Mint is quite a versatile herb. Mint can be used in a myriad of dishes, from salads to dips to marinades. Mint is also a commonly used herb to help soothe indigestion and cold symptoms. Growing mint can be a breeze with a few tips and tricks utilized.The most important element for success in growing mint is to grow it in a pot. Do not grow mint in the garden, as it will spread and take over any beds it is in, and even take over the lawn. Because of mint's strong runners and adaptability, it is crucial to grow mint in a pot. (See "Tips for Growing Plants in Containers" for more information on successful container culture.) The perfect pot for growing mint is about one foot across on the top and about one foot deep. Plastic pots work best to ensure mint receives adequate water throughout the growing season.
Mint appreciates an evenly moist soil and a good drenching every now and again. Always check the soil first before watering to make sure the soil is quite dry before drenching, as mint does not like conditions which are too wet, nor does mint like wet feet. Because of this, make sure to grow mint in a well-draining potting mix. If mixing your own potting mix, be sure to incorporate lots of perlite or vermiculite into the mix.
Mint grows best in full sun but will tolerate a considerable amount of shade. Mint is a good natural ant repellent, so if ants in the house are a problem, a good location for mint is close to the entry for the house. Ants do not like the smell of mint, so the porch or porch steps are a perfect place to grow mint, as it will deter ants and be close to the door for easy harvesting when mint is needed in dishes or teas.
To harvest mint for fresh use during the growing season, pick the leaves by hand one at a time. More than one leaf can be picked for a recipe, but be sure not to take the whole branch all at once, as this will make it more difficult for the mint to prosper. For fresh use, be sure to bruise the leaves by rubbing them together to release the essential oils. To harvest mint for drying at the end of the growing season, cut the branches with a strong scissors and tie together. Hang the bunches upside down in a paper bag to catch any leaves that may fall during the drying process. Place the bag in a well-ventilated area to ensure the mint dries correctly, at an even pace. Leave the drying mint for at least two weeks. Store dried mint in an airtight container out of sunlight.