Growing Mint

Among all of the herbs I grow in my garden, mint requires absolutely the least amount of care.

I grow two main varieties, spearmint and peppermint. You can easily tell them apart by their distinct aromas and by their stems and leaves. Spearmint has a broader leaf, its stem seems to be a bit greener and the leaves are more crinkled. Peppermint on the other hand has a narrower leaf and its stems are a bit redder.

Beyond the traditional spearmint and peppermint there are an unbelievable number of varieties of mint with interesting names and subtle aromas. Like one called ‘Hillary Sweet Lemon Mint’ and for those with a sweet tooth there is chocolate mint. One of my personal favorites is apple mint. I like its fuzzy foliage. It also makes a nice addition to a flower arrangement.

No matter which mint you choose, they all prefer humus rich, consistently moist soil and full sun, although they will also do well in partial shade.

Over time, you may find that your plants can become tall and spindly. If this happens, just cut them back. I use scissors, but if you have a larger plot you can actually mow your mint with a lawn mower. This will cause the plants to produce lots of new tender shoots, where you’ll find the best flavor.

If you’ve ever grown mint, you know a little of this plant can go a long way because it is such a rampant grower. To keep it from invading other parts of your garden plant it in a bottomless plastic nursery pot that is at least 10 inches tall. The aggressive underground stems will be confined within the container. This will keep the mint from overwhelming other plants in your garden and you will still have plenty to use and share with your friends.