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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.

 


Past Webinar

Co-Hosted by Contra Costa County Library

 

My Cup of Tea: Growing an Herbal Tea Garden

Tuesday, May 21, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

WATCH RECORDING NOW!

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Veggies and herbs are not the only edible plants that you can grow in your home garden. Learn popular plant varieties that can be grown, dried, and steeped into an enjoyable tea! You will learn popular tea plant varieties to grow, proper site selection, as well as how to grow, harvest and store. Grab a cup of your favorite tea and join us!

Presenter Andrea Salzman has been a UC Master Gardener volunteer since 2019 and holds a Gold Badge for volunteering over 1,000 hours. She has a deep passion for learning and facilitating knowledge-sharing with others. Previously the Speakers Bureau lead, Andrea, in partnership with the Contra Costa County Library, started our monthly webinars and YouTube channel adding dozens of new educational talks.

Andrea currently is a speaker and educator in our Growing Gardener, Speakers Bureau, and Community Garden Programs. Andrea loves year-round edible gardening and finding creative uses for the things she grows. Her greatest gardening joy is growing and creating interesting things with her youngest daughter and watching her older daughter harvest and make her own creations with what is growing fresh in their garden.


 

2024 Webinar Schedule

  • February 20: Growing Microgreens Indoors Year Round
  • March 19: Growing Citrus
  • April 16: Creating a Pollinator Habitat
  • May 21: Growing an Herbal Tea Garden
  • June 18: Gardening with California Natives
  • July 18: The Magic of Mulch: Water Conservation at its Best
  • August 20: Cover Crops
  • September 17: Grow Roses for Biodiversity and Drought Tolerance
  • October 15: Backyard Grapes
  • November 19: Pruning Trees and Ornamentals

 


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Past Webinars and Short Tips

 

Buzzing Gardens: Cultivating California's Pollinator Paradise

WATCH RECORDING NOW

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Join us in "Buzzing Gardens," a captivating journey into the world of California pollinators and the art of creating vibrant pollinator habitats.

  • Discover the critical role these unsung heroes play in our ecosystem and the alarming decline in their populations.
  • Uncover the secrets of pollination syndrome and explore the unique relationships between California's native pollinators and the plants they love.
  • Gain insights into why their numbers are dwindling and, more importantly, learn actionable steps to reverse the trend and boost pollinator populations. Whether you have a backyard or balcony, discover how you can contribute to the buzz by transforming your space into a haven for these essential creatures.

For two decades, Presenter Annette Abbott worked as a UK publishers’ rep across the Asia Pacific region. Residing in a tiny Hong Kong flat, devoid of greenery, gardening was an unattainable luxury. However, upon relocating to the US, she found herself buying a house with a spacious yard, which ignited her passion for gardening. In 2019, she studied and earned the title of Master Gardener. Annette loves all creatures great and small (especially the small ones!) which fostered her fascination with pollinators. Join us as she shares her journey and insights into the vital role of these creatures in our ecosystem.


 

Growing Citrus

Link to recording coming soon

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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 1900 hours in a variety of activities including Help Desk, Plant Sales, Volunteer Support, New Volunteer Training, Growing Gardeners, and Speakers’ Bureau. She recently completed two years 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.


 

Growing Microgreens Indoors Year-Round

Link to recording coming soon

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

Presenter Andrea Salzman has been a UC Master Gardener volunteer since 2019 and holds a Gold Badge for volunteering over 1,000 hours. She has a deep passion for learning and facilitating knowledge-sharing with others. Previously the Speakers Bureau lead, Andrea, in partnership with the Contra Costa County Library, started our monthly webinars and YouTube channel adding dozens of new educational talks.

Andrea currently is a speaker and educator in our Growing Gardener, Speakers Bureau, and Community Garden Programs. Andrea loves year-round edible gardening and finding creative uses for the things she grows. Her greatest gardening joy is growing and creating interesting things with her youngest daughter and watching her older daughter harvest and make her own creations with what is growing fresh in their garden.

