A Homestead Headlines Article by Chuck Oldenburg
The photos were taken in the summer of 1967 at 345 No. Ferndale. Mike (age 8) and Greg (age 6) Tregoning prove that zucchini and cantaloupe can be successfully grown in Homestead Valley.
One wonders why gentleman farmer Alexander Eells failed to plant these crops. His eight-acre farm was between LaVerne and Montford next to Three Groves. In the summer of 1906 he reported in his diary that he grew the following crops with great success: lettuce, spinach and other greens, peas, beans, carrots, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, cabbage, pumpkins, Jerusalem artichokes and sweet corn. Undoubtedly all organic. But no mention of any squash or melons. He claimed that his family of five plus the live-in hired hand and maid had more home grown vegetables than they could possibly eat. The milk cow helped consume the surplus in addition to fodder corn and mangel wurzel beets raised especially for her.
The Eells vegetable garden was located next to Reed Creek which he dammed for irrigation. The soil consisted of decayed vegetable matter and black gravelly loam—ideal for farming.
Previously in March 1906, Eells had planted grape, gooseberry, currant, raspberry and loganberry vines plus pecan, chestnut, lemon, walnut, plum, pistachio, apple, pear, cherry, peach, apricot, nectarine and almond trees. Later entries in his diary fail to report on the success of these vines and trees. His most long lasting crop was eucalyptus which he planted along Montford in December 1905.
If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.