Mini-College Classes

Mini-College Schedule of Classes and Events

Classes are divided into six sessions.  Sessions 1-3 will be held July 12, 2014.  Sessions 4-6 will be held on July 13, 2014.  A keynote address will be delivered at the annual awards banquet, on July 11, 2014.

Classes follow one of four tracks:  ornamentals, edibles, problem solving and general interest.  Hands-on workshops will also be offered.  Choose a single track, or choose a different track for each session.  You're sure to find the classes that meet your needs!

Banquet Keynote

July 11, 2014

  • Sharon Collman (WSU) will present our keynote address, entitled '40 Years of Growing Together'

Session Description:  In 1972, the Master Gardener Program was conceived by Dr. David Gibby and Bill Scheer.  It was officially “born” in 1973 in King and Pierce Counties, with the first call for volunteers and a comprehensive training program. When Dr. Gibby left extension, Sharon Collman became the foster mom.  In the infant years, early training and nurturing set the foundation for its growth and development.  George Pinyuh adopted the program during the difficult “teen” (e.g. budget reduction) years.  Now the program has matured and had kids all across the US and in the in countries around the world. The Master Gardener Program has evolved from a Q&A program to a proactive program addressing county issues.

Speaker Bio:  Sharon Collman has been working on community and commercial horticulture with WSU Extension in King and Snohomish counties.  She was the first and third Extension Liaision to EPA working on water quality and pesticides issues, and then the regional IPM Coordinator for Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.  She has written over 75 bulletins and her photographs have been published in the Ortho Problem Solver and other books.  She has won a number of awards for her programs, but mostly she is totally committed to the good that extension and extension volunteers can do as volunteer community educators.


July 12, 2014

  • Kathy Clark (Benton County Mater Gardener):  Drought-Tolerant Plants for Dry Shade. (Session 1, 10:15am-11:30am):  Reduce water use in shady areas while keeping your landscape attractive year-round. Explore a wide variety of shade-loving, easy-care perennials, shrubs, and groundcovers that grow well in our region with little summer water.
  • Maurice Horn (of Joy Creek Nursery):  Great Plant Picks: Small Space, Big Impact (Session 2, 1:15pm-2:30pm):  Gardeners are often troubled when planting smaller gardens.  They are unsure what plants can be used to give a small space both structure and drama.  In 2013, the Great Plant Picks Program published a handy list of trees, shrubs and perennials selected with these gardeners in mind.  The presenter will introduce the program and the plants on their 2013 list.  Using his own experiences designing and growing in small spaces, he will offer tips for getting the most out of this resource.   
  • Alec Kowalewski (Assistant Professor and Turfgrass Specialist at OSU):  Sustainable Lawn Maintenance (Session 3, 2:45pm-4:00pm):  Learn the proper implementation of primary cultural practices (mowing, fertilization and irrigation) and how these practices relate to a well-integrated lawn-maintenance program, which will ultimately improve sustainability by reducing pesticide inputs.  The presenter will also discuss alternative ground cover and eco-lawn mixtures; synthetic vs. organic fertilizer sources; effective, herbicide-alternative, weed-control methods; and, finally, methods to maximize the effectiveness of herbicides and thus limit their use. 
July 13, 2014
  • Karen Hobson (of Garland Nursery):  Winter Interest in the Garden (Session 4, 10:15am-11:30am):  Many gardeners shop in the spring for interesting plants and forget to provide enough interest in their garden fall through winter. This class will highlight ways to keep your garden beautiful every month of the year.
  • Owen Dell, ASLA (Principle at Owen Dell and Associates):  Fossil-Fuel-Free Landscaping: Horticutlure for a Very Different Future (Session 5, 1:15pm-2:30pm):  Our dependence on fossil fuels for the creation and care of gardens and landscaping is not a necessity, just a bad habit.  The time has come for society to wean itself off oil, for many reasons, and gardening is no exception.  The wise garden enthusiast and the savvy professional can redefine existing practices to make the transition to fossil-fuel-free landscaping.  Indeed, fossil-fuel-free is the "Next Big Thing" in horticulture.
  • Katherine Johnson (Columbia County Master Gardener):  Roses: Pruning and Care (Session 6, 3:00pm-4:30pm):  Does the thought of growing roses scare you?  Do you fret that their maintenance and upkeep will be just too much?  Don’t let rose care worries stop you from enjoying these amazing beauties.  Let this rose care expert teach you how easy it is to plant, care for, and prune roses.


