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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.

 


Stay Tuned for 2023 Webinars!

Co-Hosted by Contra Costa County Library

 

 


 

2022 Webinar Schedule

  • January 25: The Joy of Succulents!
  • February 15: Pruning Trees and Ornamentals
  • March 15: Growing Tomatoes
  • April 26: Seasonal Prep for Your Home Vegetable Garden
  • May 17: Los Problemas en Mi Jardin de Verano (y Cómo Resolverlos)
  • June 21: Water in Your Garden - Taking Control
  • July 19: Creating a Pollinator Habitat
  • August 16: Strategies for Gardening with Limited Water: Weathering the Drought in California
  • August 23: Growing Citrus
  • September 13: Soil: The Universe Beneath Your Feet
  • October 18: Fertilizers and Amendments
  • November 15: Houseplants: Gateway to Gardening

 


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Past Webinars and Short Tips

 

Houseplants: Gateway to Gardening

As much as we shower our houseplants with affection, sometimes they seem to need more. Filling your home with beautiful, healthy plants and keeping them that way is not difficult once you know their love language.

Join UC Master Gardener Coordinator Dawn Kooyumjian as she shows us how to select the best houseplants for your situation and explains how the principles of outdoor gardening apply to indoor plants as well. After all, “houseplants” live outdoors somewhere! You’ll learn everything you need to keep them thriving and brightening your home as well as brightening your day!

Presenter Dawn Kooyumjian is Program Coordinator for the UC Master Gardener Program of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, part of the UC Cooperative Extension.?She has extensive professional experience in horticulture from houseplants to outdoor landscapes.

Additionally, Dawn has taught plant identification and drought-tolerant garden design for the UC Berkeley Department of Landscape Architecture, and is also recognized by the International Society of Arboriculture as a Certified Arborist.

 


Amendments and Fertilizers:
Improving the Ecology of Your Soil

Ecology is the study of the relationships between living organisms and their physical environment. This presentation will focus on how to improve the health of plants by emphasizing the connections between plants and the soil, as well as between plants and the other organisms in the soil.

The question of how amendments and fertilizers can be used to support a healthy ecology between plants and their environment will be discussed. Broadly speaking, amendments are mixed with soil to improve physical and chemical properties, whereas fertilizers improve the amount of nutrients available to plants. The role of mycorrhizal fungi in combination with fertilizers is considered. An action plan for gardeners is offered.

Presenter Monika Witte is a retired engineer from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She became a Master Gardener in 2017, and now volunteers at Our Garden, the demonstration garden in Walnut Creek, and occasionally gives presentations with the Contra Costa Master Gardener Speakers Bureau.

Monika also enjoys answering questions from the public at the UC Master Gardener Program Help Desk and being active in the Growing Gardener Program.

At home Monika grows edibles and California natives along with other plants suited to our Mediterranean climate.This presentation is a result of her personal quest to understand the interplay between plants and the soil.

 


Soil: The Universe Beneath Your Feet

In the ground beneath your feet lies a complex ecosystem that is critical for plant vitality and a healthy, sustainable garden. Soil microbes in the area adjacent to plant roots rely on plant-derived chemicals and, in return, provide those plants with minerals, water and protection against pathologic organisms.

But this amazing and delicate relationship is threatened by harsh chemicals and over-vigorous cultivation, and can result in a loss of soil integrity and fertility and a reduction in plant vigor.

Understanding what is known about soil and its various components can enhance one’s appreciation of plant biology and, ultimately, provide strategies to optimize plant health and productivity. Organic material, minerals, water, aeration, microorganisms and invertebrates work in concert to optimize soil and plant relationships and are essential for long-term sustainability.

Presenter: UC Master Gardener Volunteer John Fike

Born and raised in southern California, John received an undergraduate degree in biology in 1970. He finished his graduate training in 1978 at Colorado State University and spent his entire 34-year career on the faculty of UCSF.

After retiring he became active in the Master Gardener program for Contra Costa County, and his passion for biology and his interest in education have been instrumental in his contributions to the organization. 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.


 

Growing Citrus

Do you love stepping out your back door to pick lemons, limes and oranges? Whether grown in the ground or in a container, citrus trees are a rewarding part of the Contra Costa County gardening experience.

Join UC Master Gardener volunteer Robyn Barker as she walks you through science-based management practices to help you make your citrus growing experience successful. From planting trees to maintaining proper cultural care to watching out for pests and disease, the UC Master Gardener Program has a wealth of advice and resources.

Presenter Robyn Barker became a volunteer with the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County in 2017 and has since logged almost 1,900 hours in a variety of activities including Help Desk, Plant Sales, Volunteer Support, New Volunteer Training, and Speakers’ Bureau.

She currently is serving her second year on the Executive Leadership Team for the program, helping to develop its strategic vision and mentoring project leaders. She loves growing citrus and looks forward to sharing her experiences with you.


