Mint is an incredibly easy plant to grow: it looks so grass-like that it is often kept in pots to prevent it from spreading beyond its own patch. The intense and fresh aroma fills the lungs and just put a piece of leaf in the mouth to taste it. It grows well both on the balcony and in the garden and is a perennial, so it does not need to be planted every year.
This officinal plant has been known since Antiquity, the term comes from mintha, the name of a nymph in Greek mythology, passing through the term mentha used by the ancient Romans who already used the plant. Mint is part of the Lamiaceae family, like sage, thyme and rosemary.
Mint is useful for the garden because it is unwelcome to various pests, making it an excellent neighbor for many vegetables, especially good to have around tomato plants.
Where to Grow Mint: Climate and Soil
mint to plant
Variety of mint, harvest and properties
Where to Grow Mint: Climate and Soil
Climate and exposure . Lamenta is very suitable, although she does not like frost. As an exposure it is best to avoid full sun in warmer areas, it is an aromatic that looks great in semi-shaded positions. Therefore, it can be ideal to take advantage of spaces close to walls which are generally not good for most crops.
Stage. The best soil for growing mint should be fertile, draining maben, rich in humus and organic matter.
Growing mint in pots . To grow mint in a pot, you need a good size container (diameter of at least 40 cm), it is better not to put it with other vegetables or herbs because it tends to invade all the space . Being, as said, a plant that likes rich soils, it is best to renew it every two or three years.
the reproduction . Mint reproduces by means of seeds or cuttings. If you have the possibility, the second method is definitely worth it, because it is easier and faster.
From the seed. If you want to start from seed, put the mint between March and April, the seeds are put just below ground level, they germinate quite quickly.
Cutting. The optimal period for cutting mint is March, April, May and September, it is a plant that is very easy to root. Simply take a branch at least 20cm long from an existing plant and plant one end in the ground until it takes root. If you wish, you can also leave it in water for a week and then transplant it with the roots released.
Planting and expanding mint . Mint forms a bush, the distance between the plants does not matter because the competition between them is the one that best systematizes the spaces, normally leaving at least 40 cm between each plant and 70 cm between the rows. Mint is a perennial crop that tends to colonize all spaces, which makes it necessary to contain it. A good method is to leave it in a pot, rather also by inserting a bottomless pot into the garden soil. Alternatively, you can use wood panels or metal sheets underground to create dividers that enclose the mint plants and prevent uncontrolled expansion.
Cultivation operations. The soil around the mint plant should be free of weeds, which is quite simple since mint is a vigorous, well-compacted shrub. The hoe is also useful because the hoe oxygenates the soil. Finally, a straw mulch can be good for containing weeds and also keeping roots warm when winter comes. Mint does not require much care, it is enough to keep the bush clean by removing dead branches. Each year, during the summer, a more decisive pruning can be carried out to renew the plant.
Irrigation . The soil for mint should not be too dry, during hot periods the plants should be moistened. The younger the mint plants, the more they suffer from drought, so to best water them, avoid wetting the leaves and letting water fall directly on the ground.
Parasites and diseases. Mint mainly suffers from two fungal disease problems: rust (which shows up as brown/yellow spots on the leaves) and root rot. Both diseases are caused by standing water, avoiding it avoids the problem.
Subsidiaries. Mint in the garden repels various pests, which do not like its smell, so it is very useful to associate it with tomatoes, in general it is an excellent plant to put in the garden.
Variety, harvest and properties of mint
Choose mint. If there are leaves on the plant, it can still be harvested, regardless of the period or number of leaves remaining. The mint plant has extraordinary vigor and even if cut completely, it still manages to regrow.
Storage . Mint is at its best when freshly harvested, but it can be perfectly dried. It can be dried with a dryer or by hanging the branches in a dry and ventilated place. The dried leaves are particularly useful for making herbal teas and peppermint teas.
Variety of mint. There are different types of mint, each has a different aroma, more or less intense, although they all have in common the fresh flavor that characterizes the leaves of this plant. Here are some of the main varieties of mint:
Mentha piperita. It is the best known mint, with a very intense and balsamic aroma. It is used in herbal teas and decoctions, it is ideal for making mint syrup and for liqueurs. The plant is tall, reaching even 70 cm, and the stem is woody. There are several sub-varieties: to the class of mint belong black mint, a very hardy plant, white mint, the best known variety as an aroma.
Gentile mint. As its name suggests, it has a “milder” flavor and is therefore less intrusive and for this reason it is excellent to use as a spice in cooking.
Mint arvensis. Field variety with hairy leaves, typical of sub-mountainous areas.
Mentuccia or nepetella ementha pulegium. It is characterized by its small leaves.
Water mint or water mint. It is found as a wild herb, growing in small ponds and swamps or in very moist soils.
culinary use . Mint is an aromatic with many uses. In the kitchen, it can flavor salads and is often used as a spice, especially on vegetables (try zucchini with mint), but it is also ideal in herbal tea or associated with tea. Then you can make excellent liqueurs and syrups with which refreshing ice cubes, drinks and ice cream come to life. In summer, fresh mint cocktails are a must, one of the most famous being the famous mojito.
properties of mint . Mint is a medicinal plant rich in properties. The most well-known benefit of mint is the balsamic effect, generally attributed to a positive effect on the respiratory tract. Peppermint is also indicated as a digestive aid.