July 12, 2014

  • Bernadine Strik (Professor and Berry Crops Specialist at OSU):  Berries for Home Gardens ~ New Varieties and Tips for Successful Growing (Session 1, 10:15am-11:30am): In this class, you will learn information on the new strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry varieties to watch for and key tips for helping to ensure success from planting to pruning, as well as growing in containers. Bring your questions!
  • Jim Myers (Professor and Vegetable Breeder at OSU):  Northwest Vegetable Varieties and Creating Culinary Treasures (Session 2, 1:15pm-2:30pm):  Along with a national surge in interest in fresh and local foods has come a concentrated interest in taste, nutrition and quality. Leading the pack, some of the most influential chefs have discovered plant breeding and what it can do to help them create new and novel cuisine. This presentation will describe ongoing efforts of the OSU Vegetable Breeding Program to develop vegetables with better nutrition and novel quality and taste attributes.
  • Anita Azarenko (Associate Dean, Professor and Tree Fruit Specialist at OSU):  New Fruit Tree Varieties and Growing Systems (Session 3, 2:45pm-4:00pm):  Learn about some tricks to grow good-tasting and quality fruit in Oregon, including varieties that do well in our cooler climates.  You’ll hear about some sustainable growing practices for apples, peaches, cherries, and apricots!  Also get good advice on how to care for and nurture those trees.

July 13, 2014

  • Rose-Marie Nichols McGee (of Nichol's Garden Nursery):  Heirloom Vegetables: Growing and Selecting for Success in the PNW (Session 4, 10:15am-11:30am):  Heirloom varieties are part of the fun and delight of gardening. You hear promises of tomatoes so full of flavor and  juice you won't care if all that goodness drips down your chin. There are heirlooms of almost every known fruit and vegetable. Knowing how to select the best for your own NW garden is important if you want onions that form large bulbs and tomatoes that produce before September. The right choices can provide flavor, productivity ,and a charming stroll through gardening history. Let's talk about the winners long appreciated and some newly rediscovered.
  • Darren Morgan (of Shonnard's Nursery):  Lowdown on the Vegetable Underground (Session 5, 1:15pm-2:30pm):  Learn how to plant, harvest, and store root vegetables. The presenter will discuss  best varieties for the Pacific Northwest and also soil preparation, feeding, pest prevention, and many other tips and pointers for growing sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, parsnips, and more!
  • Darren Morgan (of Shonnard's Nursery):  Extending the Growing Season (Session 6, 3:00pm-4:30pm):  With the right tools and techniques you can prolong your growing season and increase your harvest significantly.  Learn how to get an early start on the garden, including when to plant spring crops and tips on how to start as early as possible.  Pick up  ideas for how to optimize your space by succession planting and interplanting.  Lastly, learn about fall harvest, winter harvest, and over-wintering gardening.

Problem Solving

July 12, 2014

  • Jeff Cope (of Home Grown Gardens):  Pruning . . . Timing is Everything! (Session 1, 10:15am-11:30am):  Some gardeners are too quick to grasp the pruners and ruin a plant.  Others are afraid to pick up the pruners to prune when, and how, a plant needs it. Learn criteria for determining the best time to prune fruit trees, flowering shrubs, and a few plants in between. And learn a little about technique, as well.  Come gain the knowledge and confidence to prune at the right time.
  • Vaughn Walton (Associate Professor and Extension Entomologist at OSU):  Invasive Insects in Home Gardens (Session 2, 1:15pm-2:30pm):  Learn about two particularly problematic pests:  Spotted Wing Drosophila and Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.  Learn how to spot them and what you can do about them.
  • Lee Powell (of Garland Nursery):  Planning a Deer-Resistant Garden (Session 3, 2:45pm-4:00pm):  Many gardeners fight a never-ending battle against deer. Come see and hear about good examples of deer-resistant plant combinations and designs.  You'll also learn about products and strategies to help get plants established in deer country.

