In mint condition

Years ago a well meaning friend gave me a bit of delicious apple mint. It is a very attractive plant, with fuzzy, silvery green leaves and a purple flower that the bees lllooovvve. It also, for the record, is a divine culinary mint, with a wonderful flavor, minty yet not too sharp, and with a sweet, greeny aftertaste which makes excellent mojitos, and is wonderful in recipes calling for mint. Someday I want to try making mint jelly with this, I think that would be scrumptious.

But. Like its relatives, apple mint cannot be confined to a generous clump. No, as I wrote last year, mint is vigorous and adventurous, and before you can say Madhur Jaffrey, is growing amidst your tomato plants in anticipation of chutney. Unfortunately, I planted it in a raised bed in the vegetable garden, and if it weren’t for the equally adventurous Anemone Canadesis taking over the other end of the bed, I think it would have become a vegetable garden ground cover.

Dan has been advocating for complete eradication for some time, but I resisted, enjoying my mojitos too much to abandon the mint. Well, last Saturday, Dan buried a giant faux terra cotta planter in the ground, transplanted a large clump of mint into it, and dug the remaining mint and anemone out of the raised bed. Sadly, the hemlock timbers framing the bed were too rotten to save, but Dan removed every speck of root he could see, and carefully raked all the soil, forming a freestanding raised bed. (I’d like to try rebuilding it with concrete blocks but we are still in the discussion phase of that project.) We’ll let the bed lie fallow for a bit to see what, if anything, re-sprouts.  This fall, I’ll plant a nice thick cover crop to turn into green manure.
The pot of mint looks a little sad in this photo, but I had worked in some organic fertilizer into the soil, and gave it a nice deep watering, and just a few days later, the mint is looking decidedly perkier. Oh, and in the smaller terra cotta pot next to it? A clump of equally aggressive oregano. The two pots are located near the east border of the yard by the hops swing, in a patch of bare ground that was a giant maple stump. We had set up a composting pile over the stump a few years ago, and this spring, the rotten old stump was readily removed — what little hadn’t rotted in place.

I’ll report back in future on the success or failure of this strategy to contain the mint and oregano, and ensure me a steady supply of mint for mojitos and more.

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5 Responses to “In mint condition”

  1. Robin Says:

    If Dan would like to continue working on his mint eradication skills he’s welcome to come work on the wild mint I’m fighting with. Napalm is starting to sound good!

  2. Meg Says:

    Ah, that is a good idea! I got some mint from my parents that tastes sooo good–but I’ve been hesitant to plant it anywhere, knowing what will inevitably happen.

  3. Twinville2 Says:

    I love mint! I haven’t grown any for years. It’s tough to grow things in our arid New Mexico. But I bet that mint will be hardy enough!
    I like mint in my ice tea.

    And Mojitos…..Mmmmmmmm

  4. Margo Says:

    Mmmmm mint – then again, we have so many invasives in our corner of the community gardens, mints seem innocuous by comparison. At least it’s edible. I’ll sic the mint on the convolvulus family members that keep trying to take over my veggies. Sneaky! And they’re not even the edible variety (Ipomoea aquatica) so they get yanked.
    Good luck with the pot-method, that should contain them, I would think. Just drink lots of mojitos either way. :)

  5. Barb Says:

    lol, the chutney comment cracked me up. Ah, mojitos…
    I might have to plant some of this, regardless.

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