Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, September 18, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 11


 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 18, 2021 






When one is driving along the suburban streets of Duarte, you’re close to the mountains, 
but not that far from the 210 Freeway. Clearly, you know you’re not in farmland. 
And as one approaches the Hyke residence, there’s no lawn – just lots of native plants – but still no indication 
that you’re entering a little farming operation. 

“Welcome to Hyke Farms,” shouts Daniel Hyke with a smile, welcoming me to a short tour of his backyard 
farming operations. “Hyke Farms may be the tiniest farm in America,” according to Hyke. What’s the 
difference between a “farm” and a “garden”? Who knows? 

“I don’t call it a garden,” explains Hyke, “because gardens are for amateurs who want a distraction from 
their daily routines. What we’ve got going here is serious business.” He continues, “I’d had this micro-farm 
going for over 20 years, mostly growing just tomatoes,” he explains. Then, on a fluke, Hyke decided for 
the first time to plant a winter garden, something which can be done in Southern California because of 
the mild winters. “I planted four varieties of lettuce, spinach, cilantro, radishes, broccoli, turnips, carrots, 
peas, and kept a couple of bushes of cherry tomatoes going,” he explains, pointing to the raised beds. “It 
was a real experiment,” says Hyke, smiling. 

He started the winter garden in mid-November of 2019. Three months later the worst pandemic in over a 
100 years hit. “Suddenly, my wife Thuy (pronounced too-we) and I were afraid to leave the house. We were 
not about to head out to the local supermarket,” he explained. “Luckily, a year before, we had stockpiled a 
50 pound bag of rice and two 30 pound bags of pinto beans in the garage.” Hyke’s face lights up when he 
adds that “that first winter garden had been a huge success and was already producing ingredients for a 
large salad every night for the two of us. I couldn’t believe my luck in planting it just fourteen weeks before 
Covid hit.” 

When the Hykes began their backyard farm, they had just four small plots. The farming operation has 
since expanded to 13 plots ranging in size from one square meter to three square meters. Now they have 
23 square meters under cultivation, not including four fruit trees and two herb pots. That’s 250 square feet, 
or a square 16 feet on a side. According to Hyke, that’s the tiniest farm in America. 

“I use high-intensity farming, which means I plant my crops much closer together than most professionals 
recommend. I get away with it because of my soil. Soil is everything when it comes to growing food. I 
probably have the most productive, per square foot, farmland in the country,” declares Hyke. 

Hyke began his gardening career when he was in the fourth grade in Dallas, Texas. “My father let me plow 
up half of the backyard. I was only 10 years old and I was growing corn, cantaloupe, beans, everything! 
I loved it. Buying the seeds and looking at the little maps on the back. Plowing the soil and getting dirty. 
Watering. Watching the baby seedlings pop up. Harvesting the food that I had grown and watching my 
family eat it,” he fondly recalls. 

Pesticides are not allowed or used on the Hyke Farm. Hyke uses 100% biological controls in stopping 
pestilence. Lizards, multiple species of insect-eating birds, ravenous ladybugs, and hard-working spiders 
all keep down the population of undesirable bugs and insects. He believes that 99% of his crops remain 
undamaged at harvest time. 

THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCALHyke is a retired school teacher who likes to think globally as he points out the environmental benefits 
of his operation. “When I want to make a salad, the food moves a few feet to my kitchen, not hundreds or 
thousands of miles across states or continents. Just think about the reduction of CO2 emissions – its huge! 
I am not relying on manufactured inorganic fertilizers or pesticides and all the mining, energy, and fossil 
fuels it takes to produce them. 

On the Hyke Farm, all the green waste from the mini farm is recycled on site, and therefore doesn’t end 
up in a landfill or at a municipal composting facility requiring the heavy use of fossil fuels. Once he got 
his farming operation well established, Hyke pointed out that it requires a lot less work and effort than he 
expected. He spends about 50 minutes per week hand-watering his plants. One hour a week is spent weeding, 
and two hours digging new compost pits and preparing newly-cleared plots for planting. 

During the recent pandemic, Hyke found that their efforts at sharing food was helpful in maintaining everyone’s 
mental and physical health. “We never made a penny from the farm, but we did a ton of bartering. 

Dan Hyke estimates that his little farm produces about 25% to 30% of all the food that him and his wife 
eat depending on the season. Hyke’s father served in World War II at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked 
and in the Battle of Midway. Says Hyke, “I am very proud of my little farm, it’s the American way you 
know – self-reliance. I hope my dad is watching.” 


Cute COSMO! We are loo

king for a home for this 


age 5 monshs! He loves to 

be held and is very ener

getic! Take him into your 

home and see yourself start 

laughing more and stressing less! We are quite positive 
Cosmo will make your life more fun and entertain-ing! 
Even better if you have another young cat! We are currently 
pairing him with another one his age, so maybe 
you’d like the two of them. That’s double cuddles and kisses 
for you! 

Pet of the Week

 One-year-old MJ is an active and playfulcat who still has that kitten energy! MJwould do best with an adopter whocan give her lots of enrichment, mentalstimulation, toys, and scratchers. Sheespecially loves wand toys. MJ loves tobe the center of attention, and would do 
best as the only pet in the home. Thistabby girl is confident and adventurous,
and can’t wait to have lots of fun with 

 The adoption fee for cats is $100. Allcat adoptions include spay or neuter,
microchip, and age-appropriate 

New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-wellness exam from VCAAnimal Hospitals, as well as a goody bag filled with information about how to carefor your pet.

 View photos of adoptable pets and schedule an adoption appointment Adoptions are by appointment only, and new adoptionappointments are available every Sunday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters byphone calls or email. 




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