Herb Garden Essentials: Boost Your Own Delicious Mint

First a word of caution: “Invasive” is the polite way to refer to mint’s developing customs. In perfect, or maybe not so perfect, circumstances, mint will take over your garden, spreading by underground roots. Consider it in the upper tier of garden thugs.

This doesn’t mean that you should not grow mint. It smells wonderful when you brush against it or select it. It can be picked throughout the growing period to use for cooking or cooking a drink. It is rather tall for an herb, reaching to about 2 ft, so that it can maintain its own as a landscaping element. It is said to be a great pest deterrent. Additionally, it is perfect for beginning gardeners, as it is hard to kill. Just grow it into a pot (preferably raised off the ground) and take care to remove any stray plants, including the root system, until they get out of hand.

Spearmint used to be the most readily available selection, with peppermint a close second, but readily available mint flavors include even chocolate and apple. Because different mints won’t necessarily grow true from seed, start with nursery seedlings you can smell (and taste) to find the variety you desire.

Amy Renea

Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Water necessity: Regular

Prime growing season: Spring through fall

When to plant: Early spring; also fall in warm-winter ponds

Favorites: Apple, chocolate, Corsican, curly, peppermint, peppermint, pineapple, spearmint

Lenkin Design Inc: Landscape and Garden Design

Planting and care: Plant seedlings about 6 inches apart from containers. Mint can take a full-sun place, however in hot summer climates it will do better with afternoon shade.

If you really do want to grow mint in a garden bed, sink a crack-free container to the ground, leaving 1 to 3 inches above the soil line.

Water the plant frequently and include a complete fertilizer as expansion starts annually. Nip off the ends periodically and cut back by about twenty five to fifty about halfway through the growing period to prevent plants from becoming woody. These perennials will perish in winter in cold climates; you may choose to cut them back to ground level in late fall.

You may see a number of the usual pest issues, such as aphids, spider mites and whiteflies, but these may be handled by hosing them off or employing insecticidal soap. Rust can likewise be an occasional problem. Established plantings are usually trouble free.

Divide following the first season and replant about every 3 decades.

Kim Gamel

Harvest: Snip off the ends to use in everything from beverages and dressings to main courses and desserts. The taste is greatest right before the plant flowers.

To conserve, select leaves which are completely dry and hang them to dry. It is also possible to freeze mint.

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