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Do you like mint?  I love using it in my iced tea.


I have a beautiful apple mint growing in my garden, but winter is not its best season.  Because I want to enjoy fresh mint in the winter, I decided to freeze some mint leaves in ice cubes.


My granddaughter, Lily helped me pick some mint from the garden.



Preserving mint is easy to do and I have enough to last me through the winter, ready for my favorite beverage.

To learn how to preserve mint, check out my latest blog post for Birds & Blooms – “Preserve the Taste of Summer With Mint Ice Cubes”.



Do you ever wonder what you should be doing in your garden in a particular month?

As a freelance writer, I write a few monthly gardening articles and newsletters.

So, instead of writing an entirely new blog post, here is my latest “What To Do In The Garden” article for the Southwest that I wrote for Houzz.com
(I hope you don’t think I am lazy, but I would rather not write the same thing twice 😉



There are few types of vegetables that don’t always survive winter in my zone 9a garden without protection when temperatures dip below freezing.  


In the past, I have protected my San Marzano tomato plants with success by covering them completely with frost cloth.


This year, I decided to protect my bell pepper plants.  The reason was because they were producing so well up until December and I didn’t want to have to wait a long time for new peppers

I believe I’ve told you before that patience isn’t my strong suit.

Of course, this was the winter when we broke records with temps in the low 20’s for five days in a row.  I wasn’t sure that my peppers would survive, even with protection.

The upper leaves did suffer frost damage and had to be cut back. 

I wasn’t sure if the base would form new leaves.  I have been checking every week now that the temperatures are warming up.

Guess what I saw last week?

Pepper plant planted among garlic and nasturtiums.
There are new leaves growing from my pepper plant!  I can hardly believe that it made it through the coldest winter we have had in over 30 years.

How about you?

What warm-season vegetables have you been able to over-winter?

Garlic has to be one of my favorite vegetables.  I use it in almost everything and I almost always use more then the recipe asks for.


I love growing my own garlic and it’s very easy to do.


Fall is the best time to plant garlic and it starts with a visit to your local grocery store.


Garlic is easily planted from cloves.  Take the whole heads of garlic that you have purchased at your grocery store and separate out the individual cloves.

Chose a location in your vegetable garden that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight.  If you do not have an existing vegetable garden, then amend your existing soil with compost and aged steer manure, mixed in well.


Space them approximately 6 inches apart.


Plant 2 inches deep, with the pointed side of each clove pointed upward and cover with soil.
Garlic like regular water, but do not let them become soggy.

They will soon send up green shoots.  In cold climates, add a straw mulch over your garlic.  Freezing weather will cause the green shoots to turn brown, but they will grow back in spring.

Once the outer leaves begin to turn brown and droop, you can harvest your garlic. 



Pull it up carefully and keep the green shoots attached.  Remove any clumps of dirt, but do not clean the heads.

Put your newly harvested garlic in a warm, dry area out of sunlight to ‘cure’ for a few weeks.  Then cut the shoots off.  
Your garlic is now ready to cook with.  Store your garlic out of sunlight.  I keep mine in a bowl on a shelf in my laundry room.

So start growing your own garlic.  You can spend the time they are growing selecting your favorite recipes that need garlic.