Having an amazing week? Ok well, good or bad here’s a How-to post on how to grow and harvest mint, that will keep you busy. I have a mini garden myself where I plant basically almost every herb you can think of, from mint to basil to rosemary, etc. Even lettuce, tomatoes, kales just to mention but a few. Mint is an easy herb to grow in your garden and can add flavor to every meal. I always add it to my tea, for the aroma and taste
Mint is a perennial (lives for several years) with very fragrant, toothed leaves and tiny purple, pink, or white flowers. It has a fruity, aromatic taste. I know the flower part shocks most of us, lol. Let’s get into a few scientific facts about mint that will help us.
Botanical name and family: Mentha species. There are many varieties of mint. Peppermint (Mentha piperita) and spearmint ( Mentha spicata) are the most popular.
Its Origin -Europe
Type of plant-Herbaceous perennial
Growing season- In the Summer
Growing zones: Zones 5 to 9
Hardiness: Mint is cold hardy and easily withstands the coldest conditions. It can be grown in cold winter climates but it is best over-wintered in a sheltered place or indoors and can tolerate high humidity.
Plant form and size: Mint generally grows upright 1 to 3 feet tall, though a few grow much shorter. Mint stems easily root when they touch the ground so mint can be invasive. I recently planted mine in an old car tyre on the ground just so that I am able to contain it.
Flowers: Whorls of small white, lavender, or purple blossoms on terminal spikes.
Bloom time: Bloom mid-summer to fall.
Leaves: Dark green, creased, round to oval leaves pointed at the tips grow opposite one another on four-sided stems.
There are many varieties of mint, however, you can always tell a member of the mint family by its square stem. Rolling it between your fingers, you’ll notice a powerful, minty-fresh, camphoraceous, cool, and distinctive fragrance and which immediately reminds you of gum.
As well as kitchen companions, they are used as garden accents, ground covers, herbal medicines, and even aromatherapy. They’re as beautiful as they are functional, and they’re foolproof to grow, thriving in sun and shade. This basically means that mint is not a high maintenance plant and is suitable for most of us.
Types of Mint for the Garden:
Apple mint (Woolly mint)
Red Raripila mint
Chewing Gum mint
Corn or Field mint
How to Grow Mint
Planting mint seeds:
When planting your mint seeds or seedlings, you want to space them about 18 inches apart. Be advised that mint spreads quickly, you’d be surprised. So place it in an area of your garden where it will be contained so that you don’t have to keep transplanting it. Like I’ve demonstrated in the image above.
Mint enjoys well drained, nutrient rich soil. It can grow in full as well as part sun, and doesn’t seem to prefer more of one condition than the other. You will find mint to be a hardy herb to grow, as it can deal with most growing conditions and still come out thriving!
How to plant mint in containers:
Since mint spreads quickly, it is a great herb to plant in containers. This can help you keep control of it a little easier. Container growing is also ideal if you are limited on space but still want fresh herbs to enjoy. When planting mint in containers, feel free to mix your varieties! 1-2 seedlings per 18-inch pot are ideal, then you can care for the plant as you would if you planted it directly in your garden. All you need to do is remember to water your mint and it certainly will not disappoint you.
How to care for mint seeds/seedlings:
Mint gets harvested often. You might want to add fertilizer to it after the plant has been established for a few days but I didn’t add any to mine. Regular watering is also necessary, so plan on giving your mint plants 1 inch of water per week(is it too much to ask) and more if the temperature is especially hot and dry. A layer of mulch (one inch will do) is great for keeping the helping the plant retain moisture between watering but that’s only if it’s too hot.
Once your mint plants are sprouted, you won’t need to do much else with them. Since they are perennial you won’t need to replant them each year. You can simply cut them back and mulch over them until the following growing season. Or, if using a container garden, simply bring your mint indoors.
How to harvest mint:
When you are ready to harvest your mint, you will want to pinch it at the stem to remove it. If you need to remove a lot, remove from above the second set of leaves. This is where your flavor will be best. Mint can be used fresh in desserts or drinks or dried to use in teas and marinades later. I even use it to make mint infused water. Crafters even like to dry mint for sachets and scented blends. If you harvest more than you can use at once, simply dry or freeze the leaves.
I’ll be covering topics on mint recipes and how to store or dry them, soon In the meantime feel free to leave a comment below.