Mint will grow almost anywhere, but prefers semi-rich moist soil and partial shade. Once mint is established it is fairly draught tolerant. It likes full sun to partial shade. Plant seeds only if you don't care what type of mint your planting. Mint seeds are so easily to hybridize that a true plant is hard to produce through seeds. Buying transplants is the best method of ensuring you get the mint variety you want. Mint grows from the spread of underground stems. It is a very aggressive herb, plant it in a container or plant box to keep the stems from taking over other plants. Mint should be replanted every three years. Established mint can be divided in spring before new growth begins. Mint grows very well in cool greenhouses or in containers at least 10 inches deep. Make sure the soil in the container is rich and replant or divide your mint every year to keep it healthy. Mint needs 1 inch of water per week. Keep mint pinched back for a fuller, bushier plant. Do not allow the flowers to bloom because it will effect the flavor of the mint. Cut back to half the size every spring and fall, remember it is difficult to over prune this herb.
It is said in Greek mythology that Pluto's jealous wife turned his beloved nymph, Minthe into the aromatic herb mint. In biblical times Hebrews laid mint on the floors of the synagogues floors to show hospitality and to impart it's wonderful scent as it was stepped on. Romans used mint to flavor sauces. They also added mint to flavor their wine. Women used a paste of mint and honey to mask the scent of alcohol on their breath.
Cooking with Mint
(Remember when cooking with herbs, 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs=1 teaspoon of dried herbs.)
- Steep a handful of fresh mint leaves in 2 cups of boiling water, let it steep for a few minutes and remove the leaves to make mint tea.
Mint in Skin and Hair Care
- Adding mint to your bathwater creates an invigorating and refreshing bath leaving a wonderful scent.
- Make a hair rinse by adding 1/3 cup mint and 1/3 cup rosemary to 4 cups boiling water. Allow to cool. Strain before using.
- Mint can also be used to help chapped hands. Use 1 cup of mint with 2 cups of boiling water, allow to cool and soak hands in the refreshing mint water.
Household Uses For Mint
- Scatter mint leaves around cupboards to keep out mice, or scatter the leaves around your pet's bedding to keep fleas away.
- Infuse in hot water to make a tea that helps with digestion.
- Pack a glass jar full of mint leaves, cover with olive oil, seal the jar with a tight fitting top, shake every day for 2 weeks to mix it up and use as a massaging oil to help relieve migraines and muscle aches.