Green FAQ

Plants and Gardening

If you are expecting a few days with mild conditions why not consider planting some garlic? It is a bit late but you could most likely still sneak it into some spot in your yard. It is a natural for the garden (flower and vegetable). It is commonly thought of as a companion plant in that it can inhibit certain pests, like aphids, and act as a natural fungicide. Deer are also not fond of it so it may help to deter them as well.

How To Plant Garlic? It’s simple – Place a clove in the ground so the top of the clove is a couple of inches below the surface. It is best to use what is known as hard-neck garlic as it does much better in the north. This can be found in most stores and is still available at farmer’s markets and local growers. (Stay away from garlic grown in California.) Garlic plants don’t like to be in extremely wet areas. You will see them pop up early in the spring like tulips and daffodils, even before the snow leaves western New York.

What to Watch For? Under ideal conditions garlic leaves resemble young corn plants. In early summer you will notice a central stalk that begins to go skyward – that is the flower head. These are called scapes and should be cut off when young. They make for a delicious addition to many recipes or fry them up to eat by themselves.

When the lower leaves start to turn brown it is time to harvest the garlic. Take a shovel and dig up the head with surrounding soil, but don’t dig too close and cut the bulbs in half. Most people then “cure” their garlic by placing in a shaded area with air movement for a few days until the remaining dirt can be brushed off. You will be rewarded with a tasty harvest that can be used to eat or plant in the early fall.

Holiday Themed Sustainability

Many use this holiday as a time to reflect and give thanks. Have you thought about ways to thank our planet? For starters, consider meal planning. Try being a “localvore” by buying as many local produce items as possible: squash, potatoes, Brussels sprouts and apples come to mind as produce that are available. Other items can be found too, consider checking ads like Craigslist where you may find local free-range turkey if you prefer.

Sometimes called the “PHANTOM LOAD,” electrical gadgets use electricity even when they are just sitting there plugged in. Feel the transformers and power adaptors to things like cell phones and laptops. Even when nothing is plugged into them they feel warm – there’s a reason…they are using electricity! Your television, your monitor, and your computers are all guilty as well, even when in sleep mode.

It has been estimated that in the U.S. over $4 billion per year is attributed to this VAMPIRE POWER LOSS. So what to do? Simple, unplug them. Or easier still, put them all on a power strip and turn it off when you are not using them. (This may protect them from power surges as well.)

NU Sustainability

Yes, recycling bins are located in every building on campus. There are blue bins present on almost every floor of the dorms and black bins are conveniently located in the Lower Level Gallagher Center and Castellani Art Museum. In St. Vincent’s Hall, there are now bins in every classroom, something that you will see in the rest of the buildings on campus soon.

Here is a handy flyer on what items can and cannot be recycled.

We recycle about 11 tons (22,000 pounds) of paper and cardboard in a single year. Additionally, we recycle 4 ¼ tons of plastic, metal and glass annually.

The buildings that have been renovated or built in the last 10 years are extremely efficient. They utilize the latest technology, integrated energy management systems, environmentally-friendly spray-on insulation and even green roofs to achieve maximum efficiency.

The spray-on insulation technique used in NU’s Academic Complex was the first utilization of this technology in Western New York.

We have continuously updated and improved the central energy management systems in the buildings that were constructed prior to the last decade. For instance, the lighting systems have benefited from many upgrades, keeping pace with the many improvements in these systems in the last 10 years!

We get 98 percent of our electric power from the New York Power Authority’s hydroelectric plant. This electric power is renewable and significantly reduces our carbon footprint.

To maximize our electric efficiency, 45-kilowatt solar electric panels will be installed on the roof of the Dwyer Arena in spring 2011.

There are many ways to assist Niagara University’s sustainability efforts. Everyone is invited to attend our open Sustainability Committee meetings held in CASTL (Vini 107).  Meeting dates and times are posted on the home page of the website. Students are also welcome to participate in NUHOPE, the student-run environmental committee.

The sustainability committee has created a recommended reading list of books and recommended viewing list for videos that can be browsed here and picked up in the NU library.  Enjoy!