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Webinars and Programming

The UC Master Gardener volunteers of Contra Costa County are actively involved in bringing you educational programming. We partner with the Contra Costa County Library and other groups located in Contra Costa County to present topics that will help you grow a healthy, thriving and sustainable garden.


Upcoming Webinar!


Cover Crops

Date and time: Tuesday, September 21, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

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Graphic for September 21 webinar - Cover Crops

Description: After a season of hard labor growing tomatoes and other vegetables, you might imagine that your soil needs replenishing. Should you remove all the plant material to let it “rest” for the winter? Contra Costa Master Gardener Marian Woodard will share practical information on the use of cover crops to improve, maintain, and restore healthy soil that is alive.

Presenter Marian Woodard is co-founder and co-director of Rodgers Ranch Urban Farm in Pleasant Hill. She has been educating our community through her work as a Master Gardener since 2011. She is also a Master Composter, teaches permaculture, and is the garden educator at El Monte Elementary School in Concord, where she shares Next Generation Science Standards with over 400 eager minds and mouths.

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2021 Webinar Schedule

  • Tuesday, September 21 at 6 pm—Cover Crops
  • Tuesday, October 19 at 6 pm—Managing Garden Critters
  • Tuesday, November 16 at 6 pm—What to Do About Weeds?


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Past Webinars and Short Tips


Firewise Landscape: Strategies to Protect Your Home and Property

Description: Although wildfires have beneficial impacts on ecological resources, they also have been catastrophic for many fire prone communities in California. Our increasing urban development in or near undeveloped wildland and extreme weather conditions made 2020 the most devastating fire year in the state’s recorded history.

In 2021, our State has already has seen major fires, which is hopefully not foreboding of things to come. The threat to life and property is real and worthwhile to get prepared for. Join us to learn strategies on how you can reduce your risks in fire prone California by protecting and hardening your home and creating beautiful firewise landscapes in conjunction with careful selection, placement, and maintenance of plants in your garden.

Presenter Steve Danziger has been a UC Master Gardener volunteer since 2015 and is a regular volunteer at "Our Garden" our demonstration garden in Walnut Creek, has presented library educational talks on Composting, and has staffed the Ask a Master Gardener Table at the Moraga Farmers Market for several years.

Since 2018, Steve was elected to and has served on the Moraga Orinda Fire District Board of Director. Steve retired as Administrative Services Manager with the Oakland Fire Department and prior to that worked for the National Park Service in Arizona and at Yosemite. Additionally, Steve is an Orinda Parks & Rec Commissioner and member of the Art in Public Places Committee has completed the Recycle Smart Certified Composter Program.

Presenter Hedwig Van Den Broeck has been a UC Master Gardener volunteer since 2019 and is currently the editor of our Newsletter, “News to Grow by” and serves on our Program's Executive Leadership Team. Hedwig inherited her passion for natural gardening from her Belgian mother. Hedwig moved around a lot during most of her professional life as a computer programmer during which time her garden functioned as a safe haven to relax and recharge. After retiring, she settled in the Bay Area 9 years ago, which allowed her to finally become a Master Gardener.

The danger of increasing devastating CA Wildfires motivated Hedwig to become more involved and make Firescaping her priority. Hedwig participated in drafting a revised Contra Costa Wildfire Plan (CCCWFP) with the Diablo Fire Safe Council and has written several published Firescaping articles in both our internal and external Master Gardener newsletters.


How to Grow a Successful Winter Garden

Description: Join UC Master Gardener volunteer Terry Lippert as she provides you with valuable information on how to successfully grow winter vegetable crops in Contra Costa County. Discover which vegetable crops grow well in our winter months, when to plant them, and how to solve their common pest problems.

Presenter: Terry Lippert became a UC Master Gardener volunteer in 2010 after retiring from her career as a corporate attorney. Since becoming a Master Gardener, Terry has been an active member earning her Platinum badge for 2500 volunteer hours plus an additional 950 volunteers hours.

Terry has grown vegetables and fruit year-round in the Bay Area for over twenty-five years, and regularly creates and presents programs on growing edibles for the UC Master Gardeners Speakers Bureau and Growing Gardeners Program. Terry previously served as Coordinator for Contra Costa County’s UC Master Gardener Help Desk, and continues to spend at least one day each week answering Help Desk questions.


