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Class Topics

Keynote Speaker

janet sluis
As a sixth-generation member of a Dutch seed family, Janet Sluis suspects that plants are in her DNA. By the age of six she was hybridizing ranunculus and growing kale in her garden. After studying marketing, horticulture, and agricultural business, Sluis spent twenty years in production and product development for wholesale plant nurseries in California. Today, she evaluates, writes, and speaks about new plant introductions and how to use them in a garden setting. She also works with breeders, hybridizers, and nurseries all over the world in search of worthy plants.  Her plant collection test garden is shown in Kathy Brenzel’s latest book The Sunset Western Garden Book of Easy Care Plantings. When she is not traveling, you can find her battling slugs in her organic Berkeley test garden.

Session 1: 10:00-10:55

Lose Your Lawn: You'll learn about the four major ways to get rid of your lawn with special emphasis on the Sheet Mulching method. You will be given step-by-step instruction on how to sheet mulch and how to  plant in the same day.

Attracting Honey and Native Bees: Learn about different species of native and honey bees, components of a honey bee hive and plants that can attract bees to your yard.

Learning Landscape Walk and Talk: Take a guided tour of the Learning Landscape (our demonstration garden) and learn about the sustainable, Delta-friendly gardening concepts and plants the master gardeners have used.  We will share what has worked well and what did not work well. Class will be outdoors, so please consider bringing a hat and sunscreen.

Master Food Preserver - Spices: Spice up your palette. Learn about fun pepper and spice blends with the UC Master Food Preservers. Your mouth will be bursting with flavor.

Session 2: 11:00-11:55

Home Orchard Basics: Why have a home orchard? The obvious reason is home food production with the hobby and exercise experience that come with it. Fruit trees, their form, fruit, bark, and foliage, may also serve an aesthetic or decorative role in the home setting. Sometimes trees are simply nostalgic, sparking memories from childhood or past. The home orchard can be a fruitful endeavor.

Keeping Plants Alive During a Drought: The California drought is a very serious issue that impacts all Californians. Plants that do not receive enough water due to drought or governmental restrictions aimed at water conservation will eventually show signs of water stress. Learn how to keep you plants alive and healthy during a drought.

Seed Saving 101: Gardeners save seeds for many reasons, including money savings, seed security and consistent quality. Learn the basics in seed saving your favorites from the garden.

Master Food Preserver - All Dried Up:  Tired of jams and jellies? Freezer too small? Looking for a way to preserve your bumper crop this season... Try dehydrating. Preserve flavor color and nutrients with the UC Master Food Preservers.

Session 3: 1:20-2:15

Rain Water Harvesting in Urban Landscapes: In this class, you will learn various methods of collecting rain, and creating a rain garden. It can be done very low-tech, doesn't cost much and is applicable at small-scale with a minimum of specific expertise or knowledge. Now all we need is some rain!

Lose Your Lawn (Repeat class): You'll learn about the four major ways to get rid of your lawn with special emphasis on the Sheet Mulching method. You will be given step-by-step instruction on how to sheet mulch and how to  plant in the same day.

Virtual Toolbox: There is a wealth of garden information on the Internet but how do you know what to trust? We will explore UC Garden based sites that will help you in your own gardening adventures.

Master Food Preserver - Butters: Not all butters come from a cow. Learn about other butters you can make at home with the UC Master Food Preservers.

Session 4:  2:20-4:00 
Classes in this session will all include a hands-on component     

Healthy Soils: The health of your soil determines the health of your plants. The success of your garden depends on making healthy garden soil. The more you can do to keep your soil healthy, the more productive your garden will be and the higher the quality of your crops.

Landscape Design Basics: Whether you plan on "borrowing ideas" or plan on creating your own landscaping design, it's  helpful to have a basic understanding of the principles of landscape design.

Irrigation in the Home Landscape:

Master Food Preserver - Chutneys:  Come and be introduced to the wide world of chutney. In this hands-on workshop you will make and take home a jar of Golden Gossip Chutney.  There will be an additional $10.00 fee collected for this class to cover material costs. Participants will make and take their own chutney.Irrigation in the Home Landscape