 

Strategies for Gardening with Limited Water: Weathering the Drought in California

Our current drought is imposing water restrictions that have us scrambling to figure out how to use less water in our gardens. Irrigation and water-efficiency expert and UC Master Gardener volunteer Lori Palmquist will provide you with a veritable buffet of strategies for lowering your water use in the landscape. She'll provide a no-nonsense approach to using water wisely and responsibly. You'll come away with new tools for drought-proofing your landscape. 

UC Program Coordinator, Dawn Kooyumjian will discuss Mediterranean climates similar to our San Francisco Bay Area, and the vast array of beautiful plants that thrive in this climate. Learn how plants have adapted to regions with little to no summer rain and relatively cool winters with rain. A drought-tolerant garden need not be a lone cactus in a sea of rocks! You will come away inspired and with a deeper understanding of gardening with limited water.

Co-presenter Dawn Kooyumjian is Program Coordinator for the UC Master Gardener Program of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, part of the UC Cooperative Extension.  Additionally, she has taught plant identification and drought-tolerant garden design for the UC Berkeley Department of Landscape Architecture.  She holds a Masters of Landscape Architecture, and is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist.

Co-presenter Lori Palmquist is an irrigation expert who has designed, installed, repaired, maintained, and upgraded hundreds of irrigation systems in her 33-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 14 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.

Photo courtesy of Jeni Webber + Associates, photographer: Lee Anne White


 

Creating a Pollinator Habitat

In 1963, American biologist Rachel Carson wrote, “Man is a part of nature and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.” The declining population of pollinators is sad for those of us who have grown up observing them and enjoying their beauty.

This decline, however, not only impacts their numbers but the well-being of mankind. Pollinators need our help. The good news is it is not too late to save them. In this talk, UC Master Gardener volunteer Annette Abbott will introduce us to various Northern California pollinators and show us how we can help them by creating a pollinator habitat in our own outdoor space.

Presenter

Annette spent many of her adult years living in a small apartment in Hong Kong with very little need to garden. When she moved to California, she purchased a home that came with a yard full of issues – invasive plants, crowded trees, bamboo and more. She was determined to teach herself how to correct those problems. At about the same time she saw an ad for the UC Master Gardener program!

Annette was a true beginner, but so far has successfully greened the lawn, “edited” out all the bad plants and planted decorative ornamentals. Her focus is on ornamentals since this supports her Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) hobby, but she is also dabbling in herb gardens and propagation. It has been a never ending (and fun) education. Annette is a UC Master Gardener volunteer from the class of 2019 and a teacher for the Growing Gardeners program.


 

Water in Your Garden - Taking Control

 

Description: California is all abuzz with talk of drought right now. Our local water districts have declared Stage 2 drought and are bringing on restrictions, reductions, excessive-use penalties, and drought surcharges. It’s time for us to get our dry game up and running.

Join irrigation and water-efficiency expert Lori Palmquist as she gives you a veritable buffet of strategies for lowering your water use in the landscape. She’ll provide a no-nonsense approach to using water wisely and responsibly.

Lori will give you actionable steps and a checklist for watering your garden correctly and making your irrigation the best it can be. You’ll come away with new tools for drought-proofing your landscape.

Get ready to rock your irrigation! Your garden will thank you, and our diminishing water supply will surely benefit.

Presenter: Lori Palmquist is an irrigation expert who has designed, installed, repaired, maintained, and upgraded hundreds of irrigation systems in her 33-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 14 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.


Los Problemas en Mi Jardín de Verano (y Cómo Resolverlos)

Descripción: Únase a la Jardinera Maestra de la Universidad de California Laura Brainin-Rodriguez para problemas comunes en el cultivo de vegetales y cómo resolverlos.

Aprenderá que causa que los tomates se agrieten, por qué los calabacines se marchitan y mueren, porque el brócoli y la coliflor solo producen pequeñas cabezas, por qué las cebollas a menudo producen flores y fallan en desarrollan buenos bulbos, y más.

Escuchará soluciones a estos y otros problemas en el cultivo de vegetales. También recibirá sugerencias sobre que vegetales sembrar para obtener los resultados más confiables.

Presentadora: Laura Brainin-Rodriguez, ha sido voluntaria con el Programa de Jardineros Maestros de Contra Costa desde el 2018. Laura se crio en Puerto Rico y siempre le han encantado las plantas.

Ella es Co-coordinadora del Proyecto Pregúntele a un Jardinero Maestro y es miembro del Proyecto Jardineros que tiene como fin compartir información sobre jardinería con personas hispanohablantes en el condado de Contra Costa.

 


 

Seasonal Prep for Your Home Vegetable Garden

Description: Learn the key steps to take care of your vegetable garden beds to ensure a robust harvest year after year. This webinar will present ideas that will save you time and effort in getting the ground ready for a productive season, give tips on how to protect and maintain your beds in-season, and explain what to do at the end of the summer season.