 


 

Capture the Light

WATCH RECORDING

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We love sunny days, and so do our plants. Learn more about the effect of light on plants, and acquire some useful tools for your gardening bag of tricks. What is the right amount of light? What is the impact of cloudy days? How can you take advantage of the way sunlight falls in your garden through the seasons of the year? This presentation addresses these questions and more to help you provide the best possible environment so that your plants thrive.

Presenter Monika Witte is a retired engineer from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Since becoming a Master Gardener in 2017, she has volunteered at Our Garden, the CCMG demonstration garden in Walnut Creek, and has been active in the Growing Gardener Program. At home Monika enjoys growing edibles and California natives, along with other plants suited to our Mediterranean climate.

 


 

Transitioning to a Cool-Season Garden

WATCH RECORDING

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What if you, and/or your garden, are tired after a long summer? Should you plant a fall garden? This fun and informative talk will make it hard to resist! For the small or large property, the presentation addresses fall gardening options and practices that will reward you with colorful and delicious vegetables and a bright spot in your yard in the winter and early spring.

Presenter Marian Woodard has been a UC Master Gardener since 2011 and a successful vegetable grower for many years. She’s also a Master Composter and permaculture aficionado. Marian has been the Garden Educator at El Monte Elementary in Concord for seven years, teaching Science in the Garden from kindergarten to 5th grade. She and her husband cofounded Rodgers Ranch Urban Farm in Pleasant Hill in 2012, which is where she’s gained most of her gardening experience.

 


 

Turfgrass Alternatives
for a Mediterranean Climate

WATCH RECORDING

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Are you thinking about replacing your lawn, but still want a “green flat place” in your landscape? Although turfgrasses have a unique set of attributes that are difficult to replicate with other plants, there are many reasonable alternatives if one is willing to make some compromises. This webinar will cover:

  • Turfgrasses, what are they?
  • The history of lawns and why we have them
  • The “water problem”: growing cool-season turfgrass in our Mediterranean climate
  • Turfgrass alternatives and their strengths and weaknesses
  • Resources for more information

You’ll learn to identify these problems, hear recommendations for when and how to treat them and learn techniques for preventing problems from developing or reoccurring.

Presenter Henry Shaw is a graduate of the 2022 UC Master Gardener class. He has loved growing plants since he was a small child. He has a community garden plot and has an extensive container garden for vegetables and in-ground fruit trees at his home in San Ramon.

Henry retired in 2019 from a 35-year career at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His formal academic training was in geology and chemistry, and for the last 10 years at Livermore, he was the Chief Scientist for the roughly 1000-person Physical and Life Sciences organization there.

These days, in his spare time, he volunteers at the Exploratorium, is the current President of the Diablo View Orchid Society, and, with his wife Marina, is an avid forager of edible mushrooms and seaweeds.

 


 

Managing Common Diseases and Pests
in Your Home Orchard

WATCH RECORDING

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Learn how to diagnose and manage common diseases and pests that can spoil the fruit in your home orchard. We’ll discuss common fruit tree problems including:

  • Peach leaf curl
  • Fire blight on pear and apples trees
  • Codling moths that lead to wormy apples and pears
  • Shot hole disease that shows up as holes in leaves and blemishes on fruit
  • Eutypa disease that could kill your apricot and cherry trees
  • Scale, aphid and mite infestations that can overwinter in fruit trees.

You’ll learn to identify these problems, hear recommendations for when and how to treat them and learn techniques for preventing problems from developing or reoccurring.

Presenter Terry Lippert became a UC Master Gardener volunteer in 2010 after retiring from her career as a business attorney. Terry is an active member and has contributed over 4,200 hours to the program since then.

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 Master Gardener’s Speakers Bureau and Growing Gardeners Program. Terry has also served as Coordinator for the Help Desk and continues to try to spend at least one day each week answering Help Desk questions..

 


 

Let's Get Growing Herbs!

Learn all about successfully growing herbs year-round as well as the many creative uses for herbs beyond an ingredient on your dinner plate! You will learn how to select, care for, harvest, store, preserve and use these amazing edibles.

