Personal Column

Nicole D. Sanchez
Horticulture Ext. Field Faculty
Oregon State University Extension Service

Klamath Basin is home to a short growing season and may experience frost any month of the year. Approximately 50% of gardeners in Klamath Falls and surrounding areas are "transplants" from different regions and experience significant challenges translating their gardening knowledge to the Klamath climate. This weekly article series tackles relevant horticultural topics using a "Five Facts" format- five facts or points, usually with references and links for more information, on a seasonally relevant horticultural issue. Examples include “Five reasons to plant trees in fall”, “Five seed packet facts”, and “Five insects commonly submitted to the Plant Clinic”. Most popular (based on comments from readers) was “Five things you didn’t want to know about aphids”

Popularity of the articles is evidenced by increased calls to the Extension office on Wednesday mornings, the day the column is published each week, and frequent incidences of class and program participants slipping the author suggestions for future articles on scraps of paper.  

In addition to answering many questions about plants, insects, and disease issues in the area, the series has highlighted Extension and Master Gardener programming with articles like “Five plants you’ll find at the Master Gardener plant sale” and “Five things Master Gardeners achieved in 2019”. Over 60 local individuals have approached the author in meetings, the grocery store, and other locations to thank her for the information in the articles or comment on them. After publication, articles are also shared on social media (Facebook) and the Klamath County Extension Website. Through social media, the articles are frequently shared Oregon- wide and occasionally nationwide.  Publication of these articles has led to invitations for speaking engagements, development of webinars, and the author being interviewed for an article in a national magazine (to be published summer 2020).

Much horticultural information published for Oregon is more relevant to the coastal and Willamette Valley areas. The Klamath Basin Horticulture series has proven to be a valuable and appreciated mechanism for sharing locally relevant information in a community that enjoys both high newspaper readership and interest in gardening.