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Mighty Mint: All About This Old-Fashioned Favorite

Mint, or mentha, is grown practically everywhere in the world; therefore, it makes appearances in almost every cuisine. This versatile culinary herb is delicious both dried and fresh.

So, why do people hate growing mint? Bring up the topic of mint with many a 2019-8-7 13.36.57.658gardener, and you’ll be greeted with a resounding, “Don’t plant mint! It will take over your yard!” With thoughtful preparation and placement, however, mint can be a wonderful and containable addition to your culinary garden.

Perennial or Annual?

Mint is a hardy perennial that is one of the first to arrive each spring. It also retains its potency of flavor over the years.

How to Plant Mint

  • Where: Mint performs its best in full sun if the soil is kept moist, but it also thrives in partial shade. Mint is considered an invasive plant, since it sends out “runners” and spreads vigorously. Don’t let that fact deter you from enjoying fresh mint in your garden. Opt to grow mint in containers or, if you want to plant mint in the ground, submerge it in a large container and leave about two inches of the rim exposed above the soil to prevent spreading.mint_PNG24
  • When: Plant mint at any time. Mint is sturdy and resilient. Don’t waste your time starting mint from seed.

How to Cultivate Mint

  • Soil: Mint thrives in moist, rich soil. To keep the soil moist, cover the soil with a little mulch.
  • Sun: Mint can grow in sun or part shade. If you are planting mint indoors, where it also performs well, make sure you place your container near a sunny window.
  • Water: Regular watering is really the only maintenance mint needs. Always keep the soil moist.

How to Harvest Mint

Mint is another herb that is easy to harvest, and can be harvested at any time. In fact, regular harvesting is encouraged, in order to prevent legginess. You may opt to harvest most of the plant at once, clipping away up to 2/3 of the length of the stems, or you may clip away only what you need.

Use these tips and you’ll be feeling MINTY-FRESH! 

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Mosquito Madness & How to Avoid it!

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Mosquito season is upon us – and they are vicious this year.  Do you miss sitting outside on the deck or porch, on the boat dock or by the pool without being eaten alive? Have you tried using plants to keep mosquitos away?  There are a number of plants that naturally repel mosquitoes which grow very well in our area – let me share their secrets with you…..

How it works:  One way mosquitoes find their victims is through chemical sensors – they can sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid up to 100 feet away.  Mosquito repelling plants mask these scents that attract mosquitoes.  These plants can be planted in the ground or in pots near your outdoor seating area and will help you “hide” from the mosquitoes.

Mosquito Repellent Plants: 

  • Scented Geraniums (mosquito plants)
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon Grass
  • Catnip
  • Mint

The scented geranium is a fast growing plant that grows well in our summer heat and can be moved indoors during the winter months.

Citronella
Scented Geranium or “Citronella”

Another name for the plant is “mosquito plant or citronella plant” since it smells so much like citronella.

Like people, they can get sunburned so shade during the afternoon is preferred, however they will grow in full sun.  Water them when the soil dries out then give them a good soaking.  They have small pink blooms and grow to 2’-2 ½’ tall.  You can prune them to keep them bush like or clip off the bottom leaves to shape them into more of a tree form.  Run your hands through them when you go outside to help spread their scent around.

Rosemary is not only grown as an herb but it too can repel mosquitoes.

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Rosemary

This evergreen plant (stays green all year round) can grow quite large, 3-4 feet tall and wide, so give it room if you choose to plant this in the ground.  It has delicate blue blooms, smells heavenly and doesn’t require much care at all.  Plant it in well-drained soil, water it very little and it will thrive.

Lemon Grass is a flowering edible grass that grows to over 3 feet tall.  It has a fresh lemony smell that people like but mosquitoes don’t.  In our area it is considered a tender perennial, meaning if we have a cold winter it will not come back in the spring.  You can plant it in pots and bring them indoors during the winter.  They will not be an attractive houseplant but you can keep them alive over the winter and they will bounce back once moved outside in the spring.

Catnip contains nepetalactone, a terpene proving many times more effective at repelling insects than toxic DEET.  The same substance that attracts cats also repels termites, mosquitoes and cockroaches.  Walker’s Low variety grows to about 18” in height and has blue flower spikes.

All types of mint are repulsive to insects.  When the plants are brushed against or crushed the scent is released and so is their repelling power.  Mints grow really fast, and can easily take over your garden, crowding out other plants so for that reason it is best grown in pots.

Plants can be beneficial in so many different ways and many times are natures remedy to everyday problems.  Combine these plants in your garden or in pots placed around your seating area.  Although they won’t protect you completely from those pesky mosquitoes they do help while filling your outdoor space with sweet smells.

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