Planting and harvesting mint — learn all about the classic

Mint is a classic aromatic plant that is mainly used to flavor tea, cold drinks or desserts. In addition to the well-known peppermint, there is a very extensive range of mints, all of which are suitable for consumption. In its original habitat, the mint grows in damp places and along the banks. The demands of mint on the soil and care are corresponding. The scented perennials are best planted in pots, balcony boxes and large containers. Mint is hardy, perennial and hardy. Botanically, mint is called Mentha and belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). The different types of mint have a wide range, from aromas containing menthol to fruity-fresh and sharp tastes. With its characteristic scent, the leaves are predestined for fresh consumption, but the mint also has an intense taste when dried. The fragrant plant blooms in July and August and can be harvested after the winter from the budding in May until well into the autumn.

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Interesting facts about mint

Botanical name: Mentha x piperita, Mentha arvensis, Mentha species, Mentha suaveolens, Mentha crispa, Mentha aquatica
Other names: Peppermint, spearmint, pineapple mint, mojito mint, Moroccan mint, nana mint, English spearmint, apple mint, lemon mint, chocolate mint, strawberry mint, spearmint, brook mint, spearmint, tea mint
Use:

perennial shrub, for tea, cold drinks, desserts, lamb dishes, sauces, salads, bee shrubs, bath additives, cosmetic products;

To be used fresh or dried
Origin: Mediterranean, Near East
Flower colours: pink, violet, white
Flowering period: June to September
Special features: The content of ingredients is highest in the leaves just before flowering. Without pruning, the mint will flower earlier. The flowers are a valuable food source for many insects. It is important to know that all mint species have shallow roots and that these runners form runners. Under good conditions, mints spread over large areas. A culture in pots prevents the mint from spreading. Some mint species are only partially hardy. Here it is advisable to cultivate them in pots.

In which location does mint feel most comfortable?

The aromatic, fragrant perennial prefers a sunny to partially shaded location with humus-rich, well-drained soil. In contrast to many other herbs, blazing sun and drought damage the mints and growth is only slight. The optimal location for mints is not in the blazing midday sun and is airy so that the herb dries quickly. Damp foliage can lead to powdery mildew and other fungal diseases.

Mint plants in pots that are protected from rain on the balcony or terrace are well suited. Make sure that the volume of soil is as large as possible and that you use humus-rich potting soil, preferably peat-free herbal soil. The ideal location for mint has a pH value of 6. In herb spirals, cultivation takes place in the lower, moist area, but standing water should be avoided. For a short time, mints can also be kept indoors and harvested as a houseplant, but an outdoor space is better.

Fact: Mint grows wildly! The underground runners migrate over long distances and the herb can quickly spread luxuriantly in the garden. If this is not desired, you can use a large tub when planting the mints and bury it in the ground as a barrier. Or you can use a so-called rhizome barrier to plant the mint.

How do I plant my mint in the garden?

Mentha is undemanding and requires little care after planting. If the location is bright and without root pressure from large plants, the tea herb will develop well. The classic feels very comfortable on humus-rich soil, drought is not tolerated. For good growth, put high-quality potting soil or peat-free herbal soil in the planting hole when planting. With a dose of natural fertilizer you promote the growth of the mint. To avoid unwanted spreading of the mint, you should plant the herb as follows:

  1. Choose a large plastic pot or tub with a diameter of at least 30 cm. You can either drill many large holes in this pot or you can remove the bottom of the pot completely. This plastic pot acts as a boundary for the mint’s rhizomes.
  2. Dig a hole the size of the plastic pot and insert it into the ground at ground level.
  3. Fill potting soil or herbal soil into the container sunken into the ground.
  4. Then pot the mint out of the culture pot and plant it in the middle of the ground. Press the substrate firmly and water the new planting. As an alternative to this method, you can also plant mints with Kölle root barrier (rhizome barrier).

    How do I plant my mint in a pot?

    1. Choose a container with a capacity of at least 5 liters. Larger pots are possible at any time, because the scented plant grows strongly and care is easier with more soil volume.
    2. Make sure the jar has a drainage hole.
    3. Put expanded clay drainage in the bucket as the bottom layer.
    4. Only use high-quality potting soil or organic herbal soil for planting.
    5. Make sure the soil is evenly moist all year round, but avoid waterlogging.

Fertilize every 6 weeks from June to August with Kölle Organic Herbal Fertilizer. Our gardening tip: protect the potted plant from too low temperatures in winter with fleece and make sure that the soil does not dry out completely, but is never waterlogged.

How do I properly care for my mint?

Regular pruning of mints is important for bushy growth. Even if no leaves are used, it is advisable to cut back the long shoots from time to time. This way the herb will branch better and tender new shoots will grow back. A pruning in autumn is not necessary, because the shoots serve as natural winter protection for the mint. Ideally, remove the foliage in early spring. In severe frost, you can put some brushwood over the herb to protect it. In particular, varieties with variegated white foliage or strawberry mint, for example, are not absolutely hardy in harsh locations. It is therefore advisable to protect these mints from severe frost.

How do I water my mint correctly?

In the first year after planting, it is important that you water your mint as needed. This means that you water the herb with 3 to 5 liters of water once a week during phases without precipitation. In this way, the aromatic plant quickly develops into a robust plant. Once the Mentha has established itself at the site, watering is only necessary in dry phases and on light sandy soils. Potted mint requires regular watering from May to September.

