Mint coming back - can I help it thrive?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by french fries, May 24, 2010.

  1. french fries

    french fries

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    Yesterday I was picking out weeds and I noticed a couple of tiny bits of mint right next to my bay laurel tree. There's 2 of them, about 4 inches high, 8-10 mint leaves each. I remember now planting mint there years ago and I thought it was all gone!

    I removed all surrounding weeds and watered the mint - I'd love to see it grow and spread - anything else I could do?

    Thanks!!
     
  2. leeniek

    leeniek

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    I'm not sure how much help I will be but mint is a perennial... I have chocolate mint in my back garden and it is already up and ready to harvest.  It's also spreading so I think if left alone mint will multiply.. well at least my plant did!  Instead of killing the offspring from my plant I'm going to harvest them and freeze them with some diced fruit for tea and others I will freeze and use in recipes.
     
  3. leeniek

    leeniek

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    Oh and to help it thrive all I did was water it regularly and my back garden gets alot of sun so I think that might have been a help as well...
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    For most people, killing the mint off is the hard part. It should do fine as long as it gets some sun and water. Not usually too happy in all shade.

    Generally better as a container plant because its so darn aggressive.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  5. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    I agree leeniek,

    Mine came back but in a fire of glory. If you let it go ....well it has a mind of its own. I try to keep it one area as much as I try.

    It is almost like a weed at times.

    FF, I would just let it go, as it is , its coming up and it is thriving. Make sure it has enough water, nature has a way of taking care of itself.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  6. fr33_mason

    fr33_mason

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    Well you have the right idea of ensuring that there is no competition from weeds or neighbouring plants. 

     you can further and speed up propagation / production by doing a couple of things:

    1.  When the parent stems in your garden are a little longer, take cuttings and put into a glass or jar of water and place onto the windowsill and wait for a healthy bunch of roots to form.

    2.  As your parent plants will begin to produce multiple stems from cutting them. You can further prune developing stems for either culinary use which in turn will create a bushy plant with more leaves or to again create more cuttings for more plant production.

     One tip for pruning is to make sure you have left at least two sets of leaves on the parent stem and not to exceed pruning by a rough 25% of the plant.  (some plants are ok with more and some are even less than 25%) The percentage will minimise the effect on lost production time from shock, etc.
     
  7. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks guys. It gets full sun from morning to noon, then it's in the shade. I'm going to water it a little bit every day to see if it helps. Thanks!
     
  8. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    FrenchFries, I suspect it was always there, you just didn't notice. Maybe even pulled it while you were weeding.

    Mint is highly invasive, and, as Phil pointed out, getting rid of it is the problem for most people. A little sunlight, a modicum of water, and you should be good to go. Keep the area weeded, so you recognize the mint when you see it.

    For most people, there are two ways of controlling mind. One is to just container it. The other is to take something like the large pots that trees and shrubs are shipped in. Cut off the bottom. Bury that, leaving a couple of inches higher than ground level.  Fill with soil even with ground level, and plant your mint in that.

    Mint spreads primarily by rizomes, and they can actually jump low barriers, which is why you want several inches of barrier above ground. 

    If you want to move the mint you have (say to a sunnier location), gently dig down below the surface growth. You'll find the rizome. Follow it horizontally so as to remove as much of it as possible. Then replant the risome (along with any growth), horizontally, under an inch or two of soil. Water it well.

    Then stand back. It will take off rapidly.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  9. french fries

    french fries

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    Quote:
    I think it's totally possible, as the surrounding weeds were way taller than the mint. I'm going to try and leave it where it is for now but thanks for the tip on moving them and containing them.
     
  10. gypsy2727

    gypsy2727

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    Oh my! No worries when it comes to Mint ....I can't get rid of mine! Not that I don't love Mint but it does grow like a weed and spreads everywhere!  I give it away at every chance I get!  One year I had enough to garnish 3 catering jobs desserts ( over 1000 people)You will have no problem holding onto your Mint. It is a very hearty herb!

    I am also having a problem with these wild roses that keep growing everywhere....
     
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    It's my lemon balm I can't control.
     
  12. french fries

    french fries

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    phatch, you got me curious here... is that what we call "Melisse" in France? I've never tasted it. What do you use it for?
     
  13. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I have no idea what the french might call it. It's a mint relative with a fatter rounder leaf and a clean lemon smell/taste. Mostly used for garnishing and beverages though I've seen a pesto of sorts with it too.
     
  14. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Yeah, "Melisse" in France, French Fries or  "Melissa" among American herbalists, botanically lemon balm is Melissa officinalis, and has more medicinal uses than culinary ones. It's a beautiful plant, though, that works nicely in a perennials border.

    One reason you can't control it, Phil, is that it's a mint, and all the mints are invasive.

    FWIW, the way to tell mints is to lightly twirl the stem between your thumb and forefinger. Mints have square stems; the only plants that do.
     
  15. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks KYH, good to know.
     
  16. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I make a point of tromping through the lemon balm now and then to give it some struggle. Smells good too. I've been known to "slip" with the weed whacker too as it borders my back lawn.
     
  17. abefroman

    abefroman

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    Unfortunately I went over my mint once with the mower, to clear out some weeds, and it never grew back.
     
  18. leeniek

    leeniek

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    I have lemon balm in my front garden and I love how it looks.  I had a rock border before we put the new stairs on but they had to pile the rocks and they dumped them on top of my lemon balm plant.  It has grown back bigger than ever and I like how it looks so I am going to leave the rocks where they are and do something else for a border. 
     
  19. chefross

    chefross

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    I have been growing mint every year. I just bought a few plants and made decorative planters out of them. When Fall comes, I plant the mint in the ground. In Spring, I dig them up and re-pot them. I have several kinds including, pineapple, chocolate, and a few varigated ones.
     
  20. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I'm curious, Chefross, why you go through all that bother. Why don't you just leave them in the pots?