The Forge

Volunteer at The Forge:
Summer BREAK
When: we'll be back next school year!
 Where: 1051 Sherman St.
 (Corner of Sherman St. and Benton St.)
Santa Clara University's education garden, "The Forge," is located on the corner of Benton and Sherman streets (See map below).

The garden is situated on what was, for the past decade, a vacant lot used for dumping dirt.  Before that, the land was a blacksmith shop -- we are even still uncovering horseshoes and nails -- hence the name.

With a little urban agriculture know-how, and a lot of love, we have transformed this abandoned space into a place where SCU students, staff and community can come together to learn more about farming and grow and harvest their own food.

The Forges is a unique place that serves the University and the community as an educational resource and enhances the sustainability of SCU and the City of Santa Clara.


Benton St & Sherman St


Meet the Newest Additions of the Forge Family:

Name: Bertha

 Brown Leghorn Hen

 Uniform brown/gold

Egg Color:
 Dark Brown

Breed Origin: 
Tuscany, central Italy

Bertha is the largest lady of the bunch. She is a leader at heart and not afraid to voice discontent in the least.  She'll pace back and forth in front of the pen doorway voicing her desires to go out and explore. She frequents the nesting box for extended periods of time, sometimes with no intention of laying an egg. With that said, she pulls her own weight and consistently delivers large tasty eggs, an excellent trait of Leghorns.  Due to their prolific egg-laying, Leghorns are the number one breed used for large-scale commercial egg production in the U.S.

Name: Dr. Stanley

Variety: Silver Laced Wyandotte

Description: Dark in color with a red beak and spotted wings

Egg Color: Brown/Pink 

Dr. Stanley is similar in breed to Delilah, although they differ in coloration- Stanley is mostly white/silver with black lacing. She lays eggs similar to Delilah.  She is quick to sample anything thrown into the pen, i.e. scraps or anything that gets thrown in through the food hole to the right of the door.  She enjoys the safely of the pen, when it is open she will be the last to leave, stay relatively close, and regularly go back into the pen throughout a walkabout session to feel secure.

The Forge Garden Design: The first phase of the participatory design process involving students, faculty, staff and community members was undertaken in October, 2009.  We are still holding monthly design meetings to sketch out the details of the garden.

Some of the elements that have been discussed during these design meetings include:
  • Multiple beds for annual vegetables, grains, and flowers
  • Perennial beds including: California native plants, culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, berries, edible perennials, drought tolerant plants
  • A heritage orchard that will include representatives of a great diversity of fruit and nut trees that were grown historically in the Santa Clara Valley, a.k.a. "The Valley of Hearts Delight"
  • An outdoor classroom and smaller gathering spaces
  • Greenhouses to propagate plants for the garden and for other local school and community garden projects
  • A potting shed and lathe house for propagation
  • A compost demonstration area
  •   A drip irrigation/ water conservation demonstration a
  • Artwork: murals, sculpture, etc
  • Chickens, ducks and honey bees
  • An archeological exhibit explaining the history of the site.

 Name: Ester

 Variety: Plymouth Barred Rock Hen

 Description: Striated/marbled white and  black.

 Egg Color: Medium sized speckled  brown

  Breed Origin: New England

Ester is a relatively passive member of the herum.  She finds safety in numbers and is satisfied hanging in the pen in a nice dry spot in the sun, or scratch and peck away the hours.  Ester is a little younger than Bertha and the others. Although she was a late bloomer –she started laying later than the rest of the group-- her full abdomen is a sign of a good layer, and she is now consistently laying medium sized brown speckled eggs. In addition, Ester likes her space and peace and quite. She is a big fan of clovers. Plymouth Rocks are large and long-lived, we look forward to having her around for awhile.

Name: Phoenix

Variety: Araucana Description: Mostly brown, speckled black and silver, with dark greenish feet.

Egg Color: Green/tan

Breed Origin: Chile

Phoenix is an Araucana hen, the smallest and fastest by far. Araucana chickens were purportedly first bred by the Araucanian Indians of Chile – hence their name.  She loves to dust bathe, as all good hens do. When the pen is dry, she'll dig out a hole to get down to the dirt and make a nice circular hole in the ground in which to sit and gently flutter-- the dust that accumulates on their wings binds to oils, other dirt, and grime and then comes off as they flutter and flop around within the hole.  While it looks like they are getting filthy, it is their way of staying clean. Linda can be relatively vocal at times, typically following a boisterous uprising led by Bertha and Delilah. She is also a gate runner- when you open the pen her and Delilah will usually be the first to charge out and seize the day. A trouble maker in her own way- she is the only lady to have ever successfully navigate her way over an 8 ft tall fence- she's a force to be reckoned with. The most unique trait of all is that Phoenix lays green eggs – a great find during St. Patty’s Day!