Mint can go on your list of items never to buy again, that is, after you get a sprig from your local farmer’s market. Mint is easy to grow from cuttings and will produce an endless supply that some gardeners even consider invasive. In this tutorial I’ll share how I propagated a sprig of farmer’s market mint to (eventually) fill a blank space along my garage’s foundation.
There is a hydroponic greenhouse south of town with the very most kind people running it. I always enjoy a good chat with them at farmer’s market. While purchasing lettuce I commented that I had never seen that soft variety of mint before. They called it “Mojito Mint” and gave me a sprig for free. It smells wonderful!
Meanwhile I have been looking for ground cover for along my garage foundation. We have fenced in our backyard and cut a doggy door in the garage so they can go there to cool off or warm up. Bruce and Tony prefer the shade of the maple tree so the door is only used if Bruce wants to escape when we leave the garage door open. I didn’t want to waste garden space (about 4 square feet) but also didn’t want to plant something that I would be sad to see trampled.
Mint is the perfect solution to my dilemma. It spreads through rhizomes, or underground stems. That means it can fill an area very quickly. Even when you pull it up the little root pieces left behind can grow a new plant. In other words, it could do with a good trample now and then- or even a hit from the lawnmower.
To propagate my sprig, I removed the lower set of leaves. Each node on the plant can grow roots and new plants. I put the sprig in a jar of water so it was covered up to the first node where the leaves had been removed.
Two weeks later (checking water level to be sure the node was always covered) I had impressive roots at the bottom of the sprig and two little plants growing where the leaves had been. More little plants sprung up from nodes higher up. The plant also got much taller and started to tip and turn upwards. I suspect this is another way for mint to spread: To fall over and grow more roots! I planted the sprig along my garage up to the node with the miniature plants and roots.
Remember that I am planting mint with the full intent and knowledge of it spreading. It could easily take over a whole raised bed! Consider mint to be a container plant. You could also cut the bottom from a bucket, submerge the bucket in your garden, and plant in that.
Now that I have mint, what will I make? Maybe I will try a healthy version of a shamrock shake inspired green smoothie? A strawberry mint spritzer? Honestly I will probably forget it and dry it out this fall for wintertime tea. Overall, a very convenient ground cover plant that is easy to find for free.
What are your favorite mint recipes?