Thursday, February 28, 2013

Emerging Sugar Snap Pea
Radishes, broccoli, sugar snaps, lettuce, peppers, and more! It is the time of year for planting seeds for our Spring garden. We have been getting lots of help from our SOP students and their instructors, so here is what's sprouting in the garden greenhouse...

This last week with our students, we planted two types of broccoli, sweet peppers, lettuce varieties, and sugar snap peas. Many of them are already sprouting, less than a week later! Check them out....

East Port Orchard students from Teams Marsh, Rain, and Bog planted us some broccoli, and sugar snap peas. It is so amazing how these seeds sprout in such a short time when given the LAWS (light, air, water, and soil)! We also often put newly planted seeds on our heat mats in the greenhouse, to help them stay cozy to create ideal sprouting conditions.

Baby Pepper Emerging

Allen Creek students from Teams Thunder and Forest planted some lettuce varieties, and sweet peppers called Jimmy Nardello. We are so lucky to have so many happy hands helping us out...

Team Thunder planted some lettuce varieties, and they began sprouting in just three days! After they planted their seeds, they sprinkled a little forest soil on them to represent Team Thunder, and to leave a little bit of their experience here in the garden. Maybe it was magic soil that helped them sprout so quickly! 

In addition to all these new plantings, students from Catharine Blaine and Discovery Community School planted some broccoli and radishes that are growing up a storm. We are looking forward to transplanting the broccoli as soon as the weather gets a bit warmer, and the radishes should be ready to eat in the late spring. Thank you students!

Discovery Community School Radishes

Catharine Blaine Broccoli

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February 27th, 2013

Soil to Snack~ Welcome East Port Orchard and Allen Creek!

 Potato Gnocchi!

Gnocchi is a delicious potato pasta dumpling, or also known as a "potato pillow of love". To add some color to your gnocchi, you can use purple, blue (yes, there are purple and blue potatoes!) or red cool!

2 Cups potatoes (boiled or roasted)  
2 Cups flour 
1 teaspoon both salt and pepper
1 egg

Mix the ingredients above into a ball of dough, dusting with flour so as not to stick to the table. Take a piece of the dough and roll it into a finger-width log. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Dip a fork in flour and roll the fork over each piece of gnocchi, gently making an impression. Make gnocchi out of all the dough.

Drop the gnocchi into boiling water (with oil) in small batches. As they arrive at the top of the water, scoop them out using a slotted spoon. Allow to cool on an oiled pan. 

Saute some veggies in olive oil and add in the gnocchi to warm them up. Or serve with your favorite tomato or pesto sauce. Yum!! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Broccoli and Radishes!

February 14, 2013.....Happy Valentine's Day!

Here are some updates for the broccoli planted by Catharine Blaine students, and radishes planted by our visiting students from Discovery Community School. They are all doing fantastic, and with hope of warmer weather on the horizon, we may be able to transplant some into the outdoor garden soon. Take a look!

These radishes, planted on January 16th from seed, are growing so fast we actually had to thin them a little. Thinning means pulling out a few plants in each row, which allows for each plant to have a little bit more room. This often helps each vegetable to grow bigger. It is good to plant them closer at first to ensure you get enough that sprout. Thank you Discovery Community School Students!

Beautiful Radish Leaves


Broccoli Babies
As for our broccoli sprouts planted January 30th by Catharine Blaine students, they are also flourishing and being a cooler weather crop, we may be able to transplant them as soon as they are big enough. Thank you CB students!

Parsnip and Heart-Shaped Beet Biscuits!

February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

In honor of the day, Chris brought out his heart cookie cutter and we created some heart shaped beet biscuits! We also made parsnip biscuits to utilize some of our seasonal root veggies in the garden. See the recipes listed in Recipes: Soil to Snack under beet or kale biscuits, and just substitute in parsnip puree....

Parsnip Puree

2 medium fresh parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch thick slices
Water, enough to cover

Boil fresh parsnips in the water, enough just to cover them in the pot. Bring water to a boil, and continue boiling until the parsnips are tender. Drain, and puree in a blender, food processor, or by hand with a potato masher! You can add a little butter if you would like them more creamy. Add them into the recipe as called for...Voila!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Sun is Out!

February 7, 2013

It is a beautiful, sunny day here at IslandWood and our bees are making a grand appearance. They seem to love the sun, and are enjoying time out of their hive to soak it up. I guess we have that in common! 

One of the hives appears to have lower numbers, but some bees were coming out of this today hive so they are still alive. We are hopeful they can all make it through the winter...Check out our awesome bees, it is so nice to know they are still with us.

How many SOP students come to the garden? Find out the answer to this, and more here!

28: The number of edible plants in the garden as of the last week of January! Who knew there were so many things to eat from the garden in winter! These were counted by one of our fantastic SOP students. Do you know what these vegetables are making up our 28?

1266: The number of SOP students that have visited, done lessons, tasted edibles, or participated in programs in the garden so far this academic year as of the last week of January. Amazing!! What kinds of leaves might these be?

12,000: The estimated number of tastes, nibbles, and taste bud uses in the garden this academic year! Have you tasted anything in the garden before? Come on in and try something if not!

144: The number of SOP students who have taken part in our Soil to Snack program this school year. These students have harvested fresh food from the garden, then prepared and cooked a delicious snack with Chef Chris in the IslandWood kitchen. Check out our Soil to Snack link to find out more! Any guesses what these beautiful green leaves are?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tempura Veggies!

Tempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that are battered, and deep fried. Traditionally, people mix the ingredients with chopsticks to help create a light, and fluffy texture. These are simple, delicious, and who doesn't love a little fried snack? Choose your favorite fresh vegetable(s) and enjoy!


1 cup flour (can use all purpose, or fine cake flour for a lighter texture)
2 egg yolks
1 tsp baking soda
~ 1 cup of icewater or until desired consistency (very important that it is ice cold)
Canola oil, or other cooking oil for frying 
Salt to taste, or any other seasonings you like

You can also make dipping sauces for your tempura. Look at a cookbook, find a recipe online, or get creative and make your own!

~Mix the flour, egg yolks, and baking soda together, then add in the icewater until the consistency is a bit liquidy and easy to pour, or dip veggies into. 

~Heat up your oil in a deep sauce pan, or dutch oven to about 375 degrees (you can test this by dripping some batter in, and seeing if it begins to fry). Keep a very close eye on your oil! You don't want it to get too hot, so be sure there is an adult present when making tempura.

~Lay out your veggies on a large pan and pour batter over them, or dip them in the batter with some tongs. Let them drain a little, then put them in your oil. Fry them until golden, and place them on a towel for a couple minutes to remove excess oil.

~Eat, and enjoy!