When people talk about versatile and multipurpose plants, mint always tops the list as it can be infused with all kind of goodies from smoothies, essential oils to beauty products and still be useful. What makes it even more loved is the fact that it is available in various varieties such as peppermint and spearmint and again it can be used as a powerful medicinal herb. Besides if it wasn’t for mint then the world would be a pretty horrible place thanks to the tons and tons of people who suffer from halitosis and turn to mint for rescue. In other words, there is nothing you can’t do with mint because you will still find it in your favorite cuisines. Most garden owners freak out at the thought of planting mint as it tends to spread very quickly while others buy it. But if it is your favorite why don’t you grow your own and enjoy the convenience of using mint fresh from the garden whenever you need it and in whichever amount you require. If you are wondering how it is grown, then don’t worry because the guide below will leave no stone unturned in the mint growing process such that by the time you finish reading, you will be off to your garden to plant it.
Get your mint
By now we assume you have it, but if not, then not to worry because this guide gives you the A to Z of mint and that includes even where to get it. Anyway enough of the meaningless banter, you can use either seeds or a cut a sprig from a pre-existing mint plant. However, it is more advisable that you get a sprig because growing your mint from scratch is quite hectic. Cut a four-inch sprig from an existing plant and then place it in a glass of water. It does not need a lot of leaves; in fact, you should remove any leaves that are below the water line. After about seven days you will notice white roots appearing, leave it for another week and then now follow the steps below.
As mentioned earlier, mint grows quite fast, and as much as you’d want to plant it directly on the soil, it is not advisable as it may take over your garden. That’s because it grows by underground root runners. Once the roots begin showing, transfer it to a container as this aids in preventing it from taking over your garden. It should be a 12 to 16 inch pot so that it may support its rapid growth. Also ensure that the container or barrel in which you’ve put it in contains no cracks or else you’ll find it in your lettuce, tomatoes, green beans or any other plants you have in your garden. Because mint requires well-drained soils, add a water-retaining polymer in the barrel to aid in that. This step is also known as potting.
Plant the container
Once you plant it in a bucket and put enough well-drained soil, now dig a hole and submerge the bucket in it until only about 2 inches of it is left above the ground. This will ensure that the roots won’t ramble all over your landscape causing you frustrations. If you are planting multiple mint containers, ensure that you leave a 5-inch gap between them so you can give room to each mint plant to grow. However, if it is for personal use, about two of them are enough because as shown earlier, mint boasts rapid growth and will grow back a few days after you cut it.
Water the mint adequately
One of mint’s growth conditions is that it requires well drained and moist soils. So even if you have a polymer in the container, ensure that you water it frequently especially in the first year, but do not overdo it because if it soaks, then it won’t grow well.
You can harvest it at any size you desire by pinching off stems. However, if you want a bumper harvest, for instance, if you are having a barbeque and planning to use it for flavoring or garnishing, wait until just before the bloom and cut the whole plant on the first or second set of leaves. This is the best time as it is full and has more intense flavor.
Pest and disease
Thanks to their strong scent, most mint plants are rarely attacked by pest and diseases. However, they are still vulnerable to white and black flies, snails, slugs and spiders thanks to their rugged leaf composition.
Conditions for growth
All mint plants prefer cool, moist spots with partial shade, but they will also thrive in full sun. As mentioned severally in the article, the plant requires moisture and well-drained soils too, so select a damp area in your garden with partial shade or full sun. Collect the soil here and add it to the pot and then transplant it. Even though it tolerates a light frost, it will die during winter because of the cold hence means it is more suited to warm areas. Nevertheless, that should not scare you because they roots are quite steady and it will begin growing back as soon as climatic conditions are right.