How do I harvest and use my mint?

harvest mint

Along with lemon balm, mint is one of the most vigorous types of herbs. Depending on the region, you can harvest the first mint from the beginning of April. Immediately after sprouting, the tender leaves can be used as a basis for tea or to flavor dishes. At the optimal location and with ideal weather conditions, you can harvest as long as the leaves are growing until autumn. The content of ingredients is highest when you harvest late in the morning and use it fresh . Furthermore, the content of ingredients is highest just before the mint blooms. Cut off the shoots with scissors andit is best to use the leaves directly. With good growth, you can dry Mentha and thus preserve the unique aroma.

use mint

Fresh mint leaves are useful for flavoring sauces and lamb dishes (known primarily in English cuisine). Another classic use of mint is to make tea. Combinations of different herbs are also well suited. Well-known combinations are mint leaves with lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, sage or ginger.

5 ideas for using mint:

  • tea (hot or cold)
  • syrup
  • Pesto
  • lemonade

Body peeling Our gardening tip: some of the essential oils in the mint leaves are lost when they dry . Nevertheless, even collected and dried mint leaves are aromatic.

What types of mint are there?

The best-known mint is peppermint (Mentha x piperita), but in addition to the classic, there are also a number of interesting varieties that have a unique scent and taste.

Please note that the range can vary seasonally and that you can only find certain types of mint in garden centres, you can buy many mints online.

What pests and diseases can mint get?

Under optimal site conditions, mints are robust herbs that are rarely attacked by pests or fungal diseases. Possible problems with mint can include:

Aphids/Mint Aphid

First of all, an infestation with lice can be seen on the tips of the mint leaves. A lice infestation usually occurs in the room when there is little light. Cut back the plant and discard the affected shoots. Strengthen the herb with Kölle Organic Plant Treatment. The plant’s own immune system is strengthened in a natural way and the spread of pests and fungal infestation is reduced.

Rust/Mint Rust/Peppermint Rust

With brown-red spots on the leaves, the plants become unfit for consumption. The fungal disease first affects the older leaves of the mint. This fungal disease occurs particularly frequently in very humid summers. It is best to cut back the plants and treat plants that are susceptible to mildew and fungi with Kölle Bio Aktivmittel. The susceptibility to peppermint rust is highly dependent on the variety. Some mint varieties are hardly affected, other varieties are quickly affected by unfavorable conditions. If the mint rust infestation is particularly severe, the leaves will dry up and die off.

 

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about mint

What is the best way to preserve Mentha?

All mint varieties can be used fresh or dried. With a high content of essential oils, the leaves have a much more intense flavor when eaten fresh. With good growth in summer, however, there are various ways to conserve the rich supply. The characteristic mint aroma is not lost during drying. After cutting, tie the mint stems into small bunches and hang them upside down in a shady, airy spot to dry. It is important that the drying is done very carefully, because at temperatures above 30 °Cthe essential oils dissolve in air and the leaves lose their aroma. After just a few weeks, the leaves are dry and can be filled into screw-top jars. Other preservation options include freezing the fresh leaves or pickling them in oil.

When can mint be harvested?

You can already harvest the first mint leaves after they have sprouted in spring. With good growth in June, July and August, it is important that you harvest the herb regularly. Mint regrows well and forms a multitude of young leaves. The pruning delays or prevents the formation of flowers and there are always young shoots on the hardy plant.

Can mint be eaten raw?

Young mint leaves are tender and, depending on the type of mint, they are ideal as an edible decoration or for fruit salads and desserts. Older leaves often contain more essential oils and have a very intense taste.

What are the possibilities of using the mints in the household?

In addition to the classic areas of application (tea, meat dishes, cocktails), there are a variety of ways in which you can use the mint types. Soaking in vinegar or oil is a variant of using the aromatic leaves if the growth is good. Scented pillows can also be made from the dried mint leaves. Mint is also suitable as an addition to muffins, cakes, potato dishes, to flavor water and much more.

Are mints bee friendly?

Mints delight with lush flowers in summer. In addition to butterflies, wild bees also visit the mint flowers. The second flowering of the mint in late summer and autumn is particularly important for wild bees, as there is less pollen and nectar available.

Does the mint need to be cut back in the fall?

Leave all shoots on the plant and do not cut back in the fall. The shoots serve as natural winter protection for the perennial and as a shelter for insects in winter. Mint should only be pruned back in the spring before they sprout.

What is the difference between spearmint and peppermint?

The term mint includes all species of the genus Mentha. Peppermint is the best-known species of mint, it is a hybrid of spearmint (Mentha spicata) and river mint (Mentha aquatica). Typical of peppermint is the high menthol content.

How can mint be dried?

Either you hang the freshly cut sprouts of the mint upside down in a shady and warm place to dry. You can also dry individual leaves laid out flat. Or you can dry the herbs in the oven at 30 °C. It is important that the oven door is open and the leaves lie loosely on the baking sheet. After 20 to 30 minutes the mint leaves will be dry.

How is mint propagated?

The herb can easily be propagated by cuttings. The best time to do this is early spring or late summer. Use sharp scissors to cut the cuttings only from healthy plants, these should not have flowers. The young plants develop optimally in seed trays or in a seed set with a transparent cover. After 3 to 4 weeks the first roots have formed and the young plants can be repotted in pots with potting soil. Large plants can also be propagated by division. To do this, cut off a section with a spade in spring or autumn and replant it in a new location.

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