Sunday, 15 March 2015


Alys Fowler: mint | Life and style | The Guardian: "Spearmints (M. spicata), including 'Tashkent' and 'Moroccan'"

Spearmints (M. spicata), including 'Tashkent' and 'Moroccan', are good for salads, sauces and flavouring new potatoes.

I have a patch of pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium, which creeps between the cracks of my brick path.
Pennyroyal is suitable ground cover for partial shade and there is a childish joy to trampling over it on the way to the compost, its sharp scent following my footsteps.
The lilac flowers hum with bees and butterflies and, despite the plant's spreading nature, it has yet to become a problem. If or when it does, I shall pull ruthlessly. It is very hard to kill a mint.

Nearly all mints love damp, moist soils, but not necessarily rich ones, and prefer sun to shade, though they will not complain bitterly if given the latter.
The old trick is to grow them in a large pot or bucket with its base shorn off to stop them taking over.
The more invasive mints – M. x smithiana (red mint), M. suaveolens (apple mint), M. x villosa f. alopecuroides (bowles' mint) and M. longifolia (horse mint) – will rampage, so use a barrier to keep their shallow-growing roots in check.
Still, they are not hard to weed out. I have a couple of stands of red mint that I have eaten into submission: paired with flat-leaf parsley, it is one of the best-flavoured mints for salads such as tabbouleh.
Spearmints (M. spicata), including 'Tashkent' and 'Moroccan', are good for salads, sauces and flavouring new potatoes.
I grow M. x piperita f. citrata, the eau de cologne mint, but the flavour is too strong and soapy for anything culinary; added to a bath, however, it is utterly enlivening. (Mentha citrata (Ehrh.) (syn. Mentha × piperita L. var. citrata (Ehrh.) Briq.; syn. Mentha aquatica var. citrata (Ehrh.) Benth.;[1] syn. Mentha odorata Sole, Mentha adspersa Moench) is an herb. It is also known as Bergamot mint, Eau-de-cologne Mint, Horsemint, Lemon Mint, Lime Mint, Orange Mint, Pineapple Mint, Su Nanesi, Water Mint, Wild Water Mint)
Any mint in a pot needs to be turfed out once a year, in early spring or after flowering. Be ruthless: the roots spiral around the edge of the pot with little growing in the middle. Discard the centre and plant half of the roots back in the pot, add a new layer of compost, give them a long soak and they'll quickly recover.

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