I'm experimenting using mints as ground cover with some perennial crops. I've opted for mints because they are easy to pull out the excess and I can process some of the excess for home use, trading, gifting, and selling. Plus they can take being trampled upon as I walk among the crop plants. Best yet, they smell great.
Chocolate mint: I started this experiment last spring by planting it around the base of a couple macadamia nut trees. I normally keep a grass clipping mulch around the trees, but want to plant something so that the roots will prevent erosion, help improve the soil, and deter some pests. Don't know yet if I can achieve all those goals. But the mint took ok and started spreading to fill in the gaps. During harvest season I used a mower to shorten the height so that I could see the nuts to pick up. Wow, that smelled super! Now that it's not harvest time, I'll letting the mint grow to normal height.
Peppermint: I've planted some among the pumpkin vines. Normally I grow pumpkins among grass because the grass helps confuse the pests. But this fall I create a pumpkin growing area with no grasses. Planted peppermint instead. I'm hoping it will keep the weeds down and hide the pumpkin vines. At the very least, it will smell great when I search for pumpkins to pick.
Spearmint: I think this mint is taller and more aggressive than either of the first two. So I've planted it among the pineapple plants, which should be able to compete with this taller mint. From past experience I know that I could easily pull out the taller stems, or cut them off with a hand sickle, thus selectively removing any growth that threatens to cover a young pineapple plant.
All three areas are not near my annual veggie plantings. I think I should be able to readily control the invasiveness, while at the same time taking advantage of their invasive nature. We shall see.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
Something else to note: I've learned that mint will cross-pollinate if given the opportunity to flower & seed; so I now keep my stock plants for the nursery in different areas and trim the blooms to minimize the risk.
You know it is dark times when the trees riot. I think this tiny ad is their leader:
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