Mentha spicata (formerly viridis) is the best strain grown from seed. An exceptionally fragrant and ornamental plant in addition to having many culinary uses, it is also extremely attractive to butterflies, making a wonderful addition to a butterfly or wildlife garden.
Chopped leaves are added to new potatoes, green peas, made into mint sauce to eat with lamb and added to mayonnaise for sea foods adds a fresh summer taste. We eat mint with lamb as it helps digest the fatty nature of the meat. Its digestive qualities are similar to peppermint but not as strong. Spearmints warmer taste is usually preferred by children. Spearmint tea is a pleasant home remedy for children’s indigestion, sickness and colic. Taken for its relaxing effects, it can also ease headaches and digestive problems.
Sowing: Sow from March to May. Sow seed on the surface of lightly firmed, moist seed compost in pots or trays. Press the seeds lightly into the compost. Seed is slow to germinate.
Cultivation: When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into single 6” pots. For best results, provide any ordinary, well-drained soil. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out after all risk of frost. Place in full sun Mint is very invasive spreading by vigorous rhizomes and are best grown in containers. One plant can replicate itself several times using offshoots, so one plant per 15cm (6in) container should suffice.
Aftercare: They are hardy and will die back to ground in winter. Top dress with compost in autumn if the plants are not lifted annually. Cut back often to prevent flowering and encourage new growth.
Harvesting: The aromatic leaves are at their best just before flowering in June and July. Commercial mint growers wait until 20 percent of their mint is in flower then cut the whole crop.
Storage: Freeze spearmint for winter use. Dry leaves picked in June – July. Make mint vinegars and store fresh leaves in oil.
Companion Planting: Mint is the companion plant of Cabbages, repelling the Cabbage White Butterflies, Aphids, Mosquitoes and Flea Beetles.
|Average Seed Count||500 Seeds|
|Common Name||Spearmint, English Mint, Common Mint, Garden Mint, Green Mint|
|Other Common Names||Other|
|Flowers||Violet / Lavender flowers|
|Natural Flower Time||June and July|
|Time to Harvest||The aromatic leaves are at their best just before flowering in June and July.|
|Position||Full Sun / Partial Shade|
|Time to Sow||Sow from March to May.|