SOLD OUT – Add your name to the interest for 2023 to receive advanced notice of registration – 2023 Interest List


Program Overview

Following in the footsteps of Linda Gilkeson’s Year Round Harvest program, this course will teach participants everything they need to know to produce food crops in their backyard, front yard, balcony or boulevard. The course is a strong foundation for beginner gardeners and also home gardeners with some experience. 

Our local climate allows for a long growing season and we are fortunate in that we can grow edible crops for most of the year. There will be a strong emphasis on selecting varieties for our local growing conditions and how to make the best of  small urban spaces. Participants will learn how to plan a food garden, grow from seed and how to grow various food plants including fruits and vegetables. Harvesting, storage and seed collection will also be covered.

The approach will be a focus on plant health, building healthy soil and integrated pest and disease management. There will also be discussions on coping with changing climatic conditions and gardening in harmony with nature, including birds, pollinators and soil ecology. Participants will also learn ways to contribute to community food production and contribute to local food security.

Classes will be held one Sunday a month from January to October at 1pm – 4pm.
Classes will be in the classroom at the Gardens at HCP and online depending on provincial health orders. 

Instructor Biographies

Lead Instructor Bio: Theresa Heinekey
Theresa started farming on Vancouver Island in 2013, after graduating from Dalhousie University with a Masters in Resource and Environmental Management. She fell in love with the local food movement while living in Halifax and going to the bustling farmers markets every Saturday. When she moved back to the West Coast she was eager to get her hands into the soil. Until recently she has been managing Seeds of the Revolution, the Saanich Organics seed company. Theresa stepped away from farming at the end of the 2021 season, and is now…a backyard farmer! Transitioning to a desk job has had its challenges for this outdoors lady, but she is very excited to be growing food for herself and her family, and excited to learn alongside her students how to be the best backyard farmer possible. With a certificate in Organic Seed Saving from the Canadian Organic Growers, a Master Gardener Certificate from Gaia College, and many years of experience farming in our area, Theresa brings a wealth of knowledge to the classroom. She is excited to share her skills with her students, and hopefully learn a few new gardening tips from them as well!   

Instructor Bio: Ryan Senechal
Ryan Senechal is an Arborist and Urban Forestry professional originally educated in Urban Arboriculture at Humber College in Toronto. Ryan is currently a Master’s of Urban Forestry Leadership student at University of British Columbia and has maintained credentials from the ISA and TCIA for over a decade.  He has instructed Arboriculture subjects for professionals since 2008 and through community education at HCP since 2009.  Course delivery is informed by industry best practices and through his observations in practicing Arboriculture and Urban Forestry in the Pacific Northwest, in the Greater Toronto Area, and in England.

Instructor Bio: Linda Gilkeson
Linda’s comprehensive gardening bookBackyard Bounty: The Complete Guide to year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest, became a BC best seller and has just been republished in a new, considerably expanded edition. It is also the text book for this program. She continues to self-publish books for local gardeners, most recently Resilient Gardens: Pollinator Gardens, Garlic Diseases, Pest Update. In the past she has co-authored pest management training manuals for the provincial government and organic gardening books for Rodale Press. Linda created and instructed the  popular Year Round Harvest program at the HCP for 12 years at the HCP and the Backyard Farmer Program was created using her original program as a guide.

Instructor Bio: Christina Nikolic
Christina’s background is in landscape design and gardening. She is a senior instructor at Gaia College for the Organic Master Gardener, Ecological Landscape Design, and Native Plant Knowledge courses. Christina is a SOUL Certified Organic Land Care Professional and has served on the board of directors of SOUL (Society for Organic Urban Land Care) for nearly a decade. Currently she runs The Organic Gardener’s Pantry [], retailing fine organic fertilizers, soil amendments, and beneficial microbes across Canada.

Program Delivery and Covid

This will be an in-person and in-classroom program. Depending on the situation with Covid, please be prepared to have some classes moved online via zoom or rescheduled. We hope to avoid this as much as we can, but participant and instructor safety is our number one priority and we will be following provincial guidelines to ensure this.


Registration Fee: $50
HCP Members: $565.00/Non-HCP Members: $720.00 (includes registration fee)
(Fees Include textbook & hand-outs)

Fees due by November  1, 2021

How to Register:

Registration will open early for those that have been on the waiting list for the Year Round Harvest program which is no longer available.
*SOLD OUT!* Add your name to the waitlist by calling 250 479 6162 or online  HERE.

Program Schedule:

The schedule is tentative for the 2022 program and will be confirmed closer to the time.

All Sundays 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm

January 23: Planning the Garden and Sowing Seeds
Instructor: Theresa Heinekey

  • Garden location
  • Sun and water requirements
  • Bed design.
  • Planting plan (including for small spaces)
  • Crop rotation.
  • Starting seeds
  • Planting Plan

February 27: Building Healthy Soil
Instructor: Christina Nikolic

  • Determining soil type
  • Troubleshooting common issues
  • Improving soil health and ecology
  • Organic soil amendments
  • Composting basics

March 27: The Spring Garden
Instructor: Theresa Heinekey

  • Transplanting, hardening off & cold protection
  • Intensive planting methods that produce the most in the smallest space.
  • Containers, greenhouses, tunnels
  • How to grow cabbage and onion family crops, lettuce and greens, carrots and other roots.
  • Encouraging pollinators and supporting wildlife

April 10: Backyard Orchard I
Instructor: Ryan Senechal

  • Tree fruit culture: planning and optimizing for less intensive inputs and sustainable yields
  • Basic tree and shrub biology
  • Introduction to training, pruning, and cultural practices

May 15: The Summer Garden
Instructor: Theresa Heinekey

  • Summer seeding
  • Plant supports
  • Dealing with heat – watering & mulching
  • How to grow tomatoes,  peppers, eggplants, corn, beans, squash & cucumbers

June 12: Insects, Weeds & Diseases
Instructor: Linda Gilkeson

  • Identifying common problems
  • Preventing pest and disease problems
  • Natural control methods and easy weed management
  • How to attract beneficial insects

July 10: Planting for Winter and Basic Seed Saving
Instructor: Theresa Heinekey

  • When to plant for successful winter crops
  • Fitting crops into the summer garden
  • Pollination basics; easy seed saving methods for common crops
    Growing resilient gardens in a changing climate, preventing crop disorders.

August 14 : Preserving the Harvest
Instructor:  Rebecca Jen & Theresa Heinekey

  • Curing and storing onions, winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes. 
  • Storing tree fruit.
  • Preserves 
  • Freezing and dehydrating as a way to store food 
  • How to contribute to community food production and contribute to local food security.

September 11: Backyard Orchard II
Instructor: Ryan Senechal

  • Fruit tree/shrub establishment care
  • Strategies for restorative pruning and training
  • Pruning and training practice

October 23: Preparing for Winter and Review
Instructor: Theresa Heinekey

  • Cloches, coldframes and winter covers; mulching & staking.
  • Managing greenhouse & containers in winter. 
  • Cover cropping