Some farmers say to grow it in a container or it will take over your yard. Personally, I like to see it all over the place. I’m talking about mint (Mentha). Actually, if I may correct myself, I am talking about mints, because there are literally hundreds of varieties within about 25 species in that genus alone. When you take into account it is in the Lamiaceae Family, couple it with sage, thyme, rosemary, lemon balm, savory, marjoram, catnip and other mints; consider all of the varieties of those, then we’re talking about thousands of mints!
Alas, I have only but a few here on the farm. However, I do let them run wild if they want to. I have been collecting mints for years. Some of them liked living here, some decided to move out in less than a year.
In this column, I will list a few of the mints from the Mentha genus I grow here. I’ll then challenge you to get out to your local Co-op or independent retail nursery and track down some of the more unusual varieties of mints for your garden. Then e-mail me with a list of the ones you found.
Some of the names will fool you. For example: peppermint doesn’t smell like pepper, but the sensation in some noses is described as peppery. (Some folks sneeze when they eat peppermint candy.) Orange mint sometimes smells like oranges and peppermint, while horse mint smells nothing like horses.
Here’s the short list of mints on the farm: peppermint, spearmint, lemon mint, orange mint, apple mint, pennyroyal, horse mint, Kentucky Colonel mint, banana mint and chocolate mint.
Orange mint or bergamot mint blooms more robustly than the others; making it the first choice for my bees. Pennyroyal is a good groundcover mint and truly helps to keep fleas and ticks away. Kentucky Colonel mint is the one I use most often in warm-weather refreshing drinks. And then there’s chocolate mint, which when you pinch a leaf from it and add a leaf of Stevia, it tastes like an Andes chocolate.
Most of these mints are blooming right now and the pollinators love them!
Next month we’ll talk about some of the other mints and their cousins.
Thanks for reading!
Be sure to find me on Facebook at "Herb Farmer-The Herb Farm."