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New ‘Starts’ for the Garden–PART ONE

March 10th, 2010

It’s still officially winter, but at the UC Davis Good Life Garden we are officially getting the garden ready for our spring season! Since the garden debuted about a year and a half ago it’s been so nice to see how our some of our perennial herbs and vegetables are maturing and growing accustomed to their new homes.

As most gardeners know, growing edibles, or really any plants, is always a learning experience. Some edibles we grow from ‘starts’–young plants grown from seed in a green house and then transplanted to the garden, and others we grow from seed planted right in the garden.

The seeds are first planted in the flats and grown inside the nursery greenhouse. (See above.) Once the young plants are established they are moved outside to ‘firm’ up before transportation to your nursery or yard. (See photo left.)

Here is a list of the starts that were grown from Seeds of Change seeds by Kelly’s Color Nursery, Inc., a local nursery wholesaler found right here in Davis.

  • Tango Celery
  • Silverado Chard
  • Bright Lights Chard
  • Rhubarb Chard
  • Dinosaur Kale
  • Tadorna Leeks

We also picked up a variety of flowers not only to encourage visitation from a variety of beneficial animals and insects to the garden, but to add visual appeal. Those flowers are:

  • Bon Bon Orange Calendula
  • Soprano White Osteospermum
  • Sunny Sheila Improved Osteospermum
  • Autumn Colors Rudbeckia
  • Cherry Brandi Rudbeckia
  • Sonnet Crimson Snap Dragons

Here Kelly, Owner, Kelly’s Color Nursery; Christina DeMartini Reyes, Landscape Architect / Designer for UC Davis Good Life Garden; and, Ed Nordstrom, Supervisor for UC Davis Good Life Garden review the new order.


Seasonal Vegetable Profile: Celery

January 8th, 2010

Did you know?
Celery was a thin-stalked and aromatic herb called smallage before gardeners developed the milder more thick-stalked version that we know today.

About the veggie: Celery is a native of damp European habitats near the ocean. Its distinctive flavor comes from chemical compounds called pthalides which are also found in walnuts and an herb called lovage.

In history: The type of celery with which we are familiar today was bred in fifteenth century Italy, and was considered a delicacy until the nineteenth century.

In the kitchen: Celery is often mixed with carrots and onions to form the base of many different types of dishes such as the French mirepoix, Italian soffrito, Spanish sofregit, and the Cajun “trinity” of aromatics in Louisiana.

Preparation: The main function of stems and stalks is to support the above-ground portion of the plants and also to conduct nutrients—thus they are often stiff or woody. For this reason, celery needs to be de-veined before cooking to keep the tough fibers from adding what some find to be an unpleasant texture to their dishes.

How to store: The moment a vegetable is cut off from its nutrients, it begins to consume itself and create waste products which affect taste and texture. For example, upon harvest, celery begins to absorb its own water which causes its cells to lose pressure, thus making the vegetable limp and chewy. For this reason celery should not be stored for long periods of time.

Learn more by visiting our website.

McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. Scribner: New York, 2004.
Health content provided by Liz Applegate, Director of Sports Nutrition, UC Davis,