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In this article, we are bringing you everything you need to know about growing, cultivation, fertilization, types, planting, harvesting, disease and more about mint. Whether you want to plant mint in your homes, gardens or on your farm, this is the article for you.
|Mint planting conditions||sunny positions and humus-rich soil|
|Mint method of reproduction||seeds or cuttings of rhizomes|
|Mint flowering time||from mid-June to early July|
|Mint height||8 to 50 inches|
|Using mint||in the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries|
Mint is a genus of flowering plants that includes about thirty different species of perennials from the Lamiaceae family. It is popularly known as peppermint or mint. It is an aromatic plant that has a poorly developed root (up to 1.5 inches below the soil surface). From the upper part of the root grow underground lateral branched boils that can be up to 20 inches long. Depending on the conditions, shrubs and branched stems can grow from 8 to 50 inches.
The mint leaves are elongated egg-shaped and pointed at the top. They are dark green in color and grow on short petioles. They are mostly covered with hairs and on their back, they have glands with essential oil. At the top of each branch is a classy inflorescence made of tiny flowers of purple. The flowers quickly fade and so the seeds rarely germinate. Mint fruit is a tiny dark brown sprout.
Types of mint
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata) and subtype Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita L.)
- Pennyroyal (Mentha aquatica)
- Curly mint (Mentha crispa)
- Wild mint (Mentha arvensis)
- Apple mint (Mentha suaveolens)
- Horsemint (Mentha longifolia)
- Black mint
- White birds-in-a-nest (Macbridea alba)
Mint has a characteristic, pleasant menthol odor and is used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. Given the increasing market demand, there is growing interest in the mint plantation.
Mint planting and propagation
Mint can be grown in the same place for two years and then must be moved. It can only return to the same place after four years. The best prerequisites are barley, wheat, and cereals, and mint is a good preculture to corn. It blends well with crop rotation and leaves behind the soil enriched with the organic mass of the rest of the plants and fallen leaves.
Spearmints and Peppermints are most commonly used for growing. It can be propagated by seed, by the dividing of shrubs or by cuttings of rhizomes, and is most often propagated in this last way to ensure plant uniformity.
Mint has a shallow root so it likes light soil, slightly acidic or neutral and with enough moisture. On acid and heavy soils with high groundwater levels, it will grow much slower. It is cold resistant and can hold up to five years in one place. In the winter months, if under snow cover, it can withstand temperatures of up to -13 °F, while without snow cover at 14 °F rhizomes can suffer. Therefore, it is necessary to protect the plants by mulching or cover them with spruce branches and sawdust.
For mint planting, sunny positions are ideal but will grow well in the semi-shade. In areas with a continental climate, planting is mainly done in the fall. Before planting, the soil is prepared by plowing to a depth of 12 inches to give a thick, light layer. If planting is to be done in the spring, deep plowing is also required during the fall. During spring tillage, care must be taken to preserve the moisture that has accumulated during the winter.
Any rotten, dry or diseased rhizomes should be discarded and only those containing 80 percent moisture should be used for planting. Rhizomes should be 3 to 6 inches long and should be planted as soon as possible to minimize moisture content. If the mint seedlings are exposed to wind and sun for several hours, the moisture content is reduced so much that they are no longer usable.
Rhizomes or seedlings are planted in furrows about 5 inches deep. It is planted at a distance of 6 inches, and the distance between the rows should be about 28 inches. It is recommended that mint planting be carried out during the fall as two harvests can be ensured during the first year of vegetation.
Mint cultivation and maintenance
Mint initially grows slowly, but approximately 15 days after the sprout begins to grow more intensively. It begins to grow at lower temperatures (36 to 41 °F), while the optimum temperature for growth is 64 to 68 °F. Depending on the cultivated species and environmental conditions, flowering occurs after 80 to 100 days.
Mint is a perennial crop and quickly covers the soil surface, requiring specific care. Maintenance of mint crops includes the fight against disease, pests, and weeds, fertilization with feeding and watering.
For an optimum yield of mint and essential oil, the soil must be quite moist, and by soaking, the yield can be increased by up to 30 percent. Irrigation is best done at the beginning of the growing season, at the beginning of the bud and immediately after harvest. About 60 mm/m² of water is required for one soak, and in the case of heavy rainfall, the amount of water at soaking is reduced. Watering should be stopped a week before picking, as the oil content of the leaves will be higher.
If the mint crop is too thick, the seedlings can be thinned out by removing the rhizomes with beet or potato harvesters. Deforestation is mainly done in late October and November when the daily temperature is moderate and the soil moisture is optimal.
