FAQs Related to MG Plant Care

Since sharing the document outline OSU’s requirements for the Care of Plants in Master Gardener Greenhouses and Demonstration Gardens, I have fielded many questions. So, I thought it would be useful to compile some FAQs, here.

Question: Why is OSU telling the Master Gardener Chapters to donate their plant sale plants?

Answer: OSU is NOT suggesting, requesting, requiring, or even asking Master Gardener Chapters to donate their plants. The guidance on plant sale donations came to be, because I received questions from four separate Master Gardener chapters about whether or not they might be able to donate plants that had otherwise been destined for a plant sale. If you are part of a Master Gardener chapter that would like to donate plants to a local food bank or food pantry, wonderful! If not, that’s fine, too!

Question: Why are Plant Sale Donations Allowed, but Plant Sales are Not Allowed?

Answer: The Master Gardener program does not currently have permission to allow for plant sales conducted under the Master Gardener name. Some key points:

  • OSU is observing the Governor’s Stay Home | Save Lives order, and is encouraging everyone to stay home. 
  • The plant donations was an exception, granted after review by the OSU attorney in charge of making sure OSU is in compliance with the Governor’s Executive order (Julie Penry), OSU’s Coronavirus Response Coordinator (Dan Larson), and the interim head of OSU Extension (Anita Azarenko). The exception was granted because it was made clear that donations would only occur if we were able to leverage another organization’s distribution network, rather than set up our manage our own. The exception was given for one-time, bulk donations, rather than limited, frequent, and dispersed distribution.
  • An exception has NOT been granted for Master Gardener plant sales, and I doubt that one would be granted. A donation can occur as a bulk, one-time transfer of plants, whereas a sale would occur over time, bring multiple volunteers and customers to a common point (even with social distancing), and would require folks to travel (in violation of the Governor’s Executive order to stay home and minimize travel).

Question: But why are nurseries allowed to sell plants, and Master Gardener Chapters are not?

Answer: In short, Master Gardener Programs are not commercial nurseries. We want our volunteers and our employees to be safe. Staying home a critical part of the Stay Home Save Lives Executive order.

Nurseries are open and are selling plants. But, as a business, they’re also subject to being reported for violating the 6 foot distance rule for employees, promoting unsafe conditions for employees and customers.

Question: But Master Gardener chapters are separate 501(c)3’s from Oregon State University? Why are we subject to OSU rules?

Answer: Our partner Master Gardener chapters are separate 501(c)3’s from OSU. The separation allows the OMGA and Master Gardener chapters to raise funds in ways (such as by holding a plant sale) that greatly enhance OSU programming. But, the Master Gardener Program and the Master Gardener name are service marked by OSU. The Master Gardener Program in Oregon is overseen by OSU. If a program or event is being advertised in the state of Oregon, using the name ‘Master Gardener’, OSU policies, procedures, and guidance must be followed.

Question: Does my local Master Gardener coordinator have flexibility to allow us to continue our local face-to-face events and activities?

Answer: No.

Question: Why is my Master Gardener coordinator allowed to water plants in our greenhouse, but another Master Gardener coordinator is not allowed to water plants for their Master Gardeners?

Answer: OSU has placed strict rules on employee travel. Any travel to a location that is not that employee’s normal work-duty station (such as the Extension Office) must be approve by their Director or Dean. If the plants are in a greenhouse or garden that is on OSU owned or leased land that is also that employee’s normal work-duty station, your Master Gardener coordinator would not have to submit a travel request for approval ~ and could thus be designated as the point person to water plants. If the plants are in a greenhouse or garden that is not on OSU owned or leased land, that person would need to submit a travel request to their Director or Dean for permission to travel and care for those plants. These types of requests are unlikely to be approved at this time, unless they are deemed an essential or critical activity.

Home Horticulture Working Group Retreat

The Home Horticulture Working Group received an OSU Extension Innovation Grant, to support a 2-day retreat for our group. The intention of the retreat is to:

 . . . create the time and space for deep conversations on future iterations of Oregon’s EMG program. We will review Oregon’s EMG program with an eye towards identifying structural changes that could be made to improve the experience for both coordinators running the program, and current and future EMG volunteers. An anticipated end result of this work is the development of a shared vision of inclusivity for the program, specific action items to make Oregon’s EMG program relevant and useful to a broader audience, and a potential redesign of the course, better suited for both coordinators and participants.

