VIGNETTE > Gardening in Homestead

In April 1906, while San Francisco was still burning, successful San Francisco lawyer Alec Eells evacuated his family from their earthquake-damaged home near Buena Vista Park to his 8-acre gentleman’s farm in Homestead Valley. He immediately added a kitchen and otherwise expanded the cabin he’d built in 1904 for weekend farming.

Eells farm house, wife and daughters - 1907

Eells farm house, wife and daughters – 1907 – click to enlarge

In the summer of 1906 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. 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. The vegetable garden was located on Reed Creek–dammed for irrigation.  The soil was ideal for farming, decayed vegetable matter and black gravelly loam.  In March 1906, Eells planted grape, gooseberry, currant, raspberry and loganberry vines plus pecan, chestnut, lemon, walnut, plum, pistachio, apple, pear, cherry, peach, apricot, nectarine and almond trees. In December 1905 he planted scores of eucalyptus trees. A few are still alive.  Quite a legacy.

Want  more info? Read the History of Homestead Valley article:
Eells Plants Eucs
Gardening in Homestead