Tuesday, 18 June 2013

HOW TO GROW MINT

Photo: http://www.gardenersworld.com
Click here for the 'Seeds of Eaden' seed shop

Mint has many uses in the kitchen but I especially like to turn it into home made mint sauce or cook it with baby new potatoes or fresh peas.  Its also adds a zing to salads and of course is the perfect compliment to roast lamb. 

Photos: http://www.growveg.com
It is an easy herb to grow in the garden as it is so hardy and vigorous in growth; in fact it can be a bit of a thug and may need to be kept in check.  As a hardy perennial it returns every year to provide you with fresh leaves to use in your dishes and a wonderful scent.

How to Grow Mint
Mint prefers a well drained, fertile soil but is pretty tolerant of most soil conditions.  Mint requires little attention and will thrive in almost all conditions but it prefers a partially shady location as it likes moisture to its roots and may dry out in full sun.  If you are planting in a sunny position add some bark mulch around the base of the plant to help lock in moisture.

You can grow mint from seed, or young plants bought at garden centres. But if you are like me, you would rather get a plant for free so find someone who has some mint in their garden and take either a stem cutting or root cutting.

Photo: http://blog.cottontailsbaby.co.uk
Take a cutting from the top growth of your mint plant about 10 cm long.  Remove the growing tip of the stem and the bottom half of leaves.  Cut the stem just below a leaf node.  Fill a 9 cm pot with seed and cutting compost.  Make a hole with a dibber and insert the cutting. Water gently and place the pot in a propagator or cover with a plastic bag.  

Mint is so vigorous that you could place the stem in a glass of water and roots will emerge over the next few weeks ready for planting out.  Alternatively you can take a cutting of the root.  Place in a 9 cm pot, cover with compost and  water well.   After a few weeks the cutting will sprout leaves and you will have a new plant to pot on or to transplant into the garden.

Mint is a vigorous grower so it is advisable to grow it in a container to prevent its roots from spreading. You can sink the container into the soil so it appears that the plant is part of the herb bed.

Photos; http://www.instructables.com
Maintenance
Mint is particularly suited to container growing, and will grow happily in a pot.  However water the pot well to avoid drying out and feed with a liquid plant food once a month during the growing season.

Harvest the leaves regularly during the season by sniping off the sprigs as required.  Remove any flowers that appear as they will inhibit leaf production in order to maintain production right up until autumn.




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