You can access the entire proposal, with full details, here.

The first step in planning our retreat is to choose a time and location for the retreat. Please note that we think we have enough funding to pay for lodging for about 20 rooms. If we get more than 20 folks who need lodging, We have two options that we are considering:

Please visit THIS SURVEY to let the planning committee know if you will be able to participate in the retreat, and then rank your preference for date and location. Please also let us know if you will need a hotel room.

2019 International Master Gardener Conference Updates

The 2019 International Master Gardener Conference (IMGC) will be held June 16-21, in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Unlike the Extension Master Gardener (EMG) Coordinators Conference (held even years), the IMGC is targeted more towards EMG volunteers, rather than EMG coordinators. However, it is still a wonderful way to learn from and visit with EMG coordinators from the across the United States.

Room blocks are now open for reservations, and the speaker lineup and class sessions have been announced.

Visit the conference website for the latest information, and to make your room reservation: https://www.internationalmastergardener.com/

Also, please note that I (Gail) will be away on vacation, September 20th-October 3rd.

Spring 2018 Gardener’s Pen Newsletter

April 2018 Gardener’s Pen Newsletter

Have you read the latest issue of the Gardener’s Pen? This publication is from the Oregon Master Gardener Association, in cooperation with OSU Extension Service.

This issue has information on the Growing Gardeners (G2) conference, OMGA Grants and Awards, and six tips to reduce your pesticide use.

Please make sure to share with your Master Gardener colleagues and friends.

A preview of the April 2018 Issue. Please click on the hyper-texted link at the top of this post, to access the full issue.

Advanced Webinar Training for Master Gardeners

Another opportunity for Master Gardener Continuing Education Credits. Remember that 10 CEUs are needed to satisfy Master Gardener recertification requirements in Oregon.

Discussing pesticides with the public can be tricky, even for trained professionals. Master gardeners are on the front line, providing information directly to the public on a wide range of topics. In this webinar, pesticide specialists with the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) will provide resources that master gardeners can use to navigate these conversations. We will discuss topics including protecting pollinators from pesticides, comparing organic and conventional pesticides, how to minimize exposures to pesticides, and how individual risk perception influences behavior. Join us for live Q&A after the presentation.

A recording of the webinar will be posted to the NPIC YouTube channel.

Thursday, April 12th at 1:00pm EST (10:00am PT)

Target audience: Master Gardeners, County Extension Agents, Universities
Presenters: Alicia Leytem & April Strid, Pesticide Specialists, NPIC
Duration: 1:00 hour

Cost: Free

To join:

Registration is required for this free webinar.

Registration will be accepted up to the day of the webinar.

Participants may join the webinar up to 10 minutes early.

To Register: https://oregonstate.webex.com/oregonstate/onstage/g.php?MTID=e730999a7bf8a7580242869dc7c96dd02

Event number: 921 552 205

For audio by phone:

+1-415-655-0002 (US Toll)

Access code: 921 552 205

Add Your Events to the Master Gardener Calendar

Did you know that the Master Gardener Calendar on the OSU website is one of the top-viewed calendars at OSU?

Add your Master Gardener events, classes, workshops, plant clinics, and more to the calendar, to help spread the word about your events.

Adding your events to the Master Gardener Calendar is easy. To submit an event to the OSU Extension Master Gardener calendar:

  1. you must first log in to your ONID account.
  2. Next, head to this link:  http://calendar.oregonstate.edu/osu/submit/
  3. Add in the description of your event (date, time, location, price, etc.).
  4. Make sure choose the ‘Master Gardener Program‘ as one of the calendars, where your event will be featured. This is different than the ‘Master Gardener Workshops’ calendar. That is a county-based calendar, whereas ‘Master Gardener Program’ is a statewide calendar.

Need More Hlp? Supporting Resources are below