Program Updates for 2022

Linda Gilkeson has announced her retirement at the end of 2021. Linda will be greatly missed as an instructor and local garden celebrity at the HCP. Her program was exceptional and thoroughly enjoyed by all who all who were fortunate enough to take it.
We have a new food focused growing starting in 2022 which will follow in the footsteps of Linda’s Year Round Harvest program with her Backyard Bounty book as the text.

To learn more about the new program The Backyard Farmer – Urban Food Gardens, please click HERE.

2021 Year Round Harvest Program

with Linda Gilkeson

We are pleased to be able to offer the Year Round Harvest program for 2021. We have made some necessary adjustments to the program to be able to offer it safely. It is our priority to continue to provide high quality education as well as a safe learning environment for our participants, instructors and staff.

General Program Information

In 10 sessions, Linda Gilkeson will cover from seeds to harvest for large and small urban gardens. The mild winters of Coastal British Columbia make it possible to grow and harvest vegetables all year around. The benefits of growing your own food are many: the knowledge that sound and sustainable gardening practices were followed; summer gardens are economical and winter gardens even more so and learning how to provide protection from deeper cold will expand the range of what can be grown; the variety of vegetables and fruit available to the urban gardener is enormous; flavour and quality that would never be found in a supermarket; the sense of accomplishment that comes from self-sufficiency. No matter how large or how small your garden is, you will learn how to make the most of it.

What to expect for 2021

To ensure that the program is more resilient to changes brought on by Covid, we will be offering a hybrid approach. Some classes in the 2021 program will be delivered in person in a large venue with space for physical distancing and some classes will be delivered online via Zoom. Should conditions change with Covid, then we will move to a fully online program with adjustments to the schedule as needed.
With this in mind participants will need to be comfortable with using Zoom and have a computer and wifi that meets the requirements. Participants should also have some flexibility should we need to postpone, or reschedule classes (within reason) due to Covid. This may include reasons such as provincial health regulations or an instructor being ill.
Participants will also be required to comply with Covid safety protocols during in person classes. These will include hand sanitizing, physical distancing and masks where physical distancing may not be possible. These protocols are subject to change as the province updates their recommendations.
In person classes will be held at the Gardens in a room which is large enough to allow each participant their own sanitized table and ensure that physical distancing requirements are met.

Registration for 2021

Spaces are limited and precedence will be given to those who are on the interest list. Thereafter remaining spaces will be available to the general public.
Registration links will be sent out ahead of time via email on the interest list and on our website.

Registration Dates

October 1 – Registration for those on the interest list
October 12 – Registration opens for the general public


Registration Fee: $50
HCP Members: $565.00/Non-HCP Members: $720.00 (includes registration fee)
(Fees Include textbook & hand-outs)
Note: Payment deadline for fees – December 18, 2020..

Zoom FAQ’s


The schedule is tentative for the 2021 program.
*Please note which classes are in person and which classes will be online.*

All Sundays 1:15 pm to 5:15 pm
We are pleased to be able to offer the Year Round Harvest program for 2021. We have made some necessary adjustments to the program to be able to offer it safely. It is our priority to continue to provide high quality education as well as a safe learning environment for our participants, instructors and staff.

# 1 January 24: Garden Plans and Seed Starting (ZOOM CLASS) Early Sept harvest sm fmt
Garden location, sun and water requirements; bed design.
Planning the garden for year-around harvest; crop rotation.
Starting seeds, timing spring planting.

#2: February 28: Soil, Nutrients and Amendments (IN PERSON CLASS)
Soil types, liming and soil testing.
Organic amendments, making compost.
Cultivation methods.

#3: March 21: The Spring Garden (IN PERSON CLASS)
Transplanting, hardening off, cold protection.
How to grow cabbage and onion family crops, lettuce and greens, carrots and other roots.

#4: April 11: Containers, Small Gardens, Greenhouses (IN PERSON CLASS)
Growing food in containers (including citrus & sweet potatoes), greenhouses and tunnels.early-summer-garden-cover
Intensive planting methods that produce the most in the smallest space.

#5: May 9: The Summer Garden (IN PERSON CLASS)
Summer pruning & fruit thinning.
Summer seeding methods; trellising, mulching, watering.
How to grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, corn, beans, squash, cucumbers.

#6 June 13: Insects, Weeds & Diseases (ONLINE CLASS VIA ZOOM)
Preventing pest and disease problems;
identifying common problems.
Natural control methods and easy weed management.
How to attract beneficial insects.

#7 July 11: Planting for Winter & Basic Seed Saving (ONLINE CLASS VIA ZOOM)
When to plant for successful winter crops.
Fitting crops into the summer garden.
Pollination basics; easy seed saving methods for common crops.veg garden 1

#8: August 15: Preserving the Harvest (ONLINE CLASS VIA ZOOM)
Curing and storing onions, winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes. Storing tree fruit.
Growing resilient gardens in a changing climate, preventing crop disorders.

#9: September 19: Fruit Trees and Bushes (IN PERSON CLASS)
Choosing, planting and growing fruit trees, grapes, kiwi, berries.
Basic pruning methods for winter.

#10 October 24: Preparing for Winter and Review (IN PERSON CLASS)
Cloches, coldframes and winter covers; mulching & staking.
Managing greenhouse & containers in winter. Review of the 12-month garden.

Testimonials from Past Students:
“Excellent course – loved it. Enjoyed every class – Linda has a great sense of humour, entertaining & oodles of knowledge & great tips.”
“Good pace & thorough, humour tinged.”
Loved the recipes that came with every class!”
“This was the best course I have ever taken.”
“Linda is very clear, concise and prepared. Her references and email reminders are a very useful add-on to the curriculum. I really appreciate her many methods to the same ends, and economic, home made solutions to common garden issues. She is a great teacher and very encouraging.”
“Dr. Gilkeson is a fantastic instructor, very personable, extremely knowledgeable and brilliant at imparting her wisdom to the class. We laughed at every class & I am so enthusiastic about gardening following every class!”
“An excellent & informative course- as well as entertaining.”
“A really great course- material appropriate to season as this is a spaced out monthly. This is a great way to learn as there is a chance to put theory into practice & come back with questions. Linda has plenty of practical experience & high quality expert knowledge – she is down to earth, no fuss practical.”
“So, so good! Great teaching style. Awesome.”
“Linda is without question, the best teacher I have ever had, anywhere; her depth of knowledge is equaled only by her wicked sense of humour that kept each of the four-hour classes entertaining.  She is so well informed, from her personal experience in growing her own food for many years, that all questions, from all levels of gardeners, were answered with depth and clarity.  It was refreshing to learn from an instructor who truly has experienced all the pitfalls with pests and weather conditions, yet knows how to rise above the challenges and share her wisdom.  Thanks to Linda’s guidance, I had bountiful crops of a wide variety of produce all summer, and now in December I have winter crops of many nutritious vegetables that I only dreamed of growing before.  I think every student in the class agreed with me in saying that we wished the class continued for another year; we wanted more of Linda, and will take any classes she offers.”