Presenter: Greg Letts worked for more than 30 years in the specialty outdoor industry as a retailer, manufacturer's representative and business owner. He became a UC Master Gardener in 2019.

He volunteers weekly at Our Garden and currently coordinates the watering team. Greg also assists at ‘Ask A Master Gardener’ tables at several Contra Costa County farmer's markets. His home garden of many years includes year-round vegetables, small fruit trees, and potted citrus trees.

 


 

Growing Tomatoes in Your Home Garden

Description: Learn everything you need to know to grow tomatoes in your home garden. You will learn tips for choosing the right varieties, how to start the plants off right and care for them as they grow, and how to avoid common problems before they occur. Whether you are planting in a container on your balcony, an expansive garden or something in between, get ready to harvest plenty of ripe, tasty tomatoes that you’ve grown yourself!

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 2,500 volunteer hours plus an additional 1,200 volunteer 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 Gardener Speakers Bureau and Growing Gardeners programs. Terry previously served as the 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.

 


 

Pruning Trees and Ornamentals

Description: Pruning can be confusing and even terrifying for the home gardener. Despite the huge variety of plants in the garden and pruning tools available, basic techniques exist for maintaining safety and plant health, beauty and productivity. Join us as Anne Sutherland, UC Master Gardener volunteer, provides an overview of the specific techniques and resources for the pruning needs of both trees and ornamental plants.

Presenter Anne Sutherland’s fascination with watching plants grow began in her Kansas grandmother’s garden, digging for peanuts in the rich, dark soil. She first began gardening with her husband George when they were both medical residents at UC Davis Medical Center. It was then that she met her first tomato horn worm and discovered that rice hulls take longer than her residency to turn into compost. Now that Anne has retired from medicine, she takes care of plants. They never ask for the prescription pad.

Anne is a UC Master Gardener volunteer from the class of 2020 involved with the Help Desk, Continuing Education, Great Tomato Plant Sale and Spanish Growing Gardeners program. Her latest passion has been bringing Jardineros en el Huerto to life along with a dedicated, talented team of UC Master Gardeners.

 


 

The Joy of Succulents!

Description: Succulents are beautiful, generally low maintenance and low water use plants. They are also excellent choices for a fire safe landscape. Learn how to select, grow, and propagate these plants for both indoor and outdoor enjoyment. Please join us for this beautifully illustrated program and be amazed at the hundreds of succulent varieties in every color, shape and size that can enhance your home and garden.

Presenter: Anna Frankfurt, a UC Master Gardner volunteer since 2013, has loved gardening since age 10. She has worked with succulents for 11 years as part of the succulent study group of the El Cerrito Garden Club. She is an Ask a Master Gardener Lead for the Kensington Farmers Market and county wide single day events, responding to every imaginable type of question that local gardeners can come up with, and is also a co-lead Library Coordinator for Speakers Bureau programs at the Kensington Library.

Presenter: Laura Brainin-Rodriguez, a UC Master Gardener volunteer since 2018, has loved plants all her life. She has also learned the hard way how to care for succulents. It took her three tries to keep a firestick plant alive (Euphorbia tirucalli) and she is still working on Echeverias! Laura is a Co-Lead of the Ask a Master Gardener Project and is a member of the Jardineros en el Huerto team, bringing vegetable gardening expertise to our Spanish-speaking community in a 4-week in-depth course.

 


 

What To Do About Weeds

Description: Join Master Gardener volunteer Robyn Barker as she walks you through science-based management practices to control those pesky weeds in your Contra Costa County garden. From mulches to goats and geese, there are almost as many options for weed control as there are types of weeds.

If the best option for you turns out to be hand-pulling, she also has some ideas of how to make that easier as well. Learn why reaching for herbicide should be the last resort.

Presenter: Robyn Barker, a retired corporate attorney and systems librarian, became a UC Master Gardener volunteer in 2017 and quickly gained experience through her work on the Help Desk, Ask a Master Gardener and in the demo garden. She has earned a gold badge (with over 1500 volunteer hours) and currently serves on the Executive Leadership Team. She brings a sense of adventure to tackling the most challenging garden problems.

 


 

Friend or Foe: Who's In My Garden?

Description: Our gardens teem with life; with insects, mammals, plant life and more. Many of these living organisms are considered friends while others are regarded as pests or “foes.” Designating organisms as being either a friend or a foe can be problematic or, as Nelson Mandela said, “Nothing is black or white.”

Join us for a program that will challenge preconceived notions about garden friends and foes and help you understand the complexity of trying to put a label on a biological being. You will leave this program equipped with the knowledge to decide for yourself how to view the guests in your own home garden. This program will also share with you free resources that you can use to find effective and safe solutions to manage your garden’s foes.

Presenter: After 34 years on the faculty at UCSF, John Fike 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

 


 

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.

 


 

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

Handouts: Get handouts

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)