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Pomegranates – A Healthy Winter Snack

December 14th, 2010

by Zuhayr Mallam, Founder of the UC Davis Diabetes Awareness and Advocacy Group (DAAG).  For more information about this group, visit their website.
Pomegranates make for a delicious snack, and these plump red fruits are also one of the healthiest foods around.

Image taken from

On the Table
Pomegranates are chalk-full of nutrients including Vitamins B and C, fiber, and potassium, while being low in fat, sodium, and calories. Recent medical research suggests potential health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, lowered risk for heart disease (especially in diabetics), and prevention of tooth decay. Although it is high in sugars, these are natural sugars that are attached to special, disease-fighting antioxidants. And remember – the seeds are the edible part of a pomegranate and contain the bulk of the nutrients! The juice is very nutritious as well, but stray away from brands that are packed with refined sugar.
In the Garden
Pomegranates are the perfect winter fruit; they are in season from November to March! Although native to Persia and the Himalayas of Northern India, pomegranates were brought to California in the late 18th century and have been able to thrive in the interior valleys (like Davis!) due to the cool winters and dry summers. This versatile fruit tree grows in a variety of soils (although deep soil is preferred) and is relatively easy to care for. All that it requires is nutritious, well-drained soil, sufficient sunlight, and sparse watering. And even when the fruit dries up, it provides beautiful ornamentation for your garden!
For more information about the varieties of pomegranates grown in the UC Davis Good Life Garden click here!
Try this Recipe for… Pomegranate Salad
Image taken from
Toss yourself a tasty salad including:
·      lettuce
·      pomegranate seeds
·      pomegranate juice
·      lemon juice
="MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-indent: -0.25in;">·      apples, pecans, and/or pears
·      ground black pepper
·      vegetable oil
·      dijon mustard
Brought to you by the Diabetes Advocacy & Awareness Group (DAAG)

Introducing Our New Student Group Partners: The Diabetes Advocacy & Awareness Group

November 15th, 2010

The UC Davis Good Life Garden is so pleased to announce its partnership with a new UC Davis student organization called DAAG (The Diabetes Advocacy and Awareness Group). The group’s founder, Zuhayr Mallam, contacted us a while back to talk about possibilities and the multiple reasons that such a partnership makes sense. We hope this partnership will further promote one of the main tenets of the UC Davis Good Life Garden: Good Food = Good Health!

Thank you DAAG! As part of this partnership one of the members of DAAG will be posting a blog entry about once a week about diabetes, nutrition, gardening, food, eating fresh, eating local…basically everything we already do, but perhaps with a special angle as it relates to diabetes awareness. Please find the first such entry courtesy of Zuhayr Mallam below.

Above:  Photo of some of the fresh fruits and vegetables picked from the UC Davis Good Life Garden over the summer.  A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can drop one’s risk factors for diabetes considerably!

The Diabetes Advocacy & Awareness Group (DAAG) is a new UC Davis student organization aimed at educating others about health and spreading knowledge and awareness of diabetes in order to lower disease incidence and foster healthy living among members of our community.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA), over 20 million children and adults in the United States are living with Diabetes. And with the current rate of growth, it is estimated that approximately 1/3 of the US population will be afflicted with diabetes within the next 20-30 years.

Yes, the numbers are astounding! But, diabetes itself is also astoundingly preventable!

Research has proven that by adjusting your diet to include essential nutrients from fruits and vegetables, your risk factors for diabetes drop considerably.

Therefore, the Diabetes Advocacy & Awareness Group and the UC Davis Good Life Garden have partnered up with the goal of educating the campus and Davis community about nutrition and healthy eating through the wonderful resources we have available to us like the UC Davis Good Life Garden, its blog and related social media outlets, in addition to outreach events throughout campus, and much more!

So keep an eye out for us!

For more information, visit:

or contact us at:


Participate in an ORGANIC RICE STUDY & Receive a $20 GIFT CARD

November 2nd, 2010

CONSUMERS NEEDED FOR A RICE TASTE TEST!  Be sure to forward to your friends asap.  The study is taking place this week!

Jean-Xavier Guinard, Ph.D., UC Davis professor of sensory science, is looking for 200 people to participate in a rice taste test.

