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Evil Mint!  RSS feed

 
Amie Peters
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We have just bought a new house and the previous owners planted mint and then left it unattended for a decade. Now it is every where! Aside from a good old shovel and fork to dig it up, is there any other way I can get rid of it??
 
Genevieve Higgs
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1 banana, 1 handful of mint, 1 spoon of cocoa and milk (or alternative) = chocolate mint smoothie

1 handful of mint + 1 cup boiling water =mint tea

Garlic breath? The chlorophyll in mint (or any green thing) can neutralize it, if you munch a sprig on the way out the door.

Also have thoroughly enjoyed mint in the herby tabouleh type salad that sometimes comes with geeek/persian/arab food shawarma wraps.
 
Daron Williams
pollinator
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Location: Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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Amie Peters wrote:We have just bought a new house and the previous owners planted mint and then left it unattended for a decade. Now it is every where! Aside from a good old shovel and fork to dig it up, is there any other way I can get rid of it??


I actually don't have much experience trying to remove mint - never really had much issue with it taking over. But I have dealt with a lot of plants that like to go places I may not want them to. The handy shovel and fork can work but many species will sprout from root segments so you often need to go back over the same area a couple times. I'm not sure about mint but sometimes digging helps seeds in the ground germinate so that can be another reason to return to the same spots a couple times to look for regrowth. Generally, start where the mint is in small patches but where you don't want it and work on those. Once all the small patches are gone then start working on the larger patches.

I have also noticed that when mint is mixed with a lot of other plants it will still spread but not be too dense so it tends to not cause problems. Has anyone else noticed this or was I just dealing with some weaker varieties (or just mint that had not had enough time to get going).

The other option that tends to work is to just put thick mulch on top of the plant you want to get rid of. But with plants that spread easily you will need to put the mulch in a wider area than the extent of the above ground plants. If you don't the plant will just come up around your mulch. I tend to use cardboard in these cases as a base layer and then apply thick mulch on top of that. Been doing that to control creeping buttercup and grass in some areas around my place and it seems to work okay. Though I still need to dig out some parts here and there. Of course using mulch like this does not work if there are plants you want mixed in with the mint. You might just have to dig it out and I would plant other plants in its place fairly quickly to help establish and overall balance where there is some mint but there are also enough other plants that it never causes too much trouble - or at least just manageable trouble.
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 202
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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I can think of worse plants to be overrun with!  I wouldn't panic too much about trying to eradicate it from the off.  In my experience it doesn't go mega-deep.  So clear patches as you need them to plant larger shrubs that will shade it out.  Mowing should be fairly effective in the long term as well.  Thinking of my allotment, I've put mint in under the raspberries (or rather it arrived from next door and I've added some other varieties.)  There is a mulch path running in between the rasps and the rest of the plot, and I reckon that if the mint tries come under the path (as the rasps keep doing) I can tackle it sprig by sprig along that front.  So if you do clear a patch for more delicate veggies, have a bare exclusion zone around it.
 
Marco Banks
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Sorry.  Mint is awful once it breaks out. 

You'll just have to get out there and pull it up.  It helps if your soil is loose and friable.  If not, maybe you can mulch heavily with wood chips for a year or two until it's much easier to pull the mint up.  As mentioned above, you could try to smother it with cardboard and then put a foot of chips on top.

I don't think it's as aggressive as crab grass, which seems to survive forever and keep coming back if you fail to pull every last little bit of it up.  Mint isn't as resilient, but you'll need to keep after it. 

Maybe you could build a chicken tractor and park it over the top of the mint.  Then once the girls have pecked at everything and scratched it clean, move the tractor to the next segment of ground and let them continue to do their work.  Do chickens like mint?  I would imagine they would.  Anyone know?

 
Alexandra Clark
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Location: Long Island, NY
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If you don't mind using black plastic then solarizing works very well and is relatively effortless.