Mint cultivation in a pot
You can grow mint in the garden, but it spreads very quickly and is difficult to control, making it a better option for growing in a pot. You can start growing from seed or buy an already grown plant and transplant it. Mint loves the sun so the pot with this plant should be kept in the sunniest place in the kitchen.
If you still want to grow mint on a bed, take a large pot and cut off the bottom. Bury the pot in the ground so that the edges are a few inches above the ground. If you want the plant to take a bushy shape, prune it during the summer. Mint should be saved once a month with liquid general-purpose nutrients.
The herb usually fills the pot during one season and the roots become squeezed, so it should be removed from the pot in early spring, cut roots in half and then planted again in the pot.
Diseases and pests
Because it has juicy rhizomes and leaves, mint attracts many pests and growing can be threaten by a variety of diseases. The most dangerous disease is rust. It is caused by the fungus Puccinia menthae, and the development of the disease is due to high humidity, increased nitrogen content in the soil, low temperatures or long-term planting on the same soil.
Rust causes dark brown spots on the petioles and the back of the leaves. If the infection is more severe, the mint is destroyed. The disease can be prevented by growing resistant varieties and early mowing when signs of infection are observed.
In addition to rust, other fungal diseases such as anthracnose, septoria, powdery mildew, mycoplasma, verticillium, etc. can also occur.
Mint can be attacked by pests, such as leafhoppers, meadow moths, aphids, desertus, crickets, palm weevil, and other pests.
Excess nitrogen in the soil can stimulate many diseases so be careful when fertilizing. Potassium, on the other hand, helps increase plant resistance. In order to control diseases and pests, it is necessary to constantly monitor the plantations, and plants, where symptoms of a disease are observed, should be removed and burned.
Harvesting and drying mint
The timing of the mint harvest depends on the purpose. The mint grown for the leaf is harvested when the mass of the leaf is greater than the mass of the stem, that is, just before flowering, while the mint intended for distillation is harvested when the plant is in bloom.
Picking or mint harvesting on larger areas is done by a combine harvester and afterward, it should be taken to the processing as soon as possible because of the high amount of moisture, rot may occur.
The mint can be harvested twice in one season, and if irrigated, harvesting can be done three to four times. The tips of the plant shorten by about 6 inches and dry in the shade.
Composition and use
Mint owes its intense aroma and refreshing taste to the essential oil whose content is enhanced by the appearance of lateral shoots. Mint essential oil contains more than twenty ingredients, the most valuable of which is menthol. Menthol content determines the quality of the essential oil, most of which is found in young leaves.
Mint contains vitamins A, C and other active substances, such as rosemary acid, which enhance the body’s resistance to infections and inflammation.
Medicinal properties of mint
Mint contains a high amount of menthol that makes it recognizable among other plants. In addition to the scent, menthol is also responsible for the cooling sensation this plant causes as it activates cold sensing receptors in the skin. Menthol helps prevent bad breath and gum disease, making it one of the main ingredients in toothpaste and tooth waters.
From leaves and flower buds, tea is used to treat bowel cramps and indigestion and is also used for external use in addition to baths and in the case of rheumatism and itching. Drinking mint tea also helps maintain oral health.
Mint has a diuretic effect, boosts metabolism and reduces appetite. Tea and other mint preparations have proven to be very effective in irritable bowel syndrome.
It relieves the symptoms of dry cough and colds and is thought to be able to relieve asthma and allergies due to rosemary acid. Mint can reduce headache and stomach problems caused by stress, and mint tea before bedtime is soothing and helps to fall asleep more easily.
Regular consumption of mint tea has been proven to prevent unwanted hair caused by the increased secretion of male hormones.
Mint essential oil has a similar effect as tea. In official medicine, it is used to treat migraines, skin itching, allergic skin inflammation, rheumatic problems, colds, coughs, irritable bowel, and flatulence.
Excessive consumption of mint tea can lead to cramps, diarrhea, rashes, drowsiness and muscle pain. Mint should be completely avoided by breastfeeding women, pregnant women, infants and young children, and people who have problems with gastric acid and those who are allergic to menthol.
Mint in cookery
Mint goes well with vegetables such as peas, cucumbers and tomatoes, and fruits such as melons, pineapples, lemons, and oranges. It is added to salads, soups, various vegetables, sweets, and refreshments, and can be combined with yogurt or chocolate.
Interesting facts about mint
In Greek mythology, Mint was the name of a nymph unsuccessfully persecuted by the god of the underworld Hades. From Hades, Persephone rescued her, turning her into a mint.
This plant has been in use for at least 10,000 years and is thought to have originated in the Far East. It is popular all over the world, and especially in Arab countries, where it is often used for making tea and as a spice.