Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Mint

No, not where the coins are minted, but rather where the tasty and lovely to look at yet thuggish Apple mint.

As you can see in the photo, the bed behind the shade cloth covered bed is the mint, with a small patch of bee balm in the center. It is out of control, it has taken over 95% of the raised bed, and I am routinely weeding mint out of the vegetable garden. It smells suspiciously minty when the lawn in that area is mowed.

Dan keeps saying things like "we have to rip that whole bed out," or "we should just solarize the whole bed and kill all the weeds (i.e. mint)."
I DO want the space for more vegetables, BUT, I love the mint.

It is, as I said above, tasty, lovely to look at, and makes terrific mojitos! So, what to do about it?? I want a nice big patch for mojitos and mint jelly and chutneys and iced tea. We have several large plastic planters available (50 gal drum size and one only slightly smaller faux terra cotta pot.) But will the mint thrive in a pot? Or do we bury the pot? If so, how far down will mint roots travel?
Suggestions, anyone?


Marvie said...

I bought a sad little mint plant on clearance a few weeks ago, I wasn't even sure the darn thing would live but I plopped it in a pot to see. The pot I chose had a tiny Lilac sapling in it, and a lone 4 O'Clock, but still had space available and the mint would look nice hanging over the edge, I figured.

Well, the mint has thrived in it's pot, in just a few weeks it has taken over 97% of the area. Also, it seems Lilac does *not* like mint, because within days of planting the mint the lilac died. While it had been perfectly fine before, and even seeming to thrive, once the mint came in the Lilac just gave up on life. I never would have expected that. But it happened.

All in all, mint does just fine in pots of nearly any size. I keep mine on concrete, nowhere near any dirt that it can reach out and grab hold of. Come winter (which is mild where I live) I will probably drag it's pot into the garage. If I remember to do it that is. Otherwise it'll sit where it is (plastic pot, no fear of breakage)

Chris The Gardener said...

I read once that if you buried your pots (or stuck some bales of hay around them), they'd come back again in the spring. It seems like your mint is pretty tough. You probably couldn't kill it at this point even if you wanted to.

Is is apple-ly?

Gentle Palm's gardener, Portia said...

Ohhhh, I planted mint once. It "thrived" so much I had to buy a machete, a weedwacker, and eventually, a flamethrower. Tastes good, though!

Tracy said...

Ali: I've read that you can cut the bottom out of a plastic pot, bury it up to about 3" below the rim, then plant the mint. That way, it won't spread underground and is unlikely to "jump" the rim of the pot. I haven't actually done it, though, so I'm not positive it works!

meresy_g said...

I wouldn't trust any method that is anywhere near a garden. I have been battling a mint that some person planted at my house before we lived there. It will not die. And it has escaped into the lawn. You will have to dig that entire raised bed out for if there is just a shred of mint root left, you'll be back where you started.

Anonymous said...

I've found that mint will thrive anywhere in containers, even in places you don't want it. I used to keep a window box full of mint, and it did just fine ((after it smothered the basil, of course)). Don't know much about burying pots, though.

Louise & Lee said...

I've had experieince with mint, & what's been written so far I find very accurate. DON'T PLANT IT IN THE GARDEN OR NEAR THE GARDEN! I would NOT trust the burying of the pot, clay, plastic, concrete or any other material to surround it. If you need that space for a new veggie garden, you'll have to dig it up, & even then, as already stated you'll have to dig up every speck of root & stalk. I know this sounds harsh. I'd suggest removing the soil below any root line then screen the soil before you return it into the bed. Lift the timbers to remove it beneath them. If it's in the lawn nearby, it probably won't look to go back to bed too soon since it's path of least resistance will be the lawn, where it can room freely. It would be helpful to maintenance the outter edge of the raised bed by edging to keep it from returning to the bed. Mint & Oregano go hand in hand, or should I say root to root! The only way to have fresh mint is for it to live alone in it's own container with a saucer on your deck. I agree, it smells & tastes great.

Louise & Lee said...

P.S. YOU CAN'T KILL IT, plant it in the barrel.