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Get garden smarter at Winter Dreams symposium

“Knowledge is like a garden; if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested.”

— African proverb

Gardening has provided me with lots of seasonal traditions, and one habit that I look forward to every fall is participating in the Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens educational symposium.

Hosted by the Jackson County Master Gardener Association, this year’s event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4 at the RCC/SOU Higher Education Center, 101 S. Bartlett St. in Medford. Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.

The cost of the symposium is $45, which includes lunch. Register in advance and pay online at www.jacksoncountymga.org. Student prices and scholarships are available by emailing Sherri Morgan at shemore484@gmail.com.

Participants attend one class for each of four 90-minute sessions on a range of gardening topics, which I’ve listed below according to six themes. I enjoy planning my symposium experience around a particular theme, whereas others choose classes by instructor or topic description. For more information about all of this year’s classes, visit the JCMGA website at www.jacksoncountymga.org.

Don’t miss this opportunity to cultivate your garden knowledge and network with other Rogue Valley gardeners.

Theme 1: Building healthy soil

Wonderful soil: What it is and how it works (Session 1)

Soil amendments and fertilizers (Session 1)

Gardening with chickens (Session 2)

Building soil carbon: Using nature’s solution to restore the soil (Session 4)

Building your own compost (Session 4)

Theme 2: Creating healthy garden habitats and yards

Ecological gardening with beetles (Session 1)

Growing pollinator gardens (Session 1)

The benefits of community gardens (Session 1)

Using native plants to create pollinator habitats (Session 2)

Love your bugs (Session 2)

Planning and growing a butterfly garden (Session 2)

Advanced lawn care (Session 3)

Conserving biodiversity (Session 3)

Success with raised beds (Session 4)

Theme 3: Choosing and growing the right plants for your garden

Designing your garden with deer-proof hellebores (Session 1)

The joy of berries (Session 1)

Gardening in a Mediterranean climate (Session 2)

Masses of grasses (Session 2)

Planting bulbs for seasonal color (Session 3)

Easiest veggies to grow (Session 3)

Microgreens (Session 4)

Theme 4: Harvesting and preserving garden produce

Planting a garden for food preservation (Session 2)

19 ways to enjoy the foods of your labors (Session 2)

I did it! The joy and satisfaction of canning and preserving (Session 3)

Theme 5: Propagating and seed saving

Propagation from cuttings (Session3)

Seed saving (Session 4)

Master Gardener program, seed-starting basics (Session 4)

Theme 6: Systematic gardening and using technology

A systematic approach to plant problem diagnosis (Session 2)

Succeeding with succession (Session 2)

Technology for gardeners (Session 3)

Forensic Botany or Plant CSI (Session 4)

— Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, teacher and writer. Email her at rnowak9@gmail.com. For more about gardening, check out her blog at http://blogs.esouthernoregon.com/theliterarygardener/.