I hope all of you have a container of mint growing somewhere in your garden.
I say “container” and here is the reason why: Mint grown in the garden may become invasive and overrun large patches of ground because the plant spreads by runners. Properly looked after, however, your mint plants will enhance your garden, your cooking and your health.
Mint was originally native to Asia and the Mediterranean, and early settlers brought mint to our shores primarily for medicinal uses. Although it can be a nuisance in some areas of the garden, it is a good companion plant (and ground cover) under roses and berry bushes. Although most of us love the smell of mint, it is a good deterrent to certain pests and critters because of its pungent odor.
There are more than 30 species of mint, but the most popular are spearmint and peppermint. It is easy to grow in regular garden soil or as a container plant and, like many herbs, can easily handle dry seasons. That is not to say it never needs watering, but can go longer without water than many of our other plants.
There are many uses for mint, but some of the most popular are:
•Mint aids in digestion, so it is popular in teas and cooking.
The following are quotes from GardenGuides.com:
•“In the garden, mint is useful as a companion plant. Mint repels aphids and cabbage flies. Plant it near tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli and greens.
•“Use mint as a border plant to aid in reducing rodent visitations. Mice, rats and other such vermin are repelled by mint and may refrain from entering your home when confronted with mint in your landscape.
•“Mint also provides a fresh aroma to your garden. The mint plant releases a crisp and heady scent that may revitalize your senses, stimulate your appetite and otherwise lighten your mood. Taking in the scent of fresh mint while sitting in your garden is a simple form of aromatherapy.”
•Mint leaves can be used in stir fry, sausages and stuffings; in fruit salads; and as a seasoning for lamb and pork. Mint is used for teas, as well as for alcoholic drinks, such as mint julep or liqueurs.
•Harvest mint early in the day just after the evening dew has dried on the leaves. Bundle and hang cuttings to dry in a dark or shady place, and somewhere that has good air circulation.
•Once dry, it can be stored in an airtight container for at least six months. •Bundle fresh mint together and hang in the closet, or put a sprig in your dresser drawer or linen closet.
•One suggestion I liked was to rub the dog with mint when it comes in smelling very “doggy.” I'm going to try that.