The other day I mentioned rosemary but another herb that I utilize often is mint. While mint is a great plant to have it also has a reputation. You see, once it gets established it grows fast – very fast. It can quickly overtake other plants that are near it. Some people wouldn’t plant it with a ten foot pole (That would be quite a trick). But I’m not writing this post to discourage you from planting it. When summertime comes – or simply warm weather – I can’t go without my sweet tea and mint makes the perfect flavoring for a great southern sweet tea. I just chop up a few springs and let the mint leaves steep with the tea bag and it makes an awesome refreshment on those days when the sun can be unforgiving. I’ve toyed with the idea of drying my mint and saving it for winter as an herbal hot tea. If you decide to dry mint hang the mint upside down while drying so that the oils inside the stems move into the leaves and maximize the mint flavor.
In our garden we have two kinds of mint – really two is enough, I don’t need any more!
The one I use most often is chocolate mint (Mentha piperita). It has a very minty taste with a hint of chocolate. I use it in tea more often than our other mint. I also recently found a way to make a chocolate chip mint ice cream from the fresh mint leaves – some of the best ice cream you’ll taste!
The other mint we have is spearmint (Mentha spicata). I favor the chocolate mint for its flavor but spearmint is good in a pinch. My only issue with the spearmint is the location I planted it. Now it’s running amok over the other perennials in the garden next to the back porch. I new this would happen but did it anyway for lack of a great location. Most people recommend potting mints but you do have to make sure you keep them moist. They don’t enjoy being thirsty!
How to propagate Mint:
I will either stick pieces of mint stem in a moist medium (potting soil is fine) and keep it moist until after I’m sure rooting has occurred or I’ll take cuttings and place them in a jar of water. Roots will form using the water method in 7-10 days at most and very possibly faster. Mint will root along the stem and you can snip a rooted piece of stem off anytime during the growing season to create a new plant.