Many years ago, my husband and I started growing mint in the back yard. I thought I would share a few mint growing tips with you because this stuff is incredibly useful to have around! Over the last few years, I have found some really creative uses for fresh mint to try to use it all up. You really don’t need much of a green thumb to get started growing your own mint. In fact, once you put the plant in the ground, you will probably find that it takes over the garden bed quite easily! But, for those of you without a green thumb, I thought I would share a few tips to help get you started. If you already have a ton of mint in your garden, hopefully, you will find some of these mint uses helpful and inspiring!
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Easy Mint Growing Tips
We started our mint from a small seedling that we found at a local garden center. I have actually never see mint SEEDS, although they do apparently exist. Ask your local nursery or a few friends if anyone has a small plant you can start from to grow mint in the garden.
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Where to plant mint:
Mint is a vigorous perennial that thrives in light soil with good drainage. This stuff will come back year after year and will be a hardy and fast growing plant. Make sure you take care in choosing the location because it will probably be there forever. Use natural weed control methods to keep the weeds at bay in your mint patch.
Best mint growing conditions:
Mint will tolerate partial shade and requires a bit of fertilizer occasionally. If you grow it in pots, fertilize and water more often than if you put it in the ground. I prefer organic fertilizer, especially on things I am going to eat.
Watch for pests and disease:
Honestly, I haven’t had many pests or diseases on my mint plants, however, there are a few things you need to watch for. Check out the Better Homes and Garden Mint Guide for common mint diseases and troublesome pests.
Control spread regularly:
This is one of the most important mint growing tips I can provide. Mint is rather invasive and will take over an area very quickly. You can remove the bottom of a large flower pot and plant THAT in a hole in the ground to control root spread. Make sure to pull up sprouts that you don’t want regularly. They come up fairly easily so you don’t need a lot of muscle to do this job.
Harvest mint often:
Start gathering up a few uses for fresh mint NOW because it grows fast and regular harvesting helps keep it healthy. Keep reading for my mint uses that you may find helpful. Young leaves are more flavorful than old ones, and it can be harvested as soon as it comes up in spring. You can snip off some fresh mint and keep it in a glass of water on the counter for a few days so that you can snip it as needed.
Propagate mint for friends:
Share the wealth with your friends! Have you run out of uses for fresh mint around the house? Start sharing it with friends and neighbors! Just snip off a small branch and place in a glass of water. Leave it there, changing the water occasionally, on a windowsill until roots start to form. Then, give it to a friend along with these mint growing tips Your whole neighborhood will soon be full of fresh mint!
5 Uses for Fresh Mint
So, now that you have a great supply of fresh mint thanks to these easy mint growing tips, what do you do with it all? There are a TON of uses for fresh mint but here are a few of my favorite ideas:
- Use fresh mint in cocktails. Make watermelon mojitos or a nice mint simple syrup and start getting creative with your cocktail recipes. Buy a cocktail muddler to help release the oils and flavor from your mint when you make cocktails.
- Make mint beauty products: Mint has a ton of uses in your beauty routine. Check out these Beauty Benefits Of Mint and start harvesting your plants! Make a mint facial toner to get your skin healther.
- Get healthier with fresh mint: Mint has a lot of health benefits. Use it in some homemade tea or make a batch of herbal bath salts to clear your head when you have a cold.
- Repel Insects and Fleas: Place sprigs of mint near the doorways and alongside pet beds (tucked into a small pillow to prevent them from eating it). Insects do NOT like the smell of mint!
- Dehydrate mint for use all year long. You will undoubtedly have WAY too much fresh mint. So, invest in a dehydrator and dry it for use all winter long. Check out my post on how to preserve fresh herbs for a few tips.
- Use in your food: There are so many ways to use mint in your food and not just as a garnish. Invest in a good mint cookbook and you will have an endless supply of mint recipes to choose from. You can make your own mint oil or vinegar. Toss it into a fresh fruit salad, add to a light pasta dish, or add it to salads and sandwiches. Check out this post on Natural Living Ideas for more inspiration.
Mint is amazingly useful and generally easy to grow. Don’t have a garden? Put it in a pot on your front porch or create a small herb garden in your kitchen. You will have an endless supply of fresh mint to use and share!
Have any other uses for fresh mint to share?
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Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.