Growing Fresh Mint

Growing Mint – It’s So Easy

Mint – seems like people either love it or hate it. I love it…so when I discovered that there was mint growing in my backyard, I was thrilled. If you love mint like I do, you may want to grow some yourself.

Not only do I enjoy the freshness, scent and taste of fresh garden mint, it has many purported health benefits.


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Health Benefits of Mint

While you may find various claims about herbs and their health benefits, many claims may or many not be scientifically proven so I will not make any claims about the exact health benefits of mint. Some claim that it can aid in digestion, IBS symptoms, heartburn, and more.

My view is that mint is a naturally growing green plant / herb and as with most plants, there are health benefits when used or eaten in moderation…and this is how I consume mint. If you use it in certain ways and find benefits, then that is fantastic! Mint is also, as with most herbs, very low in calories – about 5 calories per 2 tablespoons – so there can be no guilt in consuming it.

So Easy to Grow

As for growing mint…well…it is super easy. In fact, it is very hard to kill it.

I am fortunate and quite happy to have a few mint patches growing in my garden / yard. Confession: I do not grow mint in my garden…it grows wild in my yard…and I really do not have any control over it but, I don’t mind. Even when we cut the grass and some mint gets mulched up, it smells so fresh and delicious that it reminds me to go pick some and use it!

Mint Plant Leaves
Mint Plant in full growth mode – ready to harvest. As with most plants, harvest before flowering for best flavor.

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Be Careful Where You Plant Mint

As mentioned, mint is very easy to grow. It just grows – kind of like my rhubarb. (Both of these may have been planted by the previous owners of our house.) It just grows and grows and grows. It grows and spreads so much that for some, they may call this a weed. Be wary…in a smaller yard, it may easily become your own personal pesky weed.

With that super spread-ability of mint in mind, many people recommend NOT planting this in your garden with other plants, as it can easily take over. You can plant it but, it is best to have a separate pot or planter so that it remains contained.

Mint Leaves Closeup
Mint leaves will add a hint of mint flourish and pretty leaf garnish to just about any summer drink

 

Mint in a Planter Pot

This – the separate planter pot – is probably the most important thing to consider when deciding to grow mint. Unless you have a very large garden with a specific area for your mint plant, or you have a spot in your backyard where it can grow freely, you are best to plant your mint in a planter pot.

Note that even if you plant mint in a planter, the roots will quickly fill up the pot. Mint roots grow quickly and are thin and prolific. They are unlike a plant with a root ball or single large root. I presume this is why mint grows so easily in the wild when left to its own devices – the roots spread and reproduce (in the right conditions, like crazy!).

Variations of Mint

I have a few patches of mint in my backyard which grow…and grow…all on their own. Recently, I purchased an orange mint plant from my local nursery. I have to admit, seeing how mint plants grow, I was somewhat nervous to plant this in the ground. So, as a start, I planted it in its own planter….and so it grows.

Orange Mint Leaves
Orange Mint Leaves are a different shape from standard mint leaves. As well, orange mint leaves have a reddish tint on the edges. And maybe obviously, this mint also has an orange flavor – nice!

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What I found out is that, as in the ground, mint is very easy to grow. As well, mint will spread or grow as much and big as it can. Basically, mint plants – I suppose like gold fish – will grow as big as their environment allows.

Orange Mint

Here are my 2 orange mint plants – different sized plants based on different sized planters. (These are my d-i-y self watering planters which is another article / project.) It can also be noted that both root systems are growing so large that they are coming through the ventilation and drainage holes in the bottom of the planters. These orange mint plants want to grow even bigger.

Orange Mint Plants
You can see the difference in the size of my 2 orange mint plants. The larger planter is about 2.5 – 3 times the size of the smaller planter. Lesson: The larger the planter pot, the larger the mint plant you will get.

I have not yet tried to plant some of my orange mint in the ground. Add that to my TO-TRY list as I would not mind having it grow wild. Note that mint plants can easily be separated without much or any damage to the mother plant.


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Mint is a Perennial

If you did not already guess, mint is a perennial meaning that it will come back year after year even in harsh climates (such as ours). So plant it once outside in your yard or garden and you can have mint for years to come.

Organic Mint

Another great thing about growing your own mint – as with my own – is that it is completely organic. No, it has not been certified by any government body but, it grows in my backyard where we do not use any pesticides or chemicals – and you can tell by the state of our grass 🙂 – so, I consider it 100% certified organic mint.

So go ahead and try your hand, or should I say green-hand (no green thumb required), at growing some mint this year. It is literally as easy as growing a weed.

RELATED: Chick Pea Tabbouleh with Cucumbers and Mint Recipe

 


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