Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 9, 2024

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MVNews this week:  Page 11


Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 9, 2024 


 [Nyerges is an educator and the author of over two dozen books including “Urban Survival 
Guide,” “Extreme Simplicity,” “Foraging Californai,” and other books. More information at]




Hyke Farms is located in nearby Duarte, in an area that doesn’t look like 

As you drive closer to the towering foothills of the Angeles National 
Forest, and turn down a typ-ical street, you finally approach the Hyke 
residence. Unlike nearly every other property, this one has no front 
lawn, just lots of native plants – but still no indication that you’re entering a little farming 

“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 me-ters. 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.”

His family moved from Dallas to Eagle Rock in 1964, and to Altadena in 1965. He and his 
wife Thuy moved from Pasadena to their nearby Duarte home in 1995.


Hyke 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.”

The whole neighborhood benefits from the Hyke Farm. Thuy Hyke loves to give away 
food to the neighbors. Onions and cilantro go to their middle-Eastern neighbors down 
the street. Lettuce and tomatoes end up at her sister’s house a few blocks away. And giant 
zucchini squash is delivered to their good friends Richard and Anna who also live in 
Duarte. Thuy enjoys sharing the abun-dance. According to her, it brings the community 

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 

Pet of the Week

Hermes is a young and 
playful two-year-old pit bull 
mix who can’t wait to meet 

 This handsome boy is fond 
of squeaky toys, treats, and 
sitting in the closest lap he 
can find. He’s a 50 pound 
lap-dog who is not afraid to 
use his powers of persuasion 
(puppy-dog eyes) to get 
the attention he so clearly 

 Hermes will keep everyone 
he meets entertained with his 
silliness. He plays a version 
of “fetch” with himself- 
tossing every toy he can find 
airborne and pouncing on 
it when it comes down. It’s 
like the canine equivalent of 

 Once he’s had enough 
playtime, Hermes will 
show off his repertoire of 
tricks. He’s very smart and 
enjoys performing 
for rewards; pets and 

 One of the staff 
members at 
Pasadena Humane 
has sponsored the 
adoption fee for 
Hermes, so his lucky 
family can spend 
that saved cash on 
some more squeaky 
toys and treats!

 The normal adoption fee 
for dogs is $150. All dog 
adoptions include spay or 
neuter, microchip, and age-
appropriate vaccines. 

All dog adoptions include 
spay or neuter, microchip, 
and age-appropriate 

 New adopters will receive a 
complimentary health-and-
wellness exam from VCA 
Animal Hospitals, as well