Presenter Andrea Salzman has been a UC Master Gardener volunteer since 2019 and holds a Gold Badge for volunteering over 1,000 hours. She has a deep passion for learning and facilitating knowledge-sharing with others.

Previously the Speakers Bureau lead, Andrea, in partnership with the Contra Costa County Library, started our monthly webinars and YouTube channel adding dozens of new educational talks. Andrea currently is a speaker and educator in our Growing Gardener, Speakers Bureau, and Community Garden Programs.

Andrea loves year-round edible gardening and finding creative uses for the things she grows. Her greatest gardening joy is growing and creating interesting things with her youngest daughter and watching her older daughter harvest and make her own creations with what is growing fresh in their garden.

 


 

Good Bug / Bad Bug

Our yards, gardens, orchards, forests and open spaces are teeming with small insects whose very presence is essential to the healthy ecosystem we call home. Many, if not most, people consider the insects in their local environment to be pests and, historically, they have sometimes resorted to rather noxious chemical means to control or eradicate such ‘bad bugs.’

However, nature has provided a safer and, arguably, a better solution to this problem, and if understood and properly supported, ‘good bugs’ can not only control the pest populations, they can also enhance the vitality and the biological diversity of the garden.

“Good Bug / Bad Bug” 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 multicellular organisms on earth.

Born and raised in southern California, presenter John Fike 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 UC Master Gardener program for Contra Costa County. His passion for biology and interest in education have been instrumental in his contributions to the organization.

One of his goals as a UC 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.

 


 

Climate Change and Your Garden

Climate change is already a reality in our lives. The three major challenges it presents are undeniably pressing. Too little water (drought), too much water (atmospheric rivers), and the threat of wildfire are situations we’re dealing with at an accelerated rate.

How do we respond to or prepare our properties for these climate-driven events? In this talk, we’ll explore together actions we can take to minimize the impact of these challenges on our lives, homes, and landscapes.

Simply stated, we’ll talk about how to prepare your garden for either too little available water or too much water. We’ll also discuss how we can drastically reduce the risk of wildfire on our property. Join us as we start the dialog about this important topic.

Presenter Lori Palmquist is a UC Master Gardener who describes herself as a serial presenter, as she has given over 500 irrigation talks and trainings around the state for the past 15 years. She also claims to have irrigation water running through her veins. Lori’s greatest hope is to inspire people to take action to use less water and still enjoy thriving, beautiful gardens well into the future, no matter how much water shows up.

 


 

Seasonal Bed Prep for Summer Veggies

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 and is a member of the Executive Leadership Team. His home garden of many years includes year-round vegetables, small fruit trees, and potted citrus trees.


 

Firewise Landscaping: Preparing Your Home and Property for Wildfire

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

The threat to life and property is real and it is 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 with careful selection, placement and maintenance of plants in your garden.

Co-presenter Hedwig Van Den Broeck has been a UC Master Gardener since 2019. She is currently the editor of our Newsletter, “News to Grow by” and serves on the Executive Leadership Team. In addition, 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 newsletters.

Co-presenter Steve Danziger has been a UC Master Gardener volunteer since 2015. Steve presents educational talks on ‘home hardening,’ firescaping and composting. In 2018 and again in 2022, Steve was elected to the Moraga Orinda Fire District Board of Directors. 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.

 


 

Gardening with Natives

Inspired to plant natives in your garden but overwhelmed by all the choices? Wondering how to water, how to prune? In this talk, we will present simple steps to select and arrange native plants.

We’ll also discuss basic maintenance to keep your garden lush and neat. Whether you’re planning a native garden from scratch or putting in a corner habitat garden, this webinar will help get you started.

Presenter Anna Wendorf is a landscape designer and plant enthusiast. She has been designing gardens since earning her degree in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley over 40 years ago. She is currently focusing her work on designing sustainable gardens throughout the Bay Area.

Anna became a UC Master Gardener volunteer in 2020, and has been working on pollinator gardens, volunteer training, and plant ID classes. She spends her free time perusing plant and biology books and playing in her garden.

 


 

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 an