Mint is a highly useful and beneficial herb. However, it got a bad reputation due to its spreading nature, and that’s why many people opt to just go without the mint plant all together. People planting it near regular garden beds, mint plants eventually try to take over. It’s because mint will spread from its underground roots, and it can cover great distances and go around obstacles to get to where it wants to go. Mint can be very invasive and tends to get carried away, spreading all over the place.
But the fact that mint plants are super spreaders, it doesn’t mean you can’t possibly grow one in your kitchen garden. And having your own home-grown mint will benefit you because it has a lot of beneficial applications – culinary and otherwise. Here are the reasons why you must grow mint in your garden:
Mint is easy to grow in a container.
The good news for those hesitant to grow mint due to its spreading nature is that mint grows and thrives in a container. Mint, like most herbs, can be planted in containers, making it a convenient gardening solution if you’re having a kitchen garden.
If mint is grown in a pot, it tends to get a little sparse and scraggly looking after a few years. It doesn’t do as well as mint grown in the ground, probably because it doesn’t like being contained. If you want to plant it in the ground in a raised bed though, make sure to plant other things that can keep up with it.
Other perennial herbs that can usually tolerate the aggressive nature of mint include rosemary, oregano, sage, and thyme, especially if these plants are already established.
It can be constantly harvested.
Since mint grows quickly and aggressively, mint leaves can be harvested on a regular basis. Even if it’s cut all the way back, it will recover itself in a matter of a week or two. You can cut handfuls of mint at a time without damaging your plant.
Because mint is a fast grower, it’s a great herb to preserve by freezing or drying. Freshly dried mint is great to add to teas or use as a dry rub for lamb butchers, while frozen mint can be added to casseroles or soups.
It grows well in both partial shade and full sun.
Another reason why mint is easy to grow is that it grows well whether in full or partial sun. And if there’s a shady area in your kitchen garden that you have trouble growing things in, try planting some mint in there. Even if your deck or patio faces east and doesn’t get full sun, you can still grow healthy and beautiful mint.
Since mint is a perennial, it will come back when the conditions are good. When you decide to grow it in a container, it’s better to be placed under full sun.
Mint can also be grown indoors – just make sure you use a pot with good drainage and place the plant where it can get some sunlight. The plant will grow well, but you may have to replant annually.
It can grow from cuttings.
Mint is a plant that easily propagates from cuttings and readily re-roots itself. You can cut out the plant where you don’t want it, put it in water until it grows roots, then transplant it on another container or plant bed. You don’t even have to put it in water first since it can root right away in the soil.
It doesn’t need a lot of maintenance.
There is nothing extra you need to buy or do to grow healthy mint plants, except water. Don’t worry about fertilizing it – let your mint grow and do its thing. Really, it can grow without extra inputs. You can ignore them for a while and they will still stay alive and grow, but try to water them regularly during hot weather. This herb is great for lazy gardeners.
It can be added to countless delicious recipes.
Mint leaves are awesome as culinary herbs. Cut it from your garden and add it to all kinds of delicious recipes. Tea or lemonade with mint is a popular thing to do with fresh mint leaves because it’s refreshing.
You can turn it into mint pesto or add to cookies, brownies, and cake frosting. You can get creative and make some mint-infused honey, mint wine, mint julep, mint jam, or chocolate mint extract. You can simply chop the leaves up and add to fresh salads or used as a garnish.
It attracts beneficial insects and repels the bad ones.
Let your mint flower and it will attract bees, helpful wasps, and hoverflies that eat aphid insects that suck on leaves. The scent of mint allows it to act as a built-in bug repellent. Mint can repel houseflies, moths, mosquitoes, fleas, squash bugs, aphids, ants, and even mice. So, the more mint you plant, the less bugs you will have.
It’s good for your pets.
Mint is a natural flea repellent, making it beneficial for your cats and dogs. Letting them eat mint can help soothe nausea and upset stomach. It can also freshen their breath and repel fleas.
If you’re taking care of chickens, fresh herbs like mint is good for them and their coop. It can keep flies, bugs, and parasites at bay, and it’s also an excellent digestive aid and antioxidant for your plant. Plant lots of mint and other herbs in and around the chicken coop for chickens to nibble on.
It’s a medicinal herb.
Mint is not just for food and drinks – it’s also a great medicinal herb. It’s known to help treat indigestion, relieve irritable bowel syndrome, freshen breath, relieve chest congestion, soothe asthma, increase alertness, improve memory, boost immunity, relieve stress, boost metabolism, and even treat and prevent acne.
It can be helpful for seasonal allergies and added to body care products like soap, shampoo bars, lotions, salves, and lip balms.
It’s beautiful as an addition to flower arrangements or garnish.
Since mint grows fast and spreads a lot, there will be times where you can have too much mint. You can harvest it and use it to add a touch of green to your flower arrangements. It also offers a fresh scent that pairs well with the flowers.
Mint also makes the perfect garnish for different dishes, like salads, desserts and drinks. It can take an ordinary dish and transform it into something beautiful. Even plain water transforms into something special when you add mint.