Inside and out, mint is easy to grow. Undemanding, this perennial aromatic plant has a great adaptability. Whether you are a gardening pro or not, it is therefore easy to always have fresh mint available to bring a particular flavor to a number of culinary preparations or to taste it as an infusion, and in any case benefit from its medicinal virtues. There are many species of mints. Everyone can therefore choose the one whose flavor and fragrance suits them best: sweet for spearmint, peppery for wild mint, subtly lemony for lemon mint and even both peppery with a citrus taste for bergamot mint. …Here’s everything you need to know about growing a mint, from planting to harvesting.
This is in springin March or April, that mint can be planted in the ground in regions with a mild climate, and in May or June if the risk of frost is still to be feared because this aromatic plant must be transplanted into a sufficiently warmed ground. The planting of mint during the fall is exclusively reserved for the southern regions. This gives the root system all winter to develop.
Planting in pots can take place at any time of the year as long as you want to keep this aromatic indoors. If it is intended for cultivation on the terrace or the balcony, then there too it is necessary to wait until the risks of frost are completely eliminated.
Wherever you want to install it, it’s upon purchase that we have to transplant the foot of mint.
Method of planting mint in open ground
- Prepare a place in the vegetable garden where the mint will have enough space. It can become invasive because its rhizomes are trailing.
- Dig a hole larger than the bucket, plant the mint plant then fill the space with a mixture of potting soil and mature compost or good topsoil enriched with compost.
- Firm the soil without hurting the plant.
- Water copiously.
Method of planting mint in a pot
- Choose a pierced pot larger than the bucket. The container must be spacious enough for the mint to take on sufficient size. This will allow a more abundant harvest of leaves.
- Place at the bottom of the pot a drainage layer such as clay balls.
- Take the plant out of its bucket and transplant it into a substrate made up of equal parts compost and potting soil.
- Tamp lightly.
- Water generously and allow excess water to drip through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.
Subsequently, in both cases, it is advisable to keep the soil cool without soaking it.
Mint loves semi-shaded exposures well sheltered from the prevailing winds. It can appreciate sunshine but only in the first part of the morning because the scorching sun does not suit it. It is preferably installed in a rich soil therefore humus, furniture et costs, although it can tolerate most types of soil. However, dry soil and clay soil are avoided.
It is necessary to provide enough space to its mint foot. For example, you can install it at the end of the vegetable garden or create an aromatic garden closer to the house and provide access with small Chinese steps to be able to pick mint even in rainy weather without having to walk in the wet ground. .
Maintain the mint
It’s a undemanding aromatic plantrobust, vigorous, which does not pose any particular problem.
The question of watering is crucial. This plant should never have its roots submerged in water, but it still needs cool soil, i.e. wet. In summer, supervision is essential because the soil dries very quickly, especially in a pot. If the foot lacks water, it dries out quickly and no longer produces leaves.
In order to limit the evaporation process, we put a mulch at the foot of this aromatic. Mulching is just as essential to limit the development of weeds and protect the roots throughout the winter against the cold.
The size of the mint is carried out during the picking but this plant being quite vigorous, it can quickly invade a corner of the garden. It is therefore necessary to to master thanks to the maintenance pruning. We also perform a summer size, pinching the stems at their ends before flowering as this promotes the development of new leaves. Finally, the autumn pruning consists of folding all the stems down to ground level.
If the roots come out of the pot, you can of course repot the mint in a larger container. As a general rule, its repotting is carried out every year in the spring, because its substrate is quickly depleted. All you have to do is take the plant out of its pot, remove all the old substrate, and replant it in a new, nutrient-rich substrate.
In the spring it is recommended to add fertilizer by amending the garden soil with mature compost. Thus the mint will produce more leaves.
In the garden, remember to pass the hoe regularly at the foot of this aromatic to keep the soil loose. This ensures better penetration of rain and watering water and at the same time we can hunt unwanted weeds.
Potted mint can be placed indoors during the winter if you wish to continue to eat its leaves and not risk seeing the pot burst by frost. But in regions with a mild climate, there is less risk.
Pests and diseases
Few parasites attack mint, apart from certain roundworms, nematodeswhich can be avoided by planting a foot of rubble marigold (Tegetes minutes) in the immediate vicinity. As to caterpillars which sometimes come to devour the mint leaves, they are dislodged by hand if possible to avoid treatment.
Mint is also not susceptible to disease. At most it can be touched by thepowdery mildewthe rust and the mildew, but only if it is confined and the humidity is too high. Installed in a ventilated place, in partial shade and if watering is not excessive, this aromatic should not be affected by any cryptogamic or other disease.
Harvest mint and store it
The harvest of mint grown outdoors begins in spring and endures until fall. If grown in a pot and kept indoors, it is throughout the year that we can harvest it. It is recommended to pick the leaves in the morning because they are then very fragrant, cutting each stem just above two leaves. This promotes the branching of the plant and the formation of new leaves. It is preferable to pick the mint as neededbecause freshly harvested it has a lot of taste and its fragrance is very present.
We keep our harvest in the fridge for a short week on the condition of placing it in a paper towel that has been taken care to moisten. For longer storage, the mint leaves can be chopped or left whole then dropped in oil where they will macerate for a fortnight. The freezing freshly picked mint leaves are also possible. The ideal is to prepare portions in small sachets or in an ice cube tray so that you only take out the desired amount later, but the mint will have lost a large part of its flavor. Finally, it is possible to to dry the leaves in the sun and keep them in a paper bag or a wicker basket in order to use them in infusion for example.