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TALK: "Good Bug, Bad Bug"
September 21, 2020 6:30 PM - 7:45 PM
Sponsor: UC Master Gardener - Contra Costa County and Contra Costa Library Speakers Series

This Webinar is currently full. Please check back after September 21, 2020 for the link to watch this Webinar on Youtube.

Join Master Gardener John Fike as he provides a snapshot image of the fascinating insect populations that exist under the leaves, in the soil and in the air around us.  Insect pests (bad bugs) that commonly occur in our area are shown along with the beneficial insects (good bugs) that prey on them.  A little biology and a lot of colorful pictures will introduce these insects and hopefully provide a new and fascinating perspective regarding the six-legged creatures that constitute over half of all the living organisms on earth.

After 34 years on the faculty at UCSF, John Fike Ph.D. retired from academia and soon thereafter became active in the Master Gardener program for Contra Costa County. He co-leads the Ask a Master Gardener program, is active in the Speaker’s Bureau and is on the leadership team for the organization. His passion for biology and his interest in education have been instrumental in his contributions to new volunteer training and programs like Growing Gardeners. One of his goals as a Master Gardener is to introduce more science into the gardening landscape in the hopes that people will develop an enhanced perspective and appreciation of the fascinating world around us.

Additional Webinars can be found at the following link to our Youtube channel.  



Image shows grapes on left, the #BigDigDay icon in center, and heirloom tomatoes on left.

June 5, 2020, was our first #BigDigDay campaign! We set ourselves a goal of $5,000—and you, our wonderful supporters, helped us to top it off! Thank you so much. With the cancellation of our biggest fundraiser, the Great Tomato Plant sales, we are deeply appreciative of your gifts. We will continue to offer our science-based information to guide you in your gardening adventures. Stay tuned!

(If you missed the campaign, but still want to donate, here's our Donations page.)


Due to the current COVID-19 shelter-in-place, our plant sales, talks, and Ask-a-Master Gardener tables at Farmers Markets are all canceled through October 30, 2020.  As our plans evolve, we will post updates here and on our calendar


It's official...with a tip of the hat to Antioch's historic Rivertown District, our East County demonstration garden, formerly named Mangini Garden, is now called Rivertown Demonstration Garden.


Advice to Grow By...Ask Us!
UC Master Gardener advice and problem diagnosis services are available year-round!  For problem diagnosis and answers to your gardening questions, contact our Help Desk.  The Help Desk is open 50 weeks of the year, Monday through Thursday, from 9:00 am to Noon (closed winter holidays). 3/17/20: Due to the current COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place, our Master Gardeners are working remotely—

In your request—
  • Include your name, phone number and city (plant advice depends on local conditions!).
  • Describe the problem in detail. Include the name of the plant if known, when the problem began, and cultivation history such as watering, fertilizing, pruning, pesticides, etc. 
  • Send photographs, if applicable. Photographs help!

Our gardening blog, HOrT COCO, talks about seasonal hot topics, frequently-asked questions, and truly unique or peculiar requests for help. Subscribe here.


Keep conserving water, no matter what. 
Remember that water conservation continues to be vital to California's long-term health and resilience. Learn about water resources in California. Also check our Drought Tips, as well as read our HOrT COCO blog on Smart Controllers. Want a quick and easy fix? Many of us have areas of lawn that serve no particular purpose. Sheet mulch your lawn to save water, and improve your soil at the same time. 

Speaking of soil...visit the United Nations' FAO Soil Portal for in-depth scientific soil research and international policy to enhance soil health. Most Contra Costa soils contain plenty of the nutrients plants need. Keep your soil healthy to cut back drastically on landscape fertilizing. Less fertilizing means less watering (and more money in your pocket)!


UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County
2380 Bisso Lane, Suite B, Concord, CA 94520
(925) 608-6683 (email only during Shelter-in-Place), ccmg@ucanr.edu  

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Registration for the next Growing Gardeners "Vegetable Gardening" course will begin September 28, 2020 at 9:00am.

Come back here at that time for the link to register. 

Registration will begin at 9:00am on Monday September 28 for the next Growing Gardeners course "Vegetable Gardening." Classes will be held online via Zoom on four consecutive Saturdays beginning October 10 through October 31, 9am–12noon. Also—check out the Course Handbook, which you can download! See bottom of this webpage for the download link. Make sure you come back here on September 28 for the link to register. Class size is limited to 25 participants. 

This live Zoom course is ideal for beginning gardeners. Lessons cover the basic principles of gardening and include guidelines for Contra Costa County’s unique growing conditions. Participants who complete the course by attending all 12 hours of instruction will become "UC-Certified Growing Gardeners in Vegetable Gardening." The course costs $40. To sign up, you must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of Contra Costa County.

The Growing Gardeners Program provides garden education on topics of interest to gardeners in Contra Costa County.  The Program offers in-depth learning opportunities without the extended hours required to earn UC Master Gardener Certification and without the volunteer requirement. 

For more information on this course, click here.


From Frank McPherson, Bay Area County UCCE Director

UC Master Gardeners are University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) trained volunteers. They are residents of our community that give back all year to provide UCCE researched-based horticultural information to individuals in their communities and throughout the state.

They give talks and demonstrations, conduct plant clinics, staff phone help lines, provide training at community gardens, support school garden programs, staff information tables at Farmers’ Markets, fairs, and nurseries, and much more.

If you would like to support our efforts, donate now. Thank you!


We're the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County!



Contra Costa Master Gardeners Donate Our Plants to the Community

So many plants from what would have been our Great Tomato Plant Sale found homes throughout the East Bay area. We donated plants to 48 community, church and school gardens in Contra Costa, as well as to Oakland Unified School District.

We're on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too!