The Backyard Farmer Seminar Series
Camp & Events

The Backyard Farmer Seminar Series

While Whimsy Brook Farm is primarily an equine facility, it is also a working farm with a large vegetable garden, flower gardens, rock gardens, perennial gardens, fruit trees and extensive landscaping, as well as an organic compost operation. Our Backyard Farm Seminar is suitable for both beginning and more experienced backyard farmers.

Your teachers will be Dr. Candace Benyei, and Alison Mann. Dr. Benyei is a life-time farmer, a Director and Past President of Fairfield County Farm Bureau, a former Director of Connecticut Farm Bureau, and a former President of the Fairfield County Extension Council, as well as a Redding resident for 53 years. Alison Mann is a graduate of UC Davis with a degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems.

perennial flower garden

In the Spring Backyard Farmer Seminar Series, you will learn how to best locate, create or improve, and maintain your vegetable garden and flower gardens. In our Fall Backyard Farmer Seminar Series you will learn how to acquire, plant and prune shrubs, fruit trees and specimen trees; and landscape your yard.

Because more gets done in small groups, we limit the Seminar to a maximum of 12 participants. During the cold months we will meet inside in our Group Room, and when the weather is warmer we will move outside. Please bring a survey of your property if you have one, and a note book with a pen or pencil. Once we move outside, you may also bring lunch (or buy it at the Redding Ridge Market at the top of our road) and picnic on the Farm after the seminar.

container kitchen garden

Syllabus 2024
Saturdays 11:00-1:00 | February 24 - June 8


SESSION I

February 24 vegetable & flower garden location, the planting calendar, hardiness zones

March 2 raised beds, fencing, garden planning, seed catalogues, annuals & perennials

March 9 soil types, drainage, pH, soil amendments, soil nutrition

March 16 garden tilling, seeds or sets, mulching, watering

March 23 fertilizers, lime, gypsum, magnesium, and other nutrients

shade garden

SESSION II

March 30 EASTER BREAK

April 6 planting the first seeds, kitchen gardens, container gardening

April 13 starting plants under lights, hardening off

April 20 flower garden planning, borders, the all-season flower garden

April 27 deer protection, deer resistant flowers, shrubs, and bulbs

May 4 shade gardens

deer-resistant roadside garden

SESSION III

May 11 effective weeding, mulching, & weed prevention

May 18 planting tender vegetables, hot caps, row covers

May 25 pests and pest control strategies

June 1 staking, trellises, towers, pruning tomatoes

June 8 planting second crops and fall crops

tomatoes mulched with salt hay

Spring Backyard Farmer Seminar Dates & Info

Dates and Time: Saturdays, 11-1:00

Cost: $50 per session, or $200 for five sessions paid at sign-up.

Click here to download the Backyard Farmer Seminar Registration Form.

Or for more information email us or call our Secretary, Michelle, on Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday from 9am-12:00pm at (203) 938-3760 for registration materials and to ask additional questions.