Mint is an easy to grow hardy perennial that comes in many different flavours. The aroma is unmistakable and is a beautiful addition to any garden.
Varieties of Mint
There are many varieties of mint that you can grow. The most common trait of mint is the square shaped stems. Many types have segregated leaves with the surface of the leaves smooth or fuzzy. It comes in a variety of flavours so you can be sure to mix things up with an assortment.
Where To Plant Mint
Mint can be extremely invasive which makes it a preferred choice for container gardening. It is a super spreader and will take over the garden bed if not properly contained.
Mint grows so well it is not necessary to start the seeds early in the season. Even late plantings will result in a substantial harvest.
You can grow mint in the cooler shadier areas of the garden. Garden boxes are ideal to prevent it from over taking the entire garden. Another option to prevent it from overtaking the garden is to plant the mint into a large container then place the container into a planting hole in the ground. This contains the roots and helps prevent the plant from spreading.
Mint can be grown as a ground cover or as accent plants throughout your yard. It can grow up to 2 feet in height will be fine in shady areas of the garden.
How To Plant Mint
Work the soil well adding peat moss and sand to the planting area. Both help loosen the soil and prevents compaction.
For direct seeding in the garden space the seeds a half inch apart at a depth of 1/4 inch. Once the seedlings have germinated thin the plants to a spacing of 18 – 24 inches apart. Due to its aggressive growth 2 – 4 plants are all that you will need. This planting method is best suited for garden boxes.
After the plants have sprouted apply a layer of mulch to the area. This will prevent weeds from growing and help keep the moisture in the soil.
To plant seedlings find a semi large container and dig a hole in the garden that is slightly larger than the container. Fill the container with potting soil and place it into the predug hole. Plant the mint in the center of the soil filled pot. Cover the planted pot with garden soil and water well. Place the potted mint 18 – 24 inches apart.
How To Care for Mint
Mint is such a vigorous growing herb; fertilizing is not recommended for in ground grown plants. For container gardens a light multipurpose fertilizer should be used occasionally through the season. A 10-10-10 blend is a good choice. Mix and water according to the manufacturer’s directions. Water the plants regularly during extreme hot weather and dry spells.
Pruning the plants regularly is a good idea to maintain their shape. Pinch the growing tips and use the leaves in drinks and desserts.
Mint spreads by sending out runners and underground rhizomes. If you see the plants spreading into areas you do not want overtaken, simply remove any unwanted growth.
How To Harvest Mint
You can start harvesting mint as soon as the leaves are plentiful. Simply pinch the leaves and stems off. The younger leaves are more flavourful so frequent harvesting will give you the best the plant has to offer.
You can take cuttings from the mint and root them in a glass of water to start news plants indoors.
Ways to Use Mint
Mint is excellent in drinks like the classic Mojito. It is also great in sweet dishes and desserts and is a beautiful addition to most things’ chocolate! Milkshakes, teas and jellies are all dishes that are elevated with mint.
Spearmint is found in savoury dishes; peppermint is used in sweet applications.
Dry the leaves and store them in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Mint can also be frozen for future use. Fill an ice cube tray with finely chopped leaves. Top with water and freeze to use in drinks during the summer. Layer leaves flat on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen collect the leaves and store them in a freezer bag.