Mint is a perennial herb with a fruity, aromatic taste and endless varieties and numerous benefits.
Mint is easy to recognize because all varieties will have a square stem and a fragrance that may have you thinking you’ve walked into a candy shop. Mint leaves may be fuzzy, smooth, or wrinkled and may have tiny purple, pink, or white flowers or no flowers at all.
Mint is used in soups, sauces, and salads in the kitchen. In the garden, it makes a beautiful accent and ground cover. At home, they can be a fragrant air freshener and even a resource for calming stress and alleviating headaches.
This plant is as beautiful as it is functional. The best news of all is that it is easy to grow. Mint is almost foolproof. Thrives in both sun and shade making them an ideal gardening companion. The trick is to not let them grow too much. Give them plenty of moisture, but also adequate drainage. You can plant one or two plants (or cuttings) about 2 feet apart in moist soil and they will cover the ground in no time. Untamed, mint can easily grow over a foot tall relatively quickly. To keep mint contained, it’s best to use a large pot with rich soil, a thin layer of compost, or organic fertilizer. Keep pots protected during the winter.
For outdoor mint plants, as long as they are given moisture and sunshine, they are relatively maintenance free. If you have potted plants or indoor mint plants, water them regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Mint benefit from picking and pruning. They are shallow-rooted and easy to pull out, so there’s no reason to worry if you need to trim it from time to time. If your outdoor, physical barriers such as walls, walkways, or containers help keep things contained.
Mint is a fast grower, so frequent harvesting is key. Because the young leaves have more flavor, harvesting mint often is essential to getting the most out of your plant. Mint can be harvested as soon as it comes up. Fresh sprigs will keep for a few days in water, but bunches can also be air-dried or frozen. You may easily harvest one mint plant two or three times in one growing season.
For drying, it’s best to cut the leaves right before flowering. Store the dried leaves in an airtight container.
Mint is frost tolerant, which means it usually dies in the winter but comes back in spring. The roots stay hardy in zones 5 through 11. Lift and replant your mint every 3 to 4 years to keep your patch’s flavor and scent strong.
Mint seems to have endless uses. Use mint leaves to add flavor to many beverages from mojito to iced tea. Mint leaves of any variety can also add a nice fresh flavor to a simple pitcher of water. Fresh mint is a nice complement to lamb, fish, poultry, and vegetables such as peas, new potatoes, and carrots. Mint also blends well with green or fruit salads. You can also preserve it in vinegar or dry it for potpourri or sachets.