Growing mint is relatively simple for most gardeners, especially if it gets plenty of sunshine and water. The downside of its rampant growth is its tendency to take over adjoining beds. For this reason, planting mint in containers is recommended.
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You can plant mint from seed, but chances are you won’t get the type of plant you bargained for since all types of mint plants cross-pollinate resulting in hybrid seeds. The surer bet is to pick up and transplant from your local nursery.
If you decide to grow from seed, start them indoors about 7 weeks before the last frost, then transplant them outside to have a healthy bloom throughout the summer. If you don’t plan on removing the mint plant each season, cover it with compost in the fall.
And whatever you do, keep your mint plants separate from your other crops! Separate containers work best, but you can also sink barriers at least 1 foot (30.5 cm) into the soil to discourage the plant from spreading.
Planting depth: about ¼ inch (6.25 mm)
Spacing in rows: about 12-18 inches (30-45 cm)
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Mint does not do well on dry soil, so try to keep the soil continually moist. As with most other garden plants, it prefers nutrient-rich and well-drained soil.
Give the plant full sun to partial shade, but try to keep it out of direct sunlight as the high temperatures of summer approach.
You can start enjoying mint at any time throughout the growing season. In fact, the more mint you pick, the better the plants will grow, so feel free to harvest your mint all season.
However, you should never strip a mint plant of all of its leaves. Instead, using scissors or your fingers cut the mint plant down to 1 to 2 inches (2.54 to 5.08 cm) above the soil.
You can use the whole plant, as both the fresh leaves and leafy stem tips are perfect to pick and use.
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Fresh mint can be stored for up to a week by wrapping it in a paper towel, placing it in a plastic bag and keeping it inside your refrigerator.
For longer storage, freeze mint whole or chopped without blanching. Frozen mint still has good flavor, though not quite as strong as when it’s fresh.
For the longest (but least tasty) storage option of up to two years, allow the harvest to dry out completely and crumble the leaves into an airtight jar.
The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Mint Plant. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.
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