Summer Garden

Mint Plant

Following is what I learned with gardening my mint plant. I started by rooting the stem (You may use your store bought mint plant stem for this) by putting it in water for a week. As of now, I am growing this plant organically by adding organic miracle-gro fertilizer. Mint plant dies down in winter & comes back every spring. Mint loves part shade. It is better to grow mint in a container to control its growth. Otherwise, it will spread all over the place. It is really a low maintenance herb.

Curry plant

My curry plant is actually three years old. It gave out sucker plant this spring. I pruned it to make it bushier. It loves full sun. As for as the soil goes, curry plant loves acidic soil. Adding used coffee grounds makes the soil acidic. It needs nitrogen rich fertilizer for luscious leaf growth. In addition to feeding organic fertilizers I also add at times egg shells & Pistachio shells to prevent the soil from drying out. I also add vinegar at times especially during summer to make the soil more acidic & diluted butter milk in summer too to impart flavor. As the root will rot easily, I will never over water. This plant can withstand up to 2 inches of dryness.

Banana Plant

I bought it last summer from Lowe's. Its a dwarf variety, never bore fruit & gave out sucker plant this spring. It needs full sun & well drained soil. It is a heavy feeder. I water it regularly & fertilize it every other month during growing season.

Jasmine Plant

Three year old Sambac variety. Blooms continuously from spring to fall. Needs full sun & well drained soil. It is a heavy feeder. So I fertilize it regularly. During blooming season, I use bloom booster. Flowers may become smaller if temperature fluctuates or drops below 70 degrees. Pruning every spring helps to maintain a bushier plant. Leaves can also be removed to channelize the plants energy to produce bigger flowers. Never had problems with it in the past three years.

Adukku Malli

Garlic Pickle


  • Peeled Garlic - 1 1/2 cups
  • Lemon Juice - Little less than 1/2 cup
  • Chilli Powder - 2 1/2 tspn
  • Salt - 2 tspn
  • Cumin Seeds - 1 tspn
  • Coriander seeds - 1 tspn
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tspn
  • Hing - 1/4 tspn
  • Mustard seeds - 1/4 tspn
  • Sesame oil - 8-10 tspn
  • Jaggery - 1 1/2 tspn

health tip

Garlic is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, Selenium and has anti-microbial properties. Garlic boosts the immune system, helps control cholesterol and also helps in preventing cancer. Garlic is used as a home remedy to cure gas and stomach bloating.

Garlic Pickle


Pickling is one of the way to preserve the vegetables we get in abundance. The acidity of Lemon Juice or Vinegar is the primary ingredient that keeps the bacteria and fungus away from the pickle. Salt also plays a key role in preserving food by its anti microbial properties. Salt has the ability to draw water away from food and keep them dry for longer time. It is not advisable to store pickle in a metal container since the salt combined with the acidity in pickle corrodes the metal. Also, for longer shelf life, remember to store them away from moisture.

  1. Peel the garlic pods. You may also do the peeling ahead of time & keep them refrigerated.
  2. Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds & fenugreek seeds till they turn golden color. Let the dry roasted ingredients cool for some time.
  3. Squeeze juice out of lemon as per the above measurement.
  4. Grind the dry roasted ingredients above to a coarse powder.
  5. Heat sesame oil in a deep vessel (to prevent splattering all over the counter top). Season it with mustard seeds & hing. Add the peeled garlic and saute it for 2 minutes.

    There is no need to saute the garlic for more than two minutes since sauteing more will over cook the garlic & will make the pickle mushy.

  6. Add salt & ground ingredients to the garlic & saute them for one more minute. Finally add the lemon juice & let it cook with lid open till the lemon juice condenses to half the quantity. When the lemon juice is condensed & oil starts to separate add the jaggery & turn off the heat. Let the pickle cool. Bottle the pickle when cold. Adding some hot oil at the top acts as a barrier for moisture. Let them completely cool to prevent condensation & then cover it with a lid. Store the pickle in a cool dry place. The picture shown above is not the actual yield for this recipe.

    Room-temperature lemons or limes will yield more juice than those that are refrigerated. Microwaving the lemon or lime for a few seconds before squeezing will help extract more juice. Don't overdo it. You don't want to boil the juice. You may also use your palm to roll lemon or lime on your counter top a few times before squeezing to extract more juice.