Mint The Herb Of HospitalityMint The Herb Of Hospitality

The Mentha species or mints as they are commonly called include many varieties that flavour everything from appetizers to desserts. The best-known species in North American are peppermint (M. x piperita) and spearmint (M. spicata), which are highly valued for commercial use. Mint symbolises ?hospitality? and can be grown in pots and containers indoors and out. In the garden, mint should be grown with a barrier around the roots, as it can be extremely invasive. Most mints do not come true from seed so it is best to purchase plants from a nursery or garden centre. Fresh mints are a source of Vitamin C and pro-vitamin A.

Peppermint and spearmint are perennials growing 12 ? 36 inches (30 ? 90 cm) tall although some mints are ground hugging. Produced at the end of square stems, terminal spikes of dainty lilac, purple, pink, or white flowers usually bloom in mid-to-late summer. Cultivation requirements for growing mint: grows best in moist, deep, loosely textured sandy soil; full sun but will do well in partial shade; keep well watered; pinch off flowers to promote bushy growth; and if growing indoors, fertilise with an organic fertiliser at half-strength every 3 or 4 weeks. Where winters are harsh, mulch with straw or leaves to protect your plants.

Mints have creeping roots that require sufficient room to develop. When establishing indoor plants, pot up in good houseplant soil and sufficiently large containers to accommodate their root system. To bring indoors for the winter, check for insects, and spray with soap and water if necessary. To harvest and prevent indoor plants from getting scraggly, keep the stems cut back to 5 inches (13 cm). This will also keep the plants from blooming and ensure tastier leaves.

Indoor mints require at least 5 hours of strong sunlight daily. Grow them on a southern or eastern exposure. If you are growing them on a windowsill, rotate regularly to ensure each side receives equal amounts of light. Better yet, grow them under fluorescent lights hung 6 inches (15 cm) above the plants and leave on for 14 hours a day.

In the garden, mint is a good companion to cabbage and tomatoes. Mint deters cabbageworms and spearmint may help keep aphids off nearby plants. Mints attract bees so planting them near fruit trees will improve pollination and increase yields. Add fresh mint leaves to water in the birdbath to keep the water attractive for birds. In the kitchen, use mint with roast lamb or fish, butter, salads, cheese, fruits, fruit salads, jellies, soups, sauces, plain meats, poultry, stews, sweet dishes, teas, bean and lentil dishes. Add fresh sprigs to cooking water of peas, carrots, fresh beets, new potatoes, and in vinegar. Mint flowers can be used in salads as well as garnishes for desserts. In Middle Eastern dishes, mint is used for cheese pastry fillings, yoghurt dressings, and stuffings for vegetables such as bell peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. Mint tea is useful for soothing upset stomachs. To brew a cup, use 1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried leaves or 3 teaspoons (15 mL) crushed fresh leaves in 1 cup (250 mL) of boiling water. Steep to taste. Mint can be dried or freeze leaves in butter, oil, or ice cubes.

by Gwen Stewart
References and Bibliography

Gwen Nyhus Stewart, B.S.W., M.G., H.T., is an educator, freelance writer, garden consultant, and author of the book The Healing Garden: A Place Of Peace ? Gardening For The Soil, Gardening For The Soul and the booklet Non-toxic Alternatives For Everyday Cleaning And Gardening Products. She owns the website Gwen's Healing Garden where you will find lots of free information about gardening for the soil and gardening for the soul. To find out more about the books and subscribe to her free Newsletter visit http://www.gwenshealinggarden.ca

Gwen Nyhus Stewart ? 2004 ? 2005. All rights reserved.

Rated:NR/0 Votes
4 Views
Add To My Article Reading List
Add To My Article Reading List
Print Article
Print
More Article By Gwen Stewart
More Article by Gwen Stewart
Share
More Articles From Landscaping and Gardening
More Articles From Landscaping and Gardening
Related Articles and Readings
Make It With Mint By: Suzanne Lieurance
It wouldn't be summer without fresh mint in pots on the front porch and in the garden. Mint is so easy to grow, it has such a wonderful fresh scent, and it can be used for all sorts of things.Here are some easy ways to use mint:Put a ...
The Many Uses of Fresh Herbs By: Mary Hanna
Herbs are fun and easy to grow. When harvested they make even the simplest meal seem like a gourmet delight. By using herbs in your cooking you can easily change the flavors of your recipes in many different ways, according to which herbs you add. Fresh herbs are ...
Growing Your Own Herbs for Tea By: Cyndi Roberts
If you love herbal teas, as I do, you know they are just a little bit pricey. However, growing your own herbs is easy and so much fun!Here are just a few of the herbs you might want to consider for a tea garden:Chamomile: Remember the favorite tea of Peter ...
Feuille D Menthe The Cooling and Uplifting Fragrance of Green Grass By: Nur Syahid
Feuille D'Menthe is a blend of several fragrant grass essential oils, with the main ingredients being sage, vetiver, mint and basilic. The perfect combination of these fragrant herbs exudes a rich and fresh aroma, without gloom and turbidity. The addition of mint further accentuates the refreshing and uplifting fragrance, all ...
Why a Little Bit of Marketing Does You Good Especially at Christmas By: Rachel Lane
My grandpa, who's a Quaker, used to disapprove of the fact that I ventured into marketing, but he's coming round to my way of thinking, even at the grand age of 92. He is suspicious of marketing (in his mind - a term synonymous with extracting money from a ...
The information provided in this article and/or the comments is the sole responsibility of their respective authors and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of ezinepost.com. ezinepost.com  does not endorse any article and/or comments published by our web users unless otherwise noted. 

Member Panel

login to submit articles and more

StatisticsEZINEPOST.COM

  • » Active Categories: 419
  • » Active Articles:252096
  • » Active Authors:32163
  • » Active Members: 35787
  • » Statistics Updated:
    - Sat Aug 11th, 2018 01:04PM EST