Seed Saving and Sharing

Description: Join us with the U.C. Master Gardeners and learn how to grow out your vegetables and save seeds for next year’s crop! This class will teach you the value of saving seeds as well as how to avoid cross pollination so your seeds will be true to type (like the parents). We will also cover how to gather and store your seeds. Saving your own seeds will let you become a more self-sufficient gardener and give you access to locally adapted seeds.

Presenter: Trish Clifford became a Contra Costa Master Gardener in 2013 after retiring as a corporate trainer. Since becoming a Master Gardener Trish has helped bring the Great Tomato Plant Sale to West County, and taught classes for the Speakers Bureau and Community Gardens.

She is also on the board of the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library which has established a seed library in the main branch of the Richmond Library as well as helping to foster the seed library movement around the country. Trish is also passionate about climate change and is a member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.


Water in Your Garden - Taking Control

Description: Do you currently have irrigation in your garden? Are you happy with it? Are the plants happy with it? Do you know what to do to make the irrigation more efficient and effective? Join irrigation expert and Master Gardener volunteer Lori Palmquist as she shows you how to set yourself up for success with a drought-proof landscape.

Lori will provide you with actionable steps and a checklist for making your irrigation the best it can be. If you don’t currently have an irrigation system, you’ve still come to the right place. Lori will show you how to make sure you provide water to your garden correctly from the beginning. Get ready to rock your irrigation! Your garden will thank you. And our diminishing water supply will thank you.

Presenter: Lori Palmquist is an irrigation expert who has designed, installed, repaired, maintained, and upgraded hundreds of irrigation systems in her 32-year career as a landscape professional. She has a fiery devotion to irrigation and water conservation, and claims to have irrigation water running through her veins.

As a water manager for several homeowners’ associations and large residential landscapes in the Bay Area, she has been responsible for saving millions of gallons of water from being wasted in the landscape.

In the past 13 years, Lori has given hundreds of talks, workshops, seminars, and trainings to thousands of landscape professionals and the public. That’s pretty good for someone who used to be terrified of public speaking.


Cultivo de Vegetales en cada Estación

Descripción del programa: Cultivar frutas y vegetales deliciosos y saludables en nuestro huerto es más fácil de lo que cree. No se pierda este evento informativo donde obtendrá conocimientos básicos y necesarios para tener un huerto abundante utilizando menos espacio y agua.

La presentadora Elicha Gastelumendi nació en Perú, en un pueblito andino muy pequeño llamado Huari. Ya adulta, de 28 años, se vino a los Estados Unidos. Tuvo dos hijos mientras aprendía inglés y estudiaba para ser maestra. Trabajo 26 años como maestra en Oakland y Pleasanton.

Ella sabía de los Jardineros Maestros de la Universidad de California en el Condado de Contra Costa. Luego de jubilarse tomó el entrenamiento, y se graduó en el 2018.


What Could Go Wrong in Your Summer Garden (& How to Fix It!)

Join UC Master Gardener Monika Witte as she covers common vegetable growing problems and how to correct them.

You will hear about solutions to these and other vegetable crop problems and also receive suggestions for what vegetables to plant for the most reliably good results.

Monika Witte is a retired engineer from Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Since becoming a Master Gardener in 2017, Monika has volunteered at Our Garden, the demonstration garden in Walnut Creek, and answers questions from the public at the UC Master Gardener Program Help Desk. She is currently the lead for the Growing Gardeners Program in our county.


Container Gardening: Ornamental and Edible Plants in Small Spaces

Do you have limited space for a garden? Or maybe you just like having your plants contained or want to maximize the space that you have to grow plants. Join us for an overview of what it takes to create, maintain, enjoy, and successfully grow a container garden. We will cover the basics of how to choose a container, types of soil to use, watering, fertilizing, and sun for both ornamentals/flowers and veggies/herbs/fruits.

Shawna Anderson is the owner of Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers and is an Advanced California Certified Nursery Professional for Orchard Nursery in Lafayette, CA. In 2013, she became a Master Gardener volunteer for Contra Costa County. She has written many gardening articles and has taught gardening and pruning classes for Orchard Nursery and many garden clubs around the Bay Area.

Greg Letts worked for more than 30 years in the specialty outdoor industry as a retailer, a manufacturer's representative, and a business owner. He became a Master Gardener volunteer in 2019. He volunteers weekly at the Master Gardener’s demonstration garden, Our Garden in Walnut Creek and assists at Ask A Master Gardener tables at several Contra Costa County farmers markets.


