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Cabbage Plant

Class Schedule

The presentation by this year's 'Principal Speaker' will be available by recording from March 20 to April 18 for your viewing in case you missed the live presentation.  A link will be sent to all registrants.

All presentations listed below, primarily given by regional gardening experts, will be available to view on your own schedule from March 20 to May 31 and will cover many topics essential to developing your own sustainable garden.  Registrants to this event will be emailed a link to access the presentations.  


Susan Mulvihill

Organic Control of Vegetable Garden Insect Pests

Susan Mulvihill will share her top 10 tips for keeping your vegetable plants healthy so they willbe productive and better able to fend off insect attacks. Then she’ll focus on identifying and dealing with

some of the most commonly-encountered damaging insects through organic methods and strategies. 

BIO:Susan Mulvihill is the author of two books – “The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook” and “The Vegetable Garden Problem Solver Handbook” – and co-author of “The Northwest Gardener’s Handbook.” She is also the longtime Sunday garden columnist for The Spokesman-Review newspaper and has been a Spokane County Master Gardener for over 20 years. While Susan loves all types of gardening, her primary area of expertise is in edible gardening and she encourages all gardeners to use organic methods. In addition to her popular website and blog,, she posts about gardening daily on Facebook and Instagram, and has shot over 400 gardening how-to videos for her YouTube channel ( Her motto is “Everyone can grow a garden!”

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Brian E Jackson

Gardening Without Peat

Peat moss has been the primary constituent in soilless growing media (substrates) since the middle of the twentieth century. Peat has exceptional physical, chemical, hydrological, and biological properties that make it well suited for growing plants in container systems. Despite the wonders of peat, there are significant environmental concerns related to the extraction of peat moss from bogs throughout the northern US and Canada. If peat usage is to be reduced, we have much work to do to identify suitable alternatives. This presentation will present the latest scientific findings regarding the sustainability of peat extraction and use and also discuss peat alternatives and the pro's and con's around their successful adoption and sustainability.  irrigation systems save water and can be set up to save time and energy!  We will discuss drip irrigation system components and function for design, installation, and maintenance.  

BIO:Brian is a professor and Director of the Horticultural Substrates Lab at NC State University. He has studied and researched soilless growing media for horticultural crop production since 2003 with an emphasis on peat alternatives and new product development. Brian works closely with growing media producers and manufacturers in North America as well as around the globe. He frequently writes and speaks on various topics relating to problems, trends, and innovations in the growing media industry.

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Nathaniel Stacey

The Microbiome of Soil Health

Most people are aware now that all the microscopic organisms that live in the soil are key to cycling the nutrients, forming soil structure, controlling water movement, and even increasing plant health and productivity.  But HOW do they do all that?  We will spend some time talking about the complex mechanisms by which the soil communities not only live in the soil, but actually create the "living soils" that we know as healthy and productive ecosystems.

BIO:Nathan Stacey is the Director of the Farm Program at Tilth Alliance.  As a member of the farm team, he develops and delivers programming that fosters farmer-to-farmer learning and relationships.   Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Washington State University’s, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.  He has a Ph.D. in Soil Science from Washington State University and conducted field research that evaluated various recycled organic materials as soil amendments.  Nate frequently creates and participates in educational programming for farmers, gardeners, and professionals and is particularly interested in understanding and improving urban soil health.

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Ben Peterson

Firewise Gardening

Wildfires have become increasingly more frequent and devastating to our communities and natural resources in recent years. Applying Firewise techniques and principles in our neighborhoods and around our homes can help mitigate devastating home and structure loss.

This presentation will help homeowners living in the wildland urban interface apply and implement Firewise principles to the home and property with an emphasis on the Home Ignition Zone.


The Home Ignition Zone or HIZ is a critical area around a home that if constructed and maintained correctly using Firewise principles will substantially reduce potential of home ignition during and after a wildfire has passed through.

Because it is common to aesthetically garden and landscape within a home’s HIZ we will focus on proper plant material, size, spacing, and location. We will also cover the use of noncombustible landscaping materials in this zone.

BIO:  With a passion for the natural world and a Degree in Natural resources, forester and certified arborist Ben Peterson works for Spokane Conservation District and has 10 + years of experience doing Firewise home site assessments and teaching homeowners about practices they can implement to have their home/property better survive a wildfire. 

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Kris Moberg-Hendron

Waterwise Landscaping

We all want to reduce our water bill and minimize the time required to maintain a beautiful landscape.  Both presenters will share clever ideas, helpful resources, and research-based information that will teach them how to create a handsome landscape, protect natural resources, and reduce maintenance chores using appropriate irrigation and plant choices. Topics will include turf removal, drip irrigation installation, and drought tolerant plant choices.