Get thick black plastic used for tarps, NOT landscaping stuff. You want a barrier that will not let water through. Place the tarp over the planting area you wish to reclaim and place bricks or stones around the edges so that it doesn't fly away in a good blow. You may want to mow the plants down to the ground first so they have limited growth, which will already stress them out. Since mint spreads via runners, make sure to place a big enough tarp to cover the edge about a foot or two past where the mint is now active.

Leave the tarp in place for 6 weeks. In direct sunlight and in the absence of any water, the black plastic heats up the ground significantly and kills the plants and generally all weed seeds in the soil. After you are done, simply compost over the area, or mulch deeply and plant whatever else you want there.

Best of luck!
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
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Many years ago I succeeded in eradicating an infestation of mint, sort of accidentally. Mint had been planted near some rose bushes at a place that wasn't much maintained, and I wanted to bring it under control. I had read that it's impossible to eradicate because bits of root would stay in the soil and resprout, so I spent an hour or two gingerly pulling it up from under and behind the roses. Imagine my surprise when not even a single bit resprouted. I guess the soil was soft enough that just pulling really did get it all to come up. I think it's not nearly as aggressive or tenacious as many other problem weeds, especially if the soil is soft and there's space to pull or dig it up.
 
Gregg Carter
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Other than solarizing and chemicals there isn't much hope. Sorry. Mint can go crazy.
 
Glenn Herbert
gardener
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I planted a sprig of lemon balm in my garden almost 30 years ago... it is still trying to take over the garden. It comes up through 8" of soil dumped on top of it. Pulling sprouts (gently so a long piece of root comes with it) slows it down, but it will never be eradicated short of nukes. It's in the asparagus bed so I can't kill that reservoir.

I did succeed in killing a patch of bamboo (Japanese knotweed) long ago, by covering the area with 6 mil black plastic for five or more years. The trick there is to leave the plastic loose enough that shoots can push up the plastic, then get roasted to death. If the plastic is held tight to the ground, the shoots can break through it.
 
Amie Peters
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Thanks for all the advice. We currently have black plastic over it in an attempt to kill it.....just need some nice hot sunny weather now! We cleared it out of the raised beds, but I guess we must have missed a bit as its back now 3 weeks later. I'll get the chickens on it too, just in case. But first I better run out and big up my lemon balm I just planted, before that stats rats to go crazy too!
 
Amit Enventres
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Location: Ohio, USA
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I'm not sure where you are or how much you have, but I connected with an herbalist and my mint problem is gone. Mint in store sells for $. If not in a store, there's a new website coming out called Veggievinder that you could dry the mint and put it up there. Or, talk to a local herbalist or tea maker/seller.

That, and I also put my potato patch on my mint patch and hilled it up high enough with peat and sand that the mint is pretty well buried at the moment (in that spot).
 
Casie Becker
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Take heart in knowing that this is not a plant that likes dry heat. I've tried several times to plant it in various corners of my yard and have yet to have it survive. My lemon balm comes back in the same spot every year, but it is only slowly increasing in size.

If the black plastic doesn't work, you could try a clear plastic instead. That's whats recommended here when solarizing soil. It creates more heat under the plastic in the same way that light shining through a car window makes the car interior hotter than the exterior. Possibly the weeds we fight are so well adapted to hot weather we've had to up the ante.

This man did some testing on his own to compare different solarization techniques. http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/solarization.htm I don't think killing mint will require as much effort as he put into eliminating soil fungus and nematodes.
 
Dan Boone
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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All my mint in Central Oklahoma dies in the heat of summer if it doesn't get irrigated.  I only *wish* it would "take over". 

That said, what functions does feral mint interfere with?  I've had trouble understanding that.  It is easily shaded out by anything taller and it's not that hungry; it grows well in containers with anything else I'm growing in there as a sort of green mulch.  So I can't quite understand why it would be a concern even if it got loose and went everywhere.  It's a pleasant ground cover and the flowers are attractive to pollinators.  Am trying to figure out why it would ever be worth fighting.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Dan Boone wrote:All my mint in Central Oklahoma dies in the heat of summer if it doesn't get irrigated.  I only *wish* it would "take over". 

