Mint, or mentha, is grown practically everywhere in the world; therefore, it makes appearances in almost every cuisine. This versatile culinary herb is delicious both dried and fresh.
So, why do people hate growing mint? Bring up the topic of mint with many a gardener, and you’ll be greeted with a resounding, “Don’t plant mint! It will take over your yard!” With thoughtful preparation and placement, however, mint can be a wonderful and containable addition to your culinary garden.
Perennial or Annual?
Mint is a hardy perennial that is one of the first to arrive each spring. It also retains its potency of flavor over the years.
How to Plant Mint
- Where: Mint performs its best in full sun if the soil is kept moist, but it also thrives in partial shade. Mint is considered an invasive plant, since it sends out “runners” and spreads vigorously. Don’t let that fact deter you from enjoying fresh mint in your garden. Opt to grow mint in containers or, if you want to plant mint in the ground, submerge it in a large container and leave about two inches of the rim exposed above the soil to prevent spreading.
- When: Plant mint at any time. Mint is sturdy and resilient. Don’t waste your time starting mint from seed.
How to Cultivate Mint
- Soil: Mint thrives in moist, rich soil. To keep the soil moist, cover the soil with a little mulch.
- Sun: Mint can grow in sun or part shade. If you are planting mint indoors, where it also performs well, make sure you place your container near a sunny window.
- Water: Regular watering is really the only maintenance mint needs. Always keep the soil moist.
How to Harvest Mint
Mint is another herb that is easy to harvest, and can be harvested at any time. In fact, regular harvesting is encouraged, in order to prevent legginess. You may opt to harvest most of the plant at once, clipping away up to 2/3 of the length of the stems, or you may clip away only what you need.
Use these tips and you’ll be feeling MINTY-FRESH!