Refresh Your Mint Patch at the Beginning of the Growing Season
Don’t you love mint! I think having a few mint plants in your herb garden is a must. There is so much you can do with it; peppermint tea for upset tummy’s; herbal tinctures for colds and there are endless uses for cooking! Plus, it is one of the easiest herbs to grow. Mint requires containment or it will quickly become a nuisance in your yard. When you grow it in containers, you also need to refresh your mint patch to keep it growing at peak performance.
Mint grows by underground runner and it will have grown into a spiral mess inside the container you planted last year. It is necessary to refresh the soil in the container and give your plant space to grow.
I keep my mint in pots on the patio, but I’ve also seen them in tubs in the garden. I once belonged to a CSA and the farmer had half barrels of mint that you could take cutting off of each week. They were functional and beautiful, and I’m trying to recreate that in my garden this year.
I want to be able to go out in the garden, run my hands through the mint, and take fresh cuttings for tea or cooking. I don’t think it’s really possible to have too much.
Peppermint and spearmint are the standards for culinary and medicinal purposes. Last year I purchased an orange mint and a chocolate mint and because I knew I was moving, I placed them in the same container. This wasn’t really a good idea, they have completely grown together and the orange mint seems to have taken over.
The time for refreshing your mint patch is now – when your plants are just beginning to wake up for the growing season.
Refresh Your Mint Patch
Take the old plant out of the pot and tease apart the roots. You do not have to be “gentle” with it – just pry apart with your thumbs or a fork. These roots are tough. I actually used a paring knife and cut mine into smaller pieces.
Clean up the surface of the pot, cutting off any stray runners and removing dead leaves. Be careful with the part you are discarding because clippings – even small parts – can sprout roots and take over your garden or compost pile. Although if I have a volunteer patch of really fragrant peppermint, I might not complain!
Choose a new container with adequate drainage or drill holes. I was able to snag these old galvanized horse feeding buckets for a few bucks each. They are going to look fantastic in the garden.
I put shredded paper in the bottom to take up some space and create a small reservoir for water retention. Then I added some quality potting soil – about 2 inches – use as much as you need to bring the plant up to the level you need it to be in the pot.
Place your refreshed plant into the new pot and backfill with potting soil, gently pushing the soil around the plant roots.
Water well so the soil can settle. Add additional potting soil if needed.
By doing this refresh at the beginning of the plants growing cycle you will give it a good start. Water the plant with worm casting tea or compost tea for an extra boost.
If I keep dividing my mint each year, I will have so much I won’t be able to use it all – This is what I’m currently doing with all my mint varieties. The possibilities are endless.
If you have a friend that has a fragrant mint you love, see my previous post – growing mint from cuttings – Drying mint for tea and tincture is easy too. Follow these directions for drying mint and other herbs.
Do you regularly refresh your mint patch?