Growing Citrus in Containers

Join Master Gardener volunteer CJ Anderson as he shares how to successfully grow citrus in a container on your deck, patio or in a sunny place in your home.


How to Grow Microgreens Year-Round in Your Home

Join Master Gardener volunteer Andrea as she shows you how vegetables and herbs can be grown year-round into microgreens inside your home.


Composting and Vermiculture for Home Gardeners

Turn your garden debris into black gold for a healthier garden! Our UC Master Gardener volunteers, Joie Spinelli and Dr. Dennis Shusterman, show you methods for traditional composting and composting with worms—vermiculture. Learn why compost is an essential soil amendment for your garden.

Dennis Shusterman is a semi-retired physician who spent most of his career practicing occupational and environmental medicine. He is affiliated with UC San Francisco as a faculty member and UC Berkeley as a practicing physician. His interest in soils and composting grew from his time in Sonoma County as a premed student (and later clinic physician).

Joie Spinelli, UC Master Gardener volunteer since 2016, RecycleSmart Compost trained, Lead for compost efforts at CoCoMG Demonstration Garden in Walnut Creek, and home gardener. Raised in the Bay Area, he worked summers in Gridley at his family’s peach, olive and walnut orchard all through college. 


Planting a Landscape Tree

So, you want to plant a tree? Selecting the right tree for the right place can provide decades of pleasure. But selecting the wrong tree could yield years of regret.

Making the right decision and exploring options is as easy as following a few key steps. UC Master Gardener volunteers Denece Dodson and Sheila Weston will walk you through all of the important considerations and fundamentals of growing not only a vibrant, healthy tree, but the right tree for the right place. This was a webinar presented on March 16, 2021, and Co-hosted with Contra Costa Library


Growing Potatoes at Home

UC Master Gardener volunteer Andrea guides you through planting potatoes. Detailed but concise!


Cloning Garden Plants

Holly Sauer introduces how you can propagate garden plants. You will learn how to clone plants from a single parent plant using vegetative processes such as cuttings, division and separation, and layering. You will learn how to identify which types of plants to propagate, the times of year that work best, the tools and planting supplies you need, and propagation steps. Holly covers perennials, softwood, semi-hardwood, hardwood, specialized stems and roots (such as bulbs) and succulents.

A native East Bay California native, Holly Sauer has been a Master Gardener volunteer in Contra Costa County since 2015. Holly enjoys sharing her knowledge and excitement about gardening with other eager gardeners. After retiring from AT&T in 2009, Holly spends more time in her garden with a focus on ornamental plants and redesigning her home garden. Propagation is her current focus with the purpose of expanding the lushness and flowers of her garden.


How to Grow Sweet Potatoes

Join Monika Witte as she describes how to grow sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are delicious and very easy to grow. But they are generally unavailable as 6-pack or 4-inch transplants at nurseries. Learn how easy it is to propagate them yourself in this short video.


Soil in Your Home Garden

Join Mike Corby and John Fike to learn about the soil in your garden—and the teeming universe under your feet. The life in that soil is essential to the health of your plants. Mike and John debunk some commonly held beliefs about soil care, and share their knowledge of soil fundamentals and ways to build soil health. Experience a more successful garden by knowing how to properly care for your soil.


Asian Citrus Psyllid: The Threat to California's Plants

UC Master Gardener volunteer Robyn Barker gives us valuable and important information about the Asian Citrus Psyllid, which is a looming threat to citrus and other host plants in California gardens.


How to Grow a Successful Winter Garden

With UC Master Gardener Terry Lippert (Oct 19, 2020; co-hosted by the Contra Costa County Library).


Mediterranean Climate and Plants: Plant Adaptations to Mediterranean Climate

With Dawn Kooyumjian, program coordinator for UC Master Gardener Program of both Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Captions. (Aug 31, 2020)


Good Bug, Bad Bug

Join John Fike, UC Master Gardener, as he guides you into realm of the fascinating insects that live in your garden's leaves, soil and in the air around us. (Sep 21, 2020; co-hosted by the Contra Costa County Library)


What Went Wrong in Your Summer Garden?

With UC Master Gardener Monika Witte, who will cover common summer-time vegetable growing problems and how to fix them. (Aug 17, 2020; co-hosted by the Contra Costa County Library)


Seasonal Vegetable Gardening

UC Master Gardener Marian Woodard guides you through growing vegetables throughout the year in the SF Bay Area. (Jul 20, 2020; co-hosted by the Contra Costa County Library)