And, they’re off!
It’s Kentucky Derby time! What does that mean? Mint Juleps, of course.
Wondering how to grow your own spearmint? Nothing could be easier. However, there is one word of warning…CONTAINMENT. Mints become invasive, therefore, plant in a container or an area from which it can’t escape.
Easily grown from seed scattered on a moist surface, mint also transplants easily from purchased pots or from a friend’s garden. It thrives in moist shady areas and grows to 3′ tall. A light application of compost or a well-balanced fertilizer improves the quality.
Harvesting is easy, also. After the dew dries, cut the plant 3″ from the ground and preserve by drying, freezing, or storing in salt, sugar syrup, alcohol or oil. This method allows the mint oil’s distinctive taste and aroma to transfer to the medium for future use.
Aside from mint juleps, varieties of mints flavor a wide assortment of foods from salads to sauces and confections to ice cream. In the upcoming hot months, put spearmint in your lemonade (or beverage of choice). Of course, fresh mint has the strongest taste, so just pluck some, put it in a glass, and pour in the lemonade for a cool delightful thirst quencher.
By the way, here is some interesting trivia for your next garden party:
- Spearmint is one of the parents of peppermint, a hybrid. (The other is “watermint.”)
- Washington State grew more than one million pounds of spearmint in 2010.
- Native spearmint flavors toothpaste and dental products. The milder taste of Scotch spearmint flavors gum.
- The Romans believed mint increased intelligence.
Sounds like the Romans had a good idea!