Mint, all of it!

johnorangeMarch 25, 2014

There are some great mint discussions here and I'm adding my two-cents worth and hoping some of you will contribute your experiences.

When I was in my early teens, my grandmother liked making tea from balm, a strong mint that grows wild in East Texas. I remember how happy she was when we kids found her a batch. My mom also used to have a really nice clump of peppermint growing by the faucet outside and I liked eating it raw but Mom also made a summertime drink by adding a few ice cubes to a blender filled with Welch's grape juice and then she added some fresh mint leaves to the blender. It sure gets a lot of green specks between your teeth but is worth it for the refreshment.

Now I have a couple of outdoor pots with peppermint and spearmint. I sometimes use fresh leaves for decorating a citrus pie and I just grab a few sprigs now and then and eat it raw. It's also really good added to your cold water pitcher in the 'fridge. It keeps well and can be refilled several times using the same mint, just to give the water a mild mint flavor.

I'm reading here in the forum that I need to re-pot my mint to keep it from becoming root bound. My planter is about 20 inches in diameter and 10 inches deep. It's currently overflowing with mint and spearmint mixed. How do I know when to re-pot? I have a bunch of extra mint growing on the ground near my air conditioner drip line so I have plenty of runners to play with. Are there any good recipies that use both mint and lemon juice? I'm also trying to figure out to use lemon juice by the gallon.

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eibren(z6PA)

If your pot of mint continues to do well, why interfere with a good thing? When it shows signs of unhappiness due to overcrowding, imo that is the time to repot.

Since you have many runners, you can just start an additional pot. Then, if you repot later and your mint reacts poorly to the repotting, you still have your second pot to fall back on.

Mint can fill a large tub, given the right conditions.

Have you ever tried planting pineapple sage in the ground down there? It seems to me it could be perennial there, depending on what part of Texas you are in.

I have been wondering how large it would get after a few years.

Pineapple mint plus pineapple sage make an excellent tea.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 3:32PM
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johnorange

elbren, thanks for the "sage", errr, mint advice! I love mint so I may see what I can do to increase my soil space without cutting too far into my meager spare time. I have found that my mint potted in sandy soil in a partially shaded place makes a lot more leaves than the mint that is growing out on the ground. I haven't heard of pineapple sage. I'm interested if it tastes like pineapple. My mint survived like a charm through two freezing rain events this year. The leaves were coated with a pretty thick layer of ice and didn't wilt a bit after thawing out. The temp was barely under freezing so I guess the leaf sap didn't get cold enough to freeze.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 4:14PM
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thatcompostguy

I planted Kentucky Colonel mint by my front door in early 2006, I guess. It's traditional in the South to do that. Used to be back in the day that when company was coming, you'd beat the mint by the door with a broom so the smell would follow visitors into the house and they wouldn't notice the lack of cleanliness so much. I did it just because it's traditional and I like it. Not so much for the other reasons. :-)

I didn't take care of it much other than to pick some once in a while. Mowed it off now and then. Smells great. I was hoping it would take over and it did spread, but not like I had hoped. That was the north side.

In 2011, I built a real house attached to this little house and all that dirt got scraped up and used later for fill around the foundation. They had no idea there was mint there and I was OK with it going away. But the following spring, I had mint scattered all over the place around the new house. The best patch I have now is on the North East corner. More on the east side spreading around the corner and back down the south direction. It must be a good 10 or 15 feet along the wall now, with at least 10 feet out into the yard in some places. it's amazing! I love it! By June, it will be knee high or higher and ready to cut back for drying.

The last two winters, it stayed green throughout. But this winter was a lot colder a lot longer and it all died back to the ground. But it's all bouncing back now and looks great! Looking forward to it taking over again.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:59AM
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johnorange

chrisb, now THAT would have to be a nice smelling yard right after you mow!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 4:20PM
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Adrift-in-beauty(9b)

I grow orange mint it loves direct sun and ALOT OF water it creeps under all my roses and even around my rocks in the rock garden

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 4:21PM
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thatcompostguy

It looks better before it's cut, though. Where it's so thick, not much else grows under it. All that is left is runners and dirt for a while.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 9:42AM
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johnorange

I took a few photos before I cut some leaves. Last year my mint made lots of stems and runners but very few leaves. I'm trying to keep it cut down this year to encourage branching of the stems. This is a mixture of spearmint and peppermint. It gets full sun through an open doorway for a few hours a day and shaded the rest of the day.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:24AM
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johnorange

Here is the open doorway facing south. So far, it's been a great place for the mint.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:28AM
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johnorange

This peppermint has been growing here for about two years now. The runners are very vigorous but it didn't make many leaves in the summer last year. The soil stays pretty wet from the air conditioner drip line.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:32AM
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johnorange

I experi-mint-ed a bit today and found that adding a double handfull of fresh spearmint leaves to your lemonade is quite tasty. I didn't want to heat the leavs as in making tea so I added the leaves to a cup of lemon juice, added sweetener (I like agave nectar), stirred it in and let it sit for a while, full strength. Then I added the water and chilled. I left the mint leaves in the lemonade so it will probably get stronger.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 4:35PM
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eibren(z6PA)

I like your brick doorway. Did you build your house yourself?

The thick herb pot is great, too, especially in a climate as warm as yours. What a good way to protect the mint from overheating!

Pineapple sage is a perennial, but not in my zone. I believe it might be in yours, although frost will almost certainly damage it. It has a nice fragrance reminiscent of pineapple, and is excellent in teas, especially if combined with pineapple mint. Pineapple mint is often sold in varegated form, with white spots on the leaf margins. It will sometimes overwinter in my climate. They enhance each other, because one has more fragrance and the other more taste.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 2:37PM
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johnorange

elbren, the rock structure is an outdoor shower....last summer's project. Now, I'm trying to do some edible landscaping around it.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 4:01PM
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Adrift-in-beauty(9b)

Have you tried orange mint has a great smell and grows like a weed

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:48AM
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johnorange

I only have peppermint and spearmint. I'll keep an eye out for some other varieties. If the mint grows like a weed, maybe I can keep some :>)

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 3:49PM
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