That said, what functions does feral mint interfere with?  I've had trouble understanding that.  It is easily shaded out by anything taller and it's not that hungry; it grows well in containers with anything else I'm growing in there as a sort of green mulch.  So I can't quite understand why it would be a concern even if it got loose and went everywhere.  It's a pleasant ground cover and the flowers are attractive to pollinators.  Am trying to figure out why it would ever be worth fighting.


If mint is everywhere, it's probably pretty hard to have a vegetable garden or other small annuals, I would think .
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Dan Boone wrote:All my mint in Central Oklahoma dies in the heat of summer if it doesn't get irrigated.  I only *wish* it would "take over". 

That said, what functions does feral mint interfere with?  I've had trouble understanding that.  It is easily shaded out by anything taller and it's not that hungry; it grows well in containers with anything else I'm growing in there as a sort of green mulch.  So I can't quite understand why it would be a concern even if it got loose and went everywhere.  It's a pleasant ground cover and the flowers are attractive to pollinators.  Am trying to figure out why it would ever be worth fighting.


This is where I'm at with mint...I love it and if there's too much for tea then I chop and drop for mulch and put some in the compost...and isn't it supposed to keep ants away when planted around the foundation of a house?

I did have too much once and we just began mowing that area and it died out more thoroughly than I had hoped.

I've never had it in garden beds though so I might think differently if that were to happen.

I have it with our raspberries and they all get along nicely, the mint being a great ground cover there.

There are so many kinds of mint maybe some are more rampant than others.  My spearmint likes wetter, partial shady places and so does our chocolate mint...they both kind of creep out into the grass but don't compete well with it.

Amie, do you know what variety of mint you have?  I also have lemon balm and don't have a problem with it spreading.  I think a lot of these things depend on climate and location?

My guidelines have become 'anything but bermuda grass' is (mostly) welcome
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Between my habits, soils, and climate, mints are not a problem here. Even when I plant them  in my annual garden they don't come back reliably nor aggressively. In the lawn, it's just one more wildflower eeking out a meager co-existence with the grasses and other wildflowers. They smell really good while mowing.
spearmint-wildflower.jpg
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Spearmint
 
r ranson
master steward
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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When we first moved to this farm, mint took up over 5% of the ground.  That's a lot of mint.

We harvested it and sold it for $1 a bunch to the local restaurants and shops.  This was our most profitable crop for the first three years we lived here.  Instead of being evil, it was a cash crop we didn't have to put any effort into growing.

Now we have very little mint.  Mint seems to like a lot of moisture, not great soil, and lots of sun.  With the fruit trees shading out the mint, improving the soil, and not irrigating in the summer, very little mint remains. I'm having to give it dedicated garden space as there isn't enough wild mint left. 



 
Marco Banks
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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OK -- after careful research, the following method is a foolproof way to get rid of mint, once and for all.  Follow this 10 step process for sure-fire results.

1.  Flood the entire mint infested area with gasoline.  About 8 to 29 inches deep.  It may require several tanker trucks.

2.  Light it on fire.

3.  Burn your house down as well, along with the houses and yards of every property that abuts your land.

4.  Carefully delete all digital record of yourself from the internet. 

5.  Fake your own death.  A boating accident seems to work well . . . no bodies found, just a damaged boat with a half-eaten sandwich sitting there and clear evidence that you were not wearing a life jacket. 

6.  Break off all future contact with family, friends and plant life.

7.  Move to a new home . . . in a new city . . . in a new state.

8.  Plant only annuals.  Or silk plants.  Just stick them out in the dirt.

9.  Don't even use the M word.  Ever.  Avoid words that rhyme like dint or print.  If the font is too small, whatever you do, don't squint.

10.  Stop chewing M flavored gum, and avoid toothpaste that is similarly flavored.  Run.  Run far and run fast if someone