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Transplanting and Harvesting Mint

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Question:

I started a container mint herb garden and I would like to know if I can transfer it into my regular garden and if so, when? I also need to know when is the best time to harvest it and how. Can you freeze it or do you dry it?

Hardiness Zone: 6b

Cheryl from Lawson, MO

Answer:

Cheryl,

You can transplant your mint to the garden anytime. I would strongly advise keeping them in containers when you plant them to prevent them from running rampant in your garden. Regardless of the variety, mints are considered invasive and should be carefully controlled by growing them in pots or keeping their roots surrounded by underground barriers.

Harvesting is usually done just before the plant blooms. You can snip leaves off as you need them or cut the entire plant to within an inch of the ground. The plant will grow back and give you several more harvests. Mint can be dried or frozen. What you do with it will depend on how you plan to use it. For teas and herbal infusions, hang whole stems upside down for drying in a warm, dark room with plenty of air circulation. You can also strip the leaves from the stems, wash and pat dry them dry, and place them on cookie sheets covered in parchment paper for drying in the oven (use the lowest setting possible).

To freeze mint (good for cooking), wash and pat dry whole stems and place them in plastic bags or airtight containers in the freezer. This allows you to snip off pieces as you need them. Many people also find it convenient to chop up the leaves and freeze them with water in ice cube trays. Toss whole cubes into stews, soups or other cooked dishes as needed.

Ellen

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About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Timmie [4]07/16/2006

just adding my two cents...DON'T TAKE IT OUT OF THE CONTAINER!!! Everyone is right about it spreading and not only that but somehow (birds maybe) has carried it around my back yard so now it is popping up everywhere. I love the mint but not everywhere. At the end of the year I pull all of it but a tiny bit and yet every year it comes back and takes over the flower bed where it is planted.

TC in Mo

By Doggy (Guest Post)07/15/2006

I must be the only person in the world who CAN'T make mint grow lolol. I've bought mint plants several times, and they just seem to wither away. I'm in Texas (don't know the zone numbers, sorry). What am I doing wrong???

By susan [5]07/13/2006

I agree, you cannot kill mint and it is the most invasive plant there is. I potted some in my flower garden contained in a pot so it wouldn't invade anything else. Well, it grew out of the hole in the pot's bottom--which had been strongly covered, it flowered and threw off seeds (mint seeds are extremely small), and grew over the top (mint roots where ever it touches/almost touches the ground. I spent an entire summer digging up my flowerbed inch by inch, getting every tiny piece of stem/root out. You DO NOT want to do this. Keep yours in a container.

By Holly [350]07/12/2006

Mint is invasive. Maybe not at first, but in a couple of years it will have run wild all over the garden.

By Debbie Bailey07/12/2006

My mint is a very hardy perennial and is in my garden year round - however, it is terribly invasive and I need to thin it out constantly or it will take over the garden. I find the best way to keep it is to dry it. If you want a quick dry - place it on paper towels in the microwave and zap it a few minutes. It will dry right up and can be put in a screw top bottle or spice container immediately.
Debbie - Spencer, MA

By deedeept (Guest Post)07/12/2006

I agree with Carla JS - unless you really want to cover your world with mint, I would leave it in the pot. In fact, I would be careful that the roots do not grow out the hole in the bottom of the container as they will soon spread if they contact the ground. Keep it in the pot! Yes, you can dry and freeze it. Just take clippings and hang them upside down in a dry area until the leaf crumbles when crushed between your thumb and index finger. Then, save in a container, or freeze. Good luck.

By Carla J. Sanders [3]07/07/2006

The answer is yes, but don't do it unless you want a mint garden. Mint is about the most aggressive, invasive plant EVER. I put it in a garden and surrounded it by rocks and put tiles down into the dirt - it will lean over the rocks and root itself from above or dig deep and pop up throughout the lawn. The good news is that every time I mow, it's minty fresh - but the rest of the plants aren't happy about it. LEAVE IT IN THE CONTAINER! Every summer it will come back, even in a container.

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