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You can’t fail with KALE!

March 23rd, 2011

by Felix Munoz-Teng, Vice President of the student-run UC Davis Diabetes Advocacy and Awareness Group (DAAG).

This leafy-green vegetable has been grown for over 2000 years and continues to be grown today. In Europe, it was the most widely-eaten green plant until its bulky brother, cabbage, came along. Surprisingly, kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts all belong to the same species of plant: Brassica oleracea. Despite their large differences in appearance, selective propagation by humans has led to the wide variety of the species that we see today!

Kale - it's not just a garnish! Image from hypercatracing.wordpress.com

Nutrition

If there is any green vegetable you can count on, it’s kale with its unmatched nutrient richness. One cup of this green-leaf vegetable provides a daily value of 1327% vitamin K, 192% vitamin A, 88.8% vitamin C, 25% manganese, 10% dietary fiber, 10% copper and a variety of other vitamins and minerals. Most importantly, this nutrient-abundant vegetable delivers no more than 36 calories per cup.

Healthy Living

There has been a great deal of research conducted on kale and its benefits related to health. It has been shown to reduce the risk of “oxidative stress” and “chronic inflammation”, which is linked to a low intake of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients respectively. As a result of these benefits, research has further been able to show definite advantages in terms of cancer prevention and, in some circumstances, treatment.

In other areas, kale contains remarkable cholesterol-lowering abilities. Researchers have shown that fiber-related contents in kale prevent the fat in cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestine. Instead, the fat passes through the intestine and leaves the body. Secondly, kale plays an important role in the regulation of detox activities within the body, which is an important process for our cells.
Try this recipe for kale chips – you will never believe that kale could taste so good!

Kale chips are a healthy and tasty snack! image from http://thelistqueen.files.wordpress.com

Preparation:

  • -Preheat oven to about 375*.
  • -Use about 1 salad spinner’s worth of kale (about enough to fill a grocery store veggie bag). Tear the leaves off  the thick stems into bite size pieces. Spread out on cookie sheets.
  • -Drizzle with about 2 tsp of olive oil.
  • -Sprinkle with Parmesan, Asiago or your seasonings of choice, plus a sprinkle of kosher salt.
  • -Bake for about 15 minutes, until edges are brown and kale is crispy when moved in pan.
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A Beautiful Friday in the Garden

March 11th, 2011

APHID UPDATE: The aphids have now moved on to cabbage and chard and Pat is fighting what seems to be a losing battle! She said that with the advent of the warmer weather and sunshine that the aphid population seems to be exploding. Her advice: just be diligent and continue spraying with the Safer Soap as much as possible, as well as following the other tips from our previous post. And pay attention to all of your tasty leafy veggies – not just kale- because they are definitely not immune either!

Yep… the aphids have gotten to the cabbage.  Now that’s nasty!
This poor little kale plant was stunted from all of the aphid damage!

Other than the bad news on the aphid front, everything else in the garden is doing well and it is a beautiful sunny day! The artichokes are sprouting, the calendula adds a vibrant touch of orange all over the garden, and the newly planted radishes and nasturtiums are starting to sprout!  Enjoy some recent photos below and have a great weekend!

The calendula is spectacular right now!
Now I want a Greek salad!

Maybe the chard is starting to have an aphid problem too, but it is all over the garden and still looks delicious to me!
The purple hues of the kale and cabbage complement each other nicely, don’t you think?
Pat is working diligently away at spraying the kale with the Safer Soap to rid it of aphids.
Go, Mr. Ladybug, go!  Eat those aphids so I can eat this delicious artichoke.
Ok so these aren’t in the garden, but are so spectacular I had to share them anyway.  The tulip trees on campus are breathtaking right now!

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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?

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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.

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