Growing common mint also known as spearmint is an excellent way to begin your herb garden and flavor your summer iced tea. Spearmint is so refreshing and gives your iced tea and other drinks a delicious lift!
As a child growing up in New York state, we always had spearmint leaves growing wild in our yards. Often I would pick a leaf and chew on it or suck it for the delightful spearmint flavor. My mother or grandmother would always send me out in the yard to pick a few sprigs to put in with our iced tea for dinner. Absolutely delicious every time!
I have spearmint and peppermint leaves growing in my backyard here in San Antonio, Texas for the same reason. To this day, spearmint is my favorite mint flavor and I highly recommend having some growing in your yard.
Growing spearmint is easy to do. Just be sure that you plant your mint plants separately in a raised garden bed or block it off with a garden border so it does not spread and take over the rest of your garden. It sends out runners and multiplies. The seeds take about two weeks to germinate and should be placed about 24 inches apart.
Spearmint plants like full sun unless you are in a very hot climate, in which case be sure to plant so they get partial shade in the heat of the afternoon. Do not water them too much. Be sure to mulch to keep moisture in. The plants grow to be about 18 inches tall. Pick the leaves and use them as is or dry them out. I prefer them fresh and because I live in San Antonio, they grow year-round. In New York, we could only get them in the summer.
Mint plants attract birds, butterflies, and bees.
A Wonderful Use: Did you know that mice hate the smell of mint? If you have mice or you think some could get inside, scatter mint leaves or plant mint near the opening you think they might use. They will stay away from spearmint as they despise it! This is the best use yet!
A word of caution: Mint seeds are poisonous if ingested so make sure that children and pets are not around seeds before you plant them.
When made into a tea, mint settles upset stomachs. It is also a good diuretic.
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