Morning Hill Forest Farm

Morning Hill Forest Farm

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Who We Are

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Gardening and Restoration

Natural Processes and Fire

The Trees
Botanical Survey

Bird and Animal Surveys

Jennifer's Solar Cookery Page

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Lance in the garden with peas

Gardening

Low rainfall, a short growing season, and limited soil nutrients result in slow-growing plants (all kinds, including trees). Our garden allows us to examine how these factors inter-relate and how they can be manipulated.

Experimentation has shown us that soil nutrition is the first limiting factor here. The importance of good genetic selections under these conditions cannot be overstressed. Most of the vegetables we grow are the result of long-term variety trials. We refine the genetics further by growing our own seed, and selecting for local adaptation with each generation. This teaches us that we must be very careful with our tree selection in our forestry, and even more careful with our fragile soils.

A plentiful year ‘round supply of vegetables allows us to eat very well with minimal cash expenditure, reducing the cash-flow pressure on our forestry. Our home-grown produce actually provides much of the energy that powers us in our work!

temperatures vs. rainfall

As average monthly temperatures climb,
precipitation drops, and vice versa.

Restoration

An important step towards restoring our land to an old growth quality ponderosa pine ecosystem, is knowing where we are and where we are headed. Jennifer has done one of the most complete botanical surveys anywhere: over 200 trees, shrubs, grasses, forbs, and lichens have been identified on our 40 acres. See our complete plantlist as well as birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians seen at Morning Hill.

We collect data and maps covering plants, wildlife, insects and diseases, weather, and historical information. Our mountain valley has a cold/dry climate, with weather which is either too cold or too dry for much growth and there is a short growing season when it is both temperate and moist. Slow growth produces the finest ponderosa pine wood in the world, and trees live to a great age and grow very large.

Many of the plants and wildlife that live here are unique to the Blue Mountains. Non-native species are not well-adapted so weeds are not an insurmountable problem, as most do not do well here. It also means that we must take the best care we can of our native species. The wide variety of native species is an important part of the diversity that lends stability. Some of the interesting species our land is home to are:

      Northern Goshawk*
      Rufous Hummingbird
      Black-backed Woodpecker*
      White-headed Woodpecker*
      Brown Creeper
      Pygmy Nuthatch*
      Mountain Bluebird
      Red Crossbill
      Northern Flying Squirrel*
      Pronghorn Antelope
      Long-toed Salamander*
      Western Boreal Toad
      Mountain-mahogany
      Threadleaf Sedge
      Oniongrass
      Sierra Onion*
      Big-pod Mariposa Tulip
      Cusick’s Paintbrush
      Desert Shootingstar
      Chocolate Lily
      Alaska Rein-orchid
      Brown’s Peony
      Hooded Ladies’-tresses Orchid
      Fremont’s Tree-hair Lichen
      Columbia Wolf-lichen

*old-growth associated