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UPDATE: IT’S NOT TOO LATE to plan for the Fall / Winter Season

October 26th, 2010

For all you local gardeners who may be feeling like you’ve missed the boat by not sowing your seeds yet for the Fall / Winter season; it’s not too late!  (Or, at least we hope so!)

Pat, our gardener (in the hat), takes a moment to speak with a journalist.  Note how she has cut back many of our garden perennials like chives and the ornamental society garlic to grow again during the Fall and Winter season.

Last week our gardener Pat worked hard on the “out with the old” chore of garden clean-up by pulling out any herbs unharvested by our enthusiastic community of gleaners!  (Thank you again to those who participated in our last herb harvest of the year!)  She also began prepping the soil by working in compost from our own Student Farm, along with a soil supplement we told you about last season called Earthworks Renovate/Plus.  For more information about this product check out our previous blog entry on the topic here.

This patch is where we grew our corn.  The spearmint patch in the foreground looks very happy doesn’t it?  It smells great too, but don’t forget to keep it pulled up and pruned back from areas where you don’t want it–mint likes to take over!

It is looking rather barren out there now.  It’s times like these when there’s hope in the air…as in, I hope something grows from all those seeds of lettuce, chard, kale, beets, etc. we’ll be planting this week!

What’s going on with your garden so far this season?


Roll out the red carpet!

October 15th, 2010

We’re on video!  Check out this wonderful video courtesy of Lisa Marini Finerty of  Lisa visited the garden last weekend, shot some great footage, and was nice enough to share the video on their awesome site.  Read our previous post about – a great website that is kind of like the facebook for gardens!

Check out the Good Life Garden video on!

And just two quick notes about the video – we want to clarify that we do use heirloom open pollinated seeds from Seeds of Change, but not all of the plants in the garden are from heirloom open pollinated seeds.  Also, Lisa referred to the building at the Robert Mondavi Institute that houses the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory and the teaching and research winery.  She hinted at the building’s LEED certification but did not explain it in detail.  This newly completed building is expected to be the world’s first winery/brewery/food processing facility that has a platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification – the highest environmental rating awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.  Learn more about this amazing building on the UC Davis News and Information website.

Thanks so much Lisa!


Our Last FREE HERB HARVEST for 2010! Don’t Miss Out!

October 14th, 2010

The UC Davis Good Life Garden will be converting to it’s fall and winter produce plantings next week, so before most of our summer herbs are replaced with lettuces, beets, chard, etc. we invite you to come out to the garden to enjoy the LAST HERB HARVEST FOR 2010! The following herbs are currently available: lavender, basil (green and purple), oregano, chive and mint.

If you are interested, please RSVP to so we know how many people will be attending. Directions to the garden can be found on our website:

The give-away is free to attend; we just need you to bring the following items:

* scissors or pruning shears
* a bag to hold your herbs
* wet paper towels to put in the bag with the herbs (if you don’t have a refrigerator to keep them in for the day)
* water to drink (because it’s going to be hot!)


Our gardener Pat will be there all day to answer your questions about the different herbs and the harvesting process, as well as to direct you to the correct plants. We ask that no one remove entire plants or remove more than half of the leaves or flowers from any particular plant.


All the leaves are brown…

October 5th, 2010

Based on the weather lately, and looking at the plants in the garden today, it appears that summer is over.  I headed over first thing this morning and Elias was there (Pat is on vacation this week!) pulling out dead thyme plants.  He said they didn’t have anything wrong with them other than that they were probably over-watered.  I did some more research on the UC Master Gardeners Website and apparently thyme has no serious pests or diseases.  I also found this article by Barbara J. Euser on the Master Gardeners site: “Make Time for Thyme.”  She also over-watered the thyme in a patch of her garden next to some sword ferns, and it died.  

Here are some fascinating thyme facts from her article:

  • “Thyme is an essential part of the aromatic blend known as Herbes de Provence. Lavender is also one of the Herbes de Provence and according to the Gattefosse, the French father of aromatherapy, thyme is a ‘faithful companion of lavender. It lives with it in perfect harmony and partakes alike of its good and its bad fortune.’”
  • “In The Book of Herb Lore, Lady Rosalind Northcote said that among the Greeks, thyme denoted graceful elegance, and the phrase ‘to smell of thyme’ was an expression of praise for those with admirable style.
  • “Thymol is the phenol that is thyme‚Äôs ‘active ingredient.’ Thymol has been used as an antiseptic since ancient times: the Sumerians recorded using it in 3000 B.C. The Egyptians used it for embalming…Commercially, thymol is used in over-the-counter cough syrups and cold remedies.”

So as long as you aren’t too heavy-handed with the water, thyme is a great garden option with an interesting history!

All around the garden other plants are in decline as well: the tomatoes, Hopi Red Dye amaranth, melons,  and beans are all on their last legs, although the squash is still going strong, despite the white mildew.  (Learn more about powdery mildew here.)

Some plants are looking fantastic, however.  The fino verde basil is particularly happy in the raised beds, the red metamorph marigolds add pretty oranges and reds sprinkled around the garden, the figs are going crazy, olives are sprouting, and my favorite right now are the sunflowers, which are in full bloom and worth a trip to the garden to see.

The brown turkey fig tree is covered with fruit.
Even though the Hopi Red Dye and elephant head amaranth are in decline, the love-lies-bleeding variety is going strong.
The Teddy Bear sunflowers were so popular last year we planted more of them this year!
The olives will be ready for harvest in November.
The fino verde basil is taking over!  Its smaller leaves make it great for pots.

So even though summer is over, the garden still has some end of the season gems!


UC Davis Olive Oil Tasting & UC Davis Campus Grown Sales Event

October 1st, 2010

To celebrate the fall season (and for some great gift ideas) don’t miss the olive oil tasting next week with our friends at the Olive Center.

In addition to the olive oil tasting, the new UC Davis Campus Grown program will have displays of handmade products made from the salvaged wood of campus grown trees! 

  • What: Olive Oil Tasting and Campus Grown Salvaged Wood Product Display. Olive oil and all Campus Grown items on display will be available for purchase! 
  • Date: Thursday, October 7
  • Time: 11 AM to 1 PM
  • Location: UC Davis Main Bookstore at the Memorial Union (click here for location)
Wood products like this olive bowl made from the salvaged wood of campus grown trees will be available for purchase on Thursday.  Other wood products available include bowls made of ash, claro walnut and cork oak as well as olive wood cutting boards and ash wood salad tongs.
The Silo and Gunrock blends of UC Davis Olive Oil will also be available for tasting and purchase on Thursday.

Brush up on your knowledge before the tasting next week – check out our previous posts about olives!
Olive Harvest in the UC Davis Good Life Garden
Seasonal Fruit Profile: Olives
Olive Tree Update

For more information:
UC Davis Olive Center Website
UC Davis Olive Oil Website
UC Davis Campus Grown Website

Questions?  Post a comment or email us.  Hope to see you there!