July 13, 2014

  • Christoph Thomas (Associate Professor of Athmospheric Sciences at OSU):  Basics of the Changing Climate and its Impact on the Pacific Northwest (Session 4, 10:15am-11:30am):  This presentation will be organized into two parts: The first part will cover the basic physical processes causing the changing climate. Topics will include the heat budget of the Earth's climate system and an explanation of the natural and man-made greenhouse effects. In the second part, a summary will be given illustrating the already occurring and anticipated changes of the climate in the Pacific Northwest with a focus on plant growth and changes in seasonality. There will be ample opportunities to ask questions during the entire presentation, so please bring your questions!
  • Sarah Kleeger (of Adaptive Seeds):  Seed Saving, Seed Stewardship and Seed Sovereignty (Session 5, 1:15pm-2:30pm):  Seed Saving is as easy as saving seeds! We'll examine the basics of seed saving including cross-pollination, population sizes, and isolation distance, and when it might make sense to break the rules. Processing and storage will also be covered. This course is aimed at  folks that are (or want to be) casual seed savers,  backyard plant breeders, or something in between.
  • Gail Langellotto (Associate Professor and Community Horticulture Specialist at OSU):  Insect Sex (Session 6, 3:00pm-4:30pm):  Insects are capable of highly complex courting, mating and parenting behaviors, despite having a collection of neurons in place of a brain.  Nuptial gifts, maternal care, male ornaments as honest advertisers of health and fitness, female choice and even traumatic insemination.  Insect sex is stranger than you could imagine.  This class may not help you better diagnose plant problems, but it may change the way you look at the natural world, for quite some time.

General Interest

July 12, 2014

  • Dan Louma (Assistant Professor, Senior Research of Forest, Ecosystems and Society at OSU):  Mushrooms and Truffles in the Pacific Northwest (Session 1D, 10:15am-11:30am):  Expand your understanding of the central role that fungi play in the dynamic life of a forest. This program will provide basic information about mushroom and truffle ecology and explore the interrelationships among fungi, plants, and animals in Pacific Northwest forests. The beneficial roles of certain root‐dwelling fungi (some of which produce choice edible mushrooms and truffles) will be emphasized.
  • Jim Hermes (Associate Professor of Animal and Rangeland Sciences at OSU):  Backyard Poultry ~ from Hobby to Commercial Production (Session 1E, 10:15am-11:30am):  Growing small flocks of poultry has become more popular in recent years.  The presenter will discuss poultry breeds, management, economics and feeding of small flocks of poultry for the hobbyist and small commercial producer. The emphasis will be on egg production but meat production will also be addressed when appropriate.
  • Marielu Eager (Benton County Master Gardener):  German-Style Raised Bed Gardening (Session 2, 1:15pm-2:30pm):  Learn how to use garden wastes (cuttings and trimmings) to build a German-style, composting, raised bed. Such a bed enables you to plant and harvest produce early because of the bottom heat and nutrients provided by decaying organic matter and because of the superior plant protection and drainage the bed provides.  An optional afternoon tour of the presenter's own raised bed gardens is available to those who attend this session. 
  • Linda Hardison (Assistant Professor, Senior Research and Director of the Oregon Flora Project at OSU): The Oregon Flora Project ~ Natives, Ecosystems and More (Session 3, 2:45pm-4:00pm):  Over 75% of Oregon’s approximately 4,600 vascular plants (wildflowers, grasses, trees, shrubs, and ferns) that grow without cultivation are native to our state. The Oregon Flora Project (OFP) is a comprehensive resource detailing all vascular plants. The OFP website ( provides an interactive mapping tool to display where plants naturally occur, a photo gallery with multiple images of almost every species, and a checklist tracking the scientific names and taxonomic relationships of all plants.  Having accurate information about plants supports many different pursuits, including landscaping and gardening, land use policy development, restoration efforts, and biodiversity studies. Learn how the Oregon Flora Project can boost your plant knowledge!

