Archive for July, 2010

Our New Feathery Friends

Everyone, meet our new flock or chickens. In the backyard of the Eco House (Gaia) we have a small coop and run for our new girls, six chickens of various breeds. We are oh so excited about them, and we’d like to share that with you.

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We are raising them as laying hens, not for meat purposes. All of them (except Henry the Ameraucana) lay various shades of brown eggs, and Henry lays blue/green eggs. We eventually hope to grow the flock to include another Ameraucana and some other breeds including some bantams (mini chickens) for educational purposes. If you’d like to sponsor a chicken, let us know. We’d be happy to keep one for you 🙂

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Shades of Green… and red, orange, purple, yellow and various other colors

So we are more than halfway through the summer now and we are teetering on the verge of having more produce then we will ever be able to get rid of. Our tomatoes are slowly coming in and providing us with a steady trickle. Our peppers on the other hand are coming more as a steady flood. Eggplant is popping in and we have onions coming out our ears. In an attempt to move some of our produce, we went to the Caldwell Farmer’s Market last evening. We did sell some, but barely enough to cover the booth fee.

The garden still looks wonderful though and the colors of the plants make it even more fun to work in. But if anyone has any ideas on how to get rid of some of the produce, we would love to hear them.

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Weekly Newsletter!

Hello All! It’s that time of week again!

First of all, we’d like to thank Dr. Henberg for agreeing to our Chicken Project. Coming this week, we will have a small flock of chickens in the back yard of the Sustainability House. Pictures (and maybe video) to come.

We are also working with Idaho’s Bounty (an online co-op of local and organically produced food) to set up a membership for C of I students. All you have to do is order food from them. So if you are interested, please contact the Stewards so we can get to work on making this happen!

And finally, here are this this weeks picks and a yummy recipe. The contact information for the Stewards is as follows:

Email: sustainabilitystewards@collegeofidaho.edu

Phone: (208)691-9755

This week’s produce:

•    Bunch of Kale–$3
•    Herbs (mint, sage, thyme, basil, and parsley)–$2 a bundle/small bag
•    Onions– $2 and Shallots–$2 for 3
•    Bell peppers–$1.50 per pepper
•    Anaheim peppers–$1 per pepper
•    Japanese Eggplant–$1
If you would like to be put on a waiting list, we will let you know as soon as we have your order available. The tomatoes that are available are:

Large tomatoes–$1 per tomato
•    Persimmon, Striped Germans, and Jet Stars
Medium–$1.50 for two tomatoes
•    Early Girls, Green Zebras, Juan Flamme, and Roprecos
Small–$2 half quart sized bag
•    Assorted yellow, red, pink and black cherry, pear and grape
tomatoes

Featured Recipe:


Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:

24 (1/2 inch thick) slices Japanese eggplant (about 2 eggplants)
1 cup all-purpose flour             2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup milk                               1 ½ cups bread crumbs
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil for frying                    24 slices fresh mozzerella
1 ½ cups warm tomato sauce
24 medium whole basil leaves

Directions:  Position a rack in middle of the oven and heat the broiler to low. Place eggplant slices in a colander set in the sink or over a bowl, sprinkle generously with salt, toss to combine, and set aside to drain. Place flour in a wide, shallow dish and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Combine eggs and milk in another shallow dish and set aside; mix panko and cheese together in a third shallow dish. Remove eggplant slices from the colander and pat dry with paper towels. Bread eggplant by coating a few slices in the flour mixture. Shake off excess flour, dip into the egg mixture, and press into the panko mixture; be sure to coat the slices thoroughly at each step. Set the breaded eggplant on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining slices. Line another baking sheet with paper towels and set aside. Fill a large, straight-sided skillet or frying pan with 1 inch of the olive oil. Warm over medium-high heat until the oil reaches 350°F on a deep-fat thermometer (the oil should be shimmering but not smoking). Add about 1/3 of the eggplant slices and fry on one side until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip and fry the other side for another 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining eggplant. Pour the warmed tomato sauce over the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Shingle one eggplant slice, one basil leaf, and one mozzarella slice over the tomato sauce, repeating until all ingredients are arranged in the baking dish. Place in the oven and broil until cheese is melted, bubbly, and speckled with gold, about 5 to 7 minutes. Serve immediately with extra tomato sauce on the side.

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Weekly Newsletter

At the request of a few of our followers, we will be posting our weekly newsletter with produce and prices. So here are this weeks picks and a yummy recipe. The contact information for the Stewards is as follows:

Email: sustainabilitystewards@collegeofidaho.edu

Phone: (208)691-9755

This week’s produce:

  • Bunch of Kale–$3
  • Herbs (mint, sage, thyme, basil, and parsley)–$2 a bundle/small bag
  • Onions– $2 and Shallots–$2 for 3
  • Purple bell pepper–$2 per pepper
  • Anaheim peppers–$1 per pepper

We have limited peppers, so if you’d like some, let us know ASAP so you can get some! We also have quite a few tomatoes coming in a few at a time. If you would like to be put on a waiting list, we will let you know as soon as we have your order available. The tomatoes that are available are:

Large tomatoes–$2 per tomato

  • Persimmon (orange)
  • Jet Star (red)

Medium–$1 per tomato

  • Ropreco (red)
  • Green Zebra (gold with green stripes)

Small–$2 half quart sized bag

  • Assorted yellow, red, pink and black cherry, pear and grape tomatoes

Featured Recipe:

Quick Homemade Salsa

Ingredients:

3 large ripe tomatoes, diced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small bell pepper, minced

½ cup chopped chili pepper, with juice

1 clove garlic

Juice of one lime

½ cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

In a large glass bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir well with a spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until serving time.

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How does our garden grow?

Keeping with the tradition that our dear Kalee started last year (and since it’s about mid-way through the summer) here are some pictures of the different plants throughout their little lives.

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Plants Need Food Too

Plants need lots of nutrients to grow big and strong. There are lots of different ways to help plants along by using plant food called fertilizers. There are three main nutrients (macronutrients) that plants need the most. These are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. On the fertilizer label there are always three numbers like 5-1-1. This is the percentage of each nutrient that is in the fertilizer–in this case is would be 5% nitrogen, 1% phosphorous and 1% potassium. In the case of our garden, we fortify the soil with compost and some granular fertilizer at the beginning of the season. In the future, we would like to have our own chickens and compost bin so we can close the loop of production here on campus rather than buying fertilizer or compost. But for the time being, I decided to go buy some liquid fertilizer to help out plants along and I found some fish emulsion. It is a 5-1-1 fertilizer so it doesn’t burn the plants and it’s so worked pretty well so far. Fish emulsion is made out of liquefied fish guts basically. It sounds really disgusting (and it smells really disgusting) but the plants dig it. You just dilute 2 tablespoons in a gallon of water and either spray it on the leaves or water plants like normal right on the roots. I just filled up a 2 gallon watering can and went around the garden watering each plant individually. More updates will be coming soon.

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Weeds

The bane of any organic gardener’s existence are weeds. We have been keeping up with the weeding as much as possible, but we’ve learned the hard way that there are just too many. So we’ve been exploring different methods of mulching. We currently have organic grass clippings on a row of onions and a row of peppers and it seems to be working pretty well. The mulch is about 2 inches thick and it has kept the weeds down pretty well. Between a couple of the other rows we laid down cardboard.

This is a row of peppers that has been mulched with grass as well as the cardboard. It has been working decently so far, though there are still some weeds poking out.

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