You qualify if you meet the following criteria:

  • US Citizen or Resident, age 18-65;
  • No food allergies or dietary restrictions;
  • Purchase organic products once a week or more (preferably beyond dairy and produce); and,
  • Consume rice or packaged rice products twice a month or more

AND can attend one of the following 1-hour session time slots at the Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Theater:

  • Thursday, November 4th: 9 am, 10:30 am, 12 pm, 1:30 pm
  • Friday, November 5th: 3 pm, 4:30 pm, 6 pm
  • Saturday, November 6th: 9 am, 10:30 am, 12 pm, 1:30 pm, 3 pm, 4:30 pm.

To sign up, please contact Chirat (Art) at (530) 754-8691 or email

For a map of the location click here

Those who meet these criteria and attend the 1-hour session will receive a $20 gift card.  Whoo-hoo!  When you are done, take a stroll through the UC Davis Good Life Garden to see what we’re growing this season!  (We’re located right outside in the courtyard of the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.)


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?


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.


WEBSITE MONDAY! The “lawn” and short of it

September 27th, 2010

Chances are, if you’ve got a garden or had one in the past, you’ve had grass.  And grass, although it’s excellent for many things, can also be difficult to care for and requires lots of water, fertilizers weedkillers and pesticides.  And if you aren’t using that lawn for a family game of baseball or throwing around a frisbee with your dog, maybe you can consider a lawn alternative, or a different type of grass.  If this sounds like a good idea to you, then is a great resource!

This lovely garden belongs to Pam Penick, a top gardener and blogger in Austin, Texas.  Check out her site here:

According to the site, the Lawn Reform Coalition is made up of eleven writers and activists that are pooling their “knowledge of up-to-date solutions to the many problems caused by a lawn culture that demands perfection, conformity, and way too many inputs – especially water, fertilizer and pesticides.”  They have links to many great resources for ideas for non-lawn alternatives as well as a section on edibles!  And if you’re still attached to your grass, or like lawns in general, they include a list of ways you can improve your lawn care to make it more sustainable, and have a page on different types of grasses or lawn coverings that are more suited to particular regions.

Have you replaced your lawn with something else?  Do you have any ideas for lawn alternatives?  Post a comment and let us know!


We Got Mildew Yes We Do! We Got Mildew, How ‘Bout You?

September 16th, 2010
Here is an example of squash with just a few spots of powdery mildew.

 As tends to happen in the late summer, our squash is suffering from powdery mildew.  This problem is pretty easy to identify;  our plants will look like someone tossed some baby power all over them.

It starts small and then just gets worse if left to proliferate.  Powdery mildew sends little tubes into leaf cells to suck out their contents, killing the cells in the process. As leaf cells die and the leaf’s surface becomes covered in the white fungus, photosynthesis is reduced and leaves may be lost. Crop volume and eating quality can be reduced.

Here the mildew has been left to keep growing!

So how do you get rid of it organically?  Well, there are quite a few options. 

According to our own UC Davis Integrated Pest Management, prevention is always the best way to avoid this problem.  In other words, if your garden is prone to this kind of issue, next time you plant squash, melon, pumpkin, etc., be sure to start with a resistant variety.


You can avoid powdery mildew my making sure your plants receive plenty of sun.  (Because of the location of these plants near the South Building of the Robert Mondavi Institute, these plants do get more shade than others.)  Also be sure to:

  • Provide good air circulation by not crowding your plants
  • Rotate squash beds on a minimum three-year cycle to reduce the chance of a fungal buildup or reinfection from one year to the next.
  • Pull up infected plants and burn or bury them.

We got the dummy whammie–the plants need more sun and they are not disease resistant varieties–so now what?

According to UC Davis Integrated Pest Management, once you have the powdery mildew problem, oils, like neem oil,  tend to work better at eradicating the issue once you have it rather than preventing the problem. 

You may also want to try a biological fungicide like Serenade Disease Control Concentrate, but like UC Davis Integrated Pest Management states, “While this product functions to kill the powdery mildew organism and is nontoxic to people, pets, and beneficial insects, it has not proven to be as effective as the oils or sulfur in controlling this disease.”

For those of you interested in home remedies, it seems that you can also try making your own spray of one part skim milk to 9 parts water.  Skim milk works just as well as other types of milk–whole, low fat etc., but no fat means no odor!  Read more about this research finding here:  Using Milk to Control Powdery Mildew.

Did you get the gift of powdery mildew this summer?  If so, what did you do to get rid of it?  Let us know!