I’ve always enjoyed teas with mint in it, so I was glad to find out weeks ago that we had some mint growing in one of the front garden beds of the Howdy Farm. In this blog post I described how I mixed black tea and some mint to make tea earlier this semester!
Mint plants are part of the genus Mentha in the family Lamiaceae. Species of mint are widely distributed Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and North America. The mint growing near the front of the farm is Spearmint which is native to Europe and Asia, but naturalized to North and South America.
Many people have planted mint to start out herb gardening, and it’s a good plant for that, but you have make sure it doesn’t take over the planting bed. It’s a perennial and can be pretty weedy since it spreads by rhizomes, or runners. It might be better to keep it in its own container, or you could even have it in a container that you bury in your planting bed with just the top inch or so of the container above the soil. This will keep it from spreading out and taking over. Mint will do fine in partial shade, all it really needs is for the soil to stay a little moist. If there’s a part of your garden that is less elevated and most rainwater flows over, mint would be a good choice for planting there (not standing water, that would suffocate the mint).
Mint has been used to soothe nausea in traditional medicine for a long time, and some studies have been conducted to see if mint helps manage IBS symptoms. From what I’ve found, it looks like mint can help a little, but only marginally. So, again, herbal tea is mostly just nice to drink instead of medically effective.
The semester is about to wrap up and I’ll just be honest: this semester has gone by faster than any other I’ve experienced. It’s crazy. But this probably just means that I’ve enjoyed all my horticulture classes a lot more than any other college courses I’ve taken so far… so I’m in the right place!