Mint certainly is an amazing herb and it was the first herb which I started growing in the garden. Apart from the flavor, I also like mint for the various medicinal as well as homestead uses. As far as the perennial herb is concerned, it is hardy. At times it could eat away other plants in the area in which it is grown. Therefore I prefer growing it in a fabric pot (large in size) in my patio. I also love growing it in raised beds. But mint plants are known to become runners and therefore they often jump the bed in which they are planted and start growing elsewhere. However, that has never stopped me from growing mint. This is because it certainly is a wonderful addition to my garden and home.
Some Tips For Mint Growing
If you are serious about growing mint the right way (any variety) from seed stage to the full grown plant level, here are a few things which one must bear in mind. I advise that it is grown in a window that is sunny and warm. You also must wait till the plants have grown several inches tall. Only after that they should be transplanted. This will increase the chances of planting them outside from the early stages. There is no doubt that transplantation is also a good way forward. If you have friend ready to give you some mint, you could used it and get started with the cuttings.
As far as climate is concerned, mint plants love moist and cool soil and they would prefer to grow in a partly shaded area rather than being exposed to full sun. Hence if you are growing it in summer you must ensure that it has shaded area to grow. Further the container in which it is being grown must have adequate and efficient drainage. You must start your mint growing with a decent quantity of compost that is organic in nature. However, mint will grow without too much of fertilization. You need a bit of it every few weeks or months. Anything organic or compost is good enough and it should have a ph between 6 and 7. Mint is not strong enough to withstand extreme cold and therefore you must make sure that it is protected from frost.
Does it have the right space? This question must be adequately answered. Mint plants normally grow to a height of two to three feet and they also can reach a width of four feet. You also must trim the flower prior to blooming. This will prevent the mint from widening and spreading.
How To Handle Diseases & Pests
Though mint is an extremely hardy plant it is not free from the risk of attacks of diseases and pests. You must be on the watch for whiteflies. They are also referred asaleyrodidae. They are winged and soft bodied insects. They belong to the family of mealy bugs and aphids.
Spider mites can also attack mint plants. These insects belong to the Acari family and are also known as Tetranychidae and there are around 1200 species of the same. They prefer living on the underside of plants and leaves. They use this space to build silk webs that are protective.
Slugs are known to feast on any plant that is tender. They feed during the night and stay hidden during the day. They are unique in looks and come with mouth parts which are file like in appearance. These mouths are capable of efficiently tearing the plant leaves and leaving behind large sized holes which are ragged in appearance. They also leave behind silvery mucus and this is sure sign that your mint plant has been infested with slugs.
Snails are also known to cause the same type of damage and are referred to slugs’ kissing cousins.
Finally powdery mildew is a fungal attack which can spread rapidly around the entire mint plant.
Mint For Pest Control And As Companion Plants
You could also look mint as an ideal companion which could protect various plants from garden pests. These include cabbage, leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, radishes and beets. The pungent smell given out by mint plant also keeps rodents at bay. Hence it would be a good idea to spread leaves of mint around plants and locations which are known for infestation by rodents. However, you must ensure that it is away from chickens because they love it quite a bit.
How Is Mint Harvested
You can get around 3 harvests each year if you cut or pinch off stems about an inch from the ground. You have to harvest only a few leaves at one go before flowering. The younger leaves would certainly have a more intense flavor of mint compared to the older ones.
How To Store Mint
Mint leaves should be stored in containers that are air tight and they should be dried and kept in a dry and cool spot. Fresh mint also can be stored in zip lock bag in refrigerators. However, using them right after picking is always fresher and healthier. The mint leaves can also be frozen in ice cubes for longer durability. You could use them in tea and water for the unique mint flavor.
Growth Of Mint Varieties
There are different types of mint varieties and they include chocolate mint, lemon mint, apple mint and peppermint.
How It Should Be Used In The Kitchen
Mint could be added to lamb, poultry and fish for that unique flavor. It could also be added to salads and many vegetarian preparations. It could also be used as an ingredient for Iced Tea. It could make wonderful drink when added to chocolate shake.
Mint does have many medicinal properties. It could be useful for handling common stomach problems, overcoming fatigue and for fighting various types of headaches. Having a look at Marvelous Mint will give more information about the healing properties it has.
Mint And Homestead
Mint is known to be very effective for repelling rodents and also mosquitoes. Chickens when fed with mint could have a number of benefits. It could lead to increased egg production and the quality of eggshells will also improve.
Hence, at the end of the day, mint is very versatile plant and is a wonderful addition for your garden and home. Why wait, get going and start growing this wonderful plant.