How to grow Mint

How to grow Mint

Mint or mentha if you chose to use its scientific name has a long history, about 3500 years or so worth. Mint is part of the lamiaceae family which has about 20 other species including basil, oregano, and rosemary. Mint originates in northern Africa and medertainian regions. Mint has few reginal limitations and is frost tolerant. Plants will die back in the winter and return in the spring, with a life span of about 10 years. Mint has many uses in ancient times as today culinary, medicinal, cosmetic and religious. Mint is grown all over the world and by the 17th century it was common just about every where on the globe.

 

Plant and Go

Dep. 1/8  spc. 8 row. 12-18  temp. 70-80  germ. 10-15  sun. Partial pH. 6.0-7.0 harv. 100-120 soil. Well  cont. 12 in fert. 16-16-16  fert. Freq. 3 wks  water 1.5. mat. dimen. 3ft tall sow. Spring name. Mentha

Companion plant: Lettuce

Details

While mint is primarily grown for its flavorful leaves, it can also produce delicate and charming flowers with proper care. Here's how to grow mint from seed to flower:

Germination:

  1. Timing: Start indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in your area. If your climate is warm enough, you can also sow seeds directly outdoors after the last frost.

Mint seeds

  1. Soil and container: Choose a well-draining potting mix or garden soil rich in organic matter. Use individual pots or a seed tray with drainage holes.
  2. Sowing: Scatter the tiny mint seeds on the surface of the soil. Don't cover them, as they need light to germinate. Lightly press the seeds down to ensure good contact with the soil.
  3. Watering and light: Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Use a spray bottle to gently mist the seeds and soil. Place the container in a bright, sunny location with temperatures around 70°F.
  4. Germination time: Mint seeds germinate in 7-14 days. Once seedlings have sprouted and developed a few true leaves, they're ready for transplanting.

Transplanting and care:

  1. Hardening off: If starting indoors, harden off the seedlings before transplanting them outdoors. Gradually expose them to outdoor conditions for a week or two to prevent shock.
  2. Planting location: Choose a location with full sun or partial shade, well-draining soil, and good air circulation. Mint is an invasive spreader, so consider planting it in a container or raised bed to control its growth.
  3. Watering and feeding: Water regularly, especially during hot and dry periods. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Mint doesn't require heavy feeding, but you can occasionally add a diluted organic fertilizer to encourage growth.
  4. Pinching and pruning: Regularly pinch off flower buds and new growth throughout the season. This will delay bolting (flowering) and encourage bushier growth. However, let some flower stalks develop if you want to enjoy the blooms.

Flowering:

  • Mint flowers typically appear in mid-summer to early fall. They come in small clusters and range in color from white and lavender to pink and purple.

Mint flowers

  • The flowers attract beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies. They also add a delicate and fragrant touch to your garden.
  • Once the flowers have faded, you can deadhead them to encourage further blooming or allow them to set seeds for future plantings.

Tips:

  • Choose mint varieties known for their attractive flowers, such as apple mint, pineapple mint, or chocolate mint.
  • Deadheading spent flower stalks will encourage more blooms.
  • Harvest leaves as usual throughout the season, even after flowering.
  • Mint is relatively pest-resistant, but keep an eye out for aphids or caterpillars and treat organically if necessary.

With a little care and patience, you can enjoy the beauty and fragrance of mint flowers alongside its flavorful leaves. Remember, the key is to provide adequate sunlight, consistent moisture, and to control bolting by pinching and pruning throughout the season. Happy gardening!

 

 

 

  • Prepare the soil

Use a rake to prepare the soil surface. You can also add a thin layer of vermiculite or sand to anchor the seeds in place.

  • Sow the seeds

Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the soil surface, then lightly press them into the soil. Mint seeds are very small and require light to germinate, so don't cover them.

  • Water and keep moist

Water the seeds when the top of the soil feels dry, about once a week. Mint seeds need consistent moisture, but don't waterlog the soil.

  • Provide warmth and light

Mint seeds germinate in 7–14 days in an ideal temperature of 70°F. Place the container in a warm place with indirect light until you see growth.

  • Plant indoors

Sow mint seeds indoors 8–10 weeks before the last frost, or direct sow in late spring. You can start by planting mint seeds indoors in small pots or a seed tray filled with potting mix.

  • Cut back in summer

In summer, when mint goes to flower and sets seed, cut the plant right back to the ground to encourage new growth.

 

Fun Fact

Did you know there are over 700 recognized varieties of mint in the world, each with its own unique aroma and flavor profile? From the familiar spearmint and peppermint to the more exotic chocolate mint and grapefruit mint, the versatility of this herb is truly mind-blowing!

Mythological origins: The name "mint" comes from the Greek nymph Minthe, who was transformed into the fragrant herb by the jealous goddess Persephone.

  • Ancient uses: Mints have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties and refreshing scent. Egyptians included them in their burial rituals, while Romans believed they boosted intelligence and digestion.
  • Surprise ingredient: Some unexpected foods and drinks use mint as a flavoring agent, including toothpaste, chewing gum, ice cream, and even some savory dishes like Moroccan lamb tagine.
  • Science of scent: The refreshing menthol found in peppermint stimulates the trigeminal nerve, creating a cooling sensation that actually masks pain and heat. So next time you have a sore throat, reach for a peppermint tea!

I hope these fun facts give you a new appreciation for the humble mint! What's your favorite mint variety? And are you curious about any specific uses for this versatile herb? I'm happy to explore more!

 

 

Tips

Companion Planting: Plant mint near vegetables like tomatoes and broccoli to deter pests like aphids and cabbage worms.

Dividing Delights: Mint spreads quickly, so dividing established clumps every few years helps control its growth and keeps it vigorous.

Winter Wonders: Some mint varieties, like peppermint, are hardy and can survive mild winters with a good layer of mulch. Others may need to be overwintered indoors in a sunny spot.

 

 

Conclusion

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