Mint: Mixologist Extraordinaire
Mint is one of the most popular herbs around. Its rich, minty aroma can be hypnotizing, plus it can be very versatile when it comes to the kitchen. When talking about mint, even gum, candy canes and liqueurs come into mind.
However, growing mint has a lot more to offer in the kitchen. It is mostly added to appetizers and desserts. Jelly and julep recipes are not complete without mint. Add it to salads, ice cream, even coffee and expect a refreshing, subtle menthol taste. Meats especially lamb and vegetables like peas are often spiced up with mint.
The medical field has a lot to thank mint for. Mints are used to ease an upset stomach. Make some tea out of it for the soothing feeling. It’s fragrant, relaxing scent is widely used in aromatherapy and potpourri because it calms and rejuvenates the mind and body.
There are two common varieties of mint, peppermint and spearmint. However, other varieties such as apple, chocolate and pineapple mint are gaining popularity nowadays. Read on for our full guide on how to grow mint in your own garden.
Mint is a cold and hardy perennial plant. It is easy to grow and propagate. In fact, mint can be invasive at it is spreads out quickly throughout your garden. When growing mint, closely watch the plants to avoid hybrids. The seed, stems and root cuttings can be used to replant Mint.
Most people grow Mint in a separate pot or container to prevent it from taking over other plants. It would be good to put a mesh bag on the roots of mint to help avoid destruction of nearby plants. Partial shade or sun is needed when thinking of a good position for planting Mint. Place it where a shade can protect it from drying out.
A five-inch depth into the soil is ideal when sowing Mint seeds. Mint thrives in a mildly alkaline and mildly acidic soil, which ranges from 5.6 to 7.5 pH. However, the ideal pH for optimal growth is 6.5 to 7.0. Mint seeds require moist, rich and well-drained soil. Space them 1 to 3 feet apart. Mint can grow 12 to 18 inches in height once matured. It can also spread out 18 to 24 inches wide which will need a lot of room. It’s also important to separate each variety as Mints are prone to cross pollination.
Constant water can keep Mint from drying out, so keep the soil moist but do not over water the plants. Germination takes about 7 to 14 days then harvesting can be done after two months. To harvest Mint, you can isolate about a third to a half of the plant for replanting purposes. Soak the cut stems in liquid manure. This will surely bring out a livelier harvest in the next seasons.
Mint attracts the 3 B’s of growing plants: the bees, butterflies and birds. However, some may have uninvited guests such as spider mites, aphids and whiteflies. An orange-like fungus known as Rust can also grow on the foliage. With this in mind, have a fungicide ready to prevent the growth of fungi. It is advisable to use organic garden dust to prevent rust and a rotenone against the pests.