible accessibility. Running March-June, topics will include growing and propagating houseplants, tree fruits, common insect pests, and basic plant identification. Each class will be offered multiple times including sessions at the Main, South Suburban, and Chiloquin branches. Watch this column space, sign up for the library’s monthly e-newsletter, or watch for flyers in the libraries for time and location specifics. These classes usually run between one to two hours each, and include both prepared lecture and open discussion. This year, the houseplant and plant identification series will also feature some hands-on components.

Local garden clubs: Garden clubs combine gardening, education, conservation, and social interaction. Our largest local garden club is Northside Garden Club, whose nearly 30 members meet monthly (less a summer break) at the South Suburban library, 3625 Summers Lane. Meetings typically entail a sprinkling of business, education, socialization, and lunch, then conclude with a prepared program. The next meeting, Jan. 28, will include a slide show travelogue documenting plants and displays at the Oregon Gardens. Come at 1 p.m. for the slide program, or 10:30 a.m. for the entire meeting. Northside is a welcoming, fun bunch of garden enthusiasts who contribute to the community through flower shows, county fair, and other community events.

Master Gardeners: While the deadline to apply for this year’s training opportunity has passed, there are many ways to access the expertise of our Master Gardeners. They’ll operate a plant clinic starting April, have a presence at the Klamath Falls Farmers Market, and also contribute to other community events. Master Gardeners can answer many types of gardening questions and offer area-specific suggestions. If a Master Gardener does not know the answer, they do know where to get it.

Monthly Gab with a Garden Guru: New in 2020, the fourth Friday every month at 8:30 a.m., Leap of Taste at Ninth and Main streets is the place to be for garden gab. Unlike the library series, in which the speaker sets the topics and flow, this is an opportunity for participants to drive the conversation. Bring your gardening questions: what should be going on in the garden this time of year? How should a fruit tree be pruned? What insects are eating the Swiss chard from the inside out? The Garden Guru hopes to answer your questions without being stumped. Anyone who can stump the garden guru during our first session, 8:30 a.m. Friday, Jan 24, will win some free OSU swag!

This column space: Thanks for hugely positive response to this column in 2019! For those who might wonder, “Five things you didn’t want to know about aphids” by far generated the most interaction, both in person and on social media. Apparently, people DID want to know those things about aphids. This space is meant to be address the questions readers have about gardening in the Klamath Basin, and the intention is to continue this column on a weekly basis in 2020 — despite the potential challenge of keeping topics fresh and relevant the second time around. This is where gardening readers can help! What would YOU like to read about here in the future? Send suggestions for future articles to: Nicole.sanchez@oregonstate.edu. It would be our pleasure to address gardening topics that are of interest and relevance to our readers. Suggestions are welcome!

In the case of a burning gardening question that just can’t wait for any of these upcoming opportunities, or if the convenience of the internet is appealing, remember that Extension’s online “Ask an Expert” is always an option. Find it here: ask.extension.org. In addition to horticulture, insect and gardening questions, “Ask an Expert” also covers questions on food preservation, family and consumer sciences, nutrition, and more. No appointment needed!

Nicole Sanchez is horticulture faculty at OSU’s Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center. For more information on this or other gardening topics, contact Nicole at Nicole.sanchez@oregonstate.edu or 541-883-7131.