BIO: Kris Moberg-Hendron is a Spokane County Master Gardener volunteer who focuses on encouraging the use of native plants in home landscapes to support local invertebrate and bird populations, as well as to improve the local environment and reduce summer water use. She

loves sharing her knowledge because she knows there is an amazing variety in local native plants that create beautiful landscapes using a fraction of the resources required by traditional landscapes.


Kyle Merritt

BIO: Kyle Merritt has worked for the City of Spokane for five years and in water conservation for three, managing the SpokaneScape Turf-Removal Program.  Partnering with amazing community members that are passionate about water conservation and environmental stewardship are just one of the perks of his job.

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Sherrie Villmark

Pollinator Pathways

Learn some basics about pollinators themselves before diving into the creation of habitat.  We will cover three main principles of high-impact habitat:  using natives, chemicals-free gardening, and staggered blooming.  We will also talk about how to design and prepare your parking strip or yard for what will become a beautiful, active, thriving meadow scape that can bring invertebrate wildlife to your home.

BIO: Sherrie Villmark has spent the last 20 years in community education and mobilization and has run the project Pollinator Parkways as a volunteer for seven years.  Sherrie has worked with homeowners, mostly in Portland (but also in Newport) to flip nearly 20,000 square feet of lawn and gravel into pollinator habitat.  She has designed spaces for nearly seventy homeowners.

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Gloria Jean Baca

Growing Residential Food Forests

Sustainable gardening practices are a strategy to increase access to food sources on an individual level, as well as in urban and suburban communities.  Ideas for creating edible abundance on a residential level or on a larger scale are presented.  Examples of community gardens and cooperative garden projects that have created access to fresh produce in urban food deserts are discussed.

BIO: Gloria Jean Baca became a Spokane County Master Gardener in 2020 to share the joy of gardening with her community.  Her special interests include restorative agriculture, the ethnobotany of plants, native plants, and helping to grow residential food forests. 

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Pat Munts

Changing Climate and Changing Gardening

Changing climate is a reality and gardening will also have to change to meet the challenge. We will start our talk with a definition of what changing climate is and the impacts we are already seeing globally and locally. Then we will discuss how the shifts in heat, cold, and drought might affect your garden. We will end with some strategies to prepare for and then manage your garden. These might include, selecting new varieties of plants, managing water in the garden, detecting and managing new insect, disease and weed pests that are moving with the climate and new styles of gardening that are emerging to meet the change.

BIO:  From her base in Spokane, Washington, Pat Munts writes about gardening and natural history in the Inland Northwest east of the Cascade Mountains where summers are hot and dry, and winters are cold and snowy. Pat shares her gardening adventures in a weekly column for the Spokesman-Review’s Voices section and has written for numerous local and national publications. With Susan Mulvihill, she published the Northwest Gardeners Handbook (Cool Springs), the first gardening book to fully address conditions on both sides of the Cascades. Pat retired from WSU Spokane County Extension after 15 years and was instrumental in establishing community gardens in the region. She is now doing landscape consulting as Pat Munts Garden Coach.

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Paradox in the Garden:  Do Science and Art Collide, or Collude?

This presentation will explore how our goals and expectations as gardeners may be at odds with the biological truths of natural systems, and how these differences can be recognized and addressed through the use of native plants to build resilient and sustainable gardens that also satisfy our souls.

Robin O'Quinn

BIO:I am an avid, lifelong gardener and botanist. Before I became a biology professor I worked as a professional gardener in San Francisco. My research specialty is plant systematics (i.e., evolution, taxonomy, morphology and biogeography), however most recently I’ve been interested in better understanding how to propagate perennial native plants for restoration purposes. 


Duane Zbranek

Seed Saving 

Learn the basics of saving seeds so you can plant them in next year’s garden, share them with friends, or even a local seed library. Some plants are better than others for seed saving so you’ll learn which plant types are best and what the difference is between a self-pollinating, hybrid, and heirloom plant and why it matters.  This presentation will include guidelines for when to harvest seeds and how to store them to ensure you have viable seeds ready for the following season.  Once you learn a few techniques, you will have more free seeds available than you can imagine.

BIO: After retiring from the U.S. Army, Texas-native Duane Zbranek moved to Spokane and graduated from Spokane Community College with a degree in greenhouse management and small farms production in 2016. Zbranek currently works for Vets on the Farm, a veteran-focused agricultural education program, as the Greenhouse Manager. He's passionate about regenerative farming and growing nutrient-dense food for his community. 

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