July 13, 2014

  • Carolyn Breece (Faculty Research Assistant in Apiculture at OSU): The Buzz About Beekeeping (Session 4D, 10:15am-11:30am):  Honey bees and gardeners are best friends: bees pollinate our fruits and vegetables and share their delicious honey, and we provide flowering plants for their forage.  Whether you are interested in keeping bees or just want to learn about them, this session will cover the plight of the honey bee, bee biology, beekeeping basics, and what you can do as a gardener to maintain your friendship with honey bees.
  • Bill Proebsting (Retired Professor of Horticulture at OSU): Gardening for Birds? Think Ecological Diversity (Session 4E, 10:15am-11:30am):  Basic principles of landscape ecology can be applied to improve the attractiveness of your garden for birds and insects. Woodland gardens will be the principal context for this talk, but the approach presented can be applied to any landscape type and garden size. The key take-home message for maximizing the bird potential of your garden is to develop structural and biological diversity using native plants.

Hands-On Workshops

***Please Note: Most workshops require a materials fee in addition to the daily Mini-College registration fee. Because of their participatory nature, workshops can accommodate only a limited number of people (10 - 20) and many span two session time slots.

July 12, 2014

  • Marcia Sherry (Yamhill County Master Gardener): Making a Succulent Kissing Ball (Workshop #1, 12:15pm-2:30pm):  Have some fun learning how to make a hanging, succulent globe out of wire baskets, step by step.  First there will be a demonstration and then a “hands-on” project.  Yes, you will be playing in the dirt!  Each participant will take home their own, beautifully planted, kissing ball to enhance their garden.  All materials will be provided including plant material.  Please bring your own gardening gloves and small pruners or scissors.  A small box (approx. 14” x 14” x 14”) would be useful to safely transport it home.  This workshop requires an additional materials fee.  Limited to 18 participants.  [THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN FILLED, AS OF JUNE 9, 2014]
  • James Cassidy (Senior Instructor in Soil Physics and Organic Agriculture at OSU): The Physics of Soil (Workshop #2, 1:15pm-4:00pm in the Soils Lab):  Learn how to estimate soil texture and soil color which allows the estimation of SO much else about your soil - water retention, drainage, aeration, CEC (cation exchange capacity), aggregation potential, erosion potential, temperature, moisture content and more!!!  For this workshop, please bring a 1-2 cup sample of mineral soil from your garden!  This means, dig down 6-10 inches below the mulch layer (if present). This workshop will be held in the OSU Soils Lab, about a 10-minute walk from the LaSells Stewart Center.  Limited to 20 participants.
  • Ryan Wolverton (of Soul 2 Grow): Grow Your Own (GYO) Oyster Mushrooms (Workshop #3, 2:45pm-4:00pm):  Workshop attendees will participate in a hands on workshop to grow their own Oyster mushrooms. The workshop leader will guide the process and explain the purpose of the actions.  Participants will get to take their own personally crafted Oyster mushroom project home for a chance to put what they learn to use.  This workshop requires an additional materials fee.  Limited to 10 participants. [THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN FILLED, AS OF JUNE 9, 2014]

July 13, 2014

  • Rich Little (Linn County Master Gardener): Build a Bee House, Save our Native Bees and Preserve our Plant Communities (Workshop #4, 1:15pm-4:15pm, with a break):  Our local native bee expert will discuss the different types of bee nesting systems and how to best install them. And you get to select one to build for yourself! Learn about the Native Bee Project and the opportunity to participate with your new bee nesting house. If you choose to do so, you will receive ongoing information about helping your bee nesting system play a critical role in helping our native bees. This workshop requires an additional materials fee.  Limited to 20 participants.  [THIS WORKSHOP HAS BEEN FILLED, AS OF JUNE 19, 2014]
  • Bob Stebbins (of the Home Orchard Society) Basic Fruit Tree Propagation (Workshop #5, 1:15pm-4:15pm, with a break):  Come out to the orchard for a propagation adventure! A long-time horticulturist ad orchardist will teach you the basics of fruit tree propagation, including both budding and grafting. He will also discuss rootstock requirements and inter species compatibility.  And even better, you'll have the opportunity to practice grafting techniques on site under his expert tutelage!  This workshop will be held at Brooklane Orchard, about 1 mile from LaSells Stewart Center.  Becasue this workshop will be held off-site an on private property, participants will be asked to sign an individual wiaver of liability form prior to participating.  The workshop requires an additional materials fee.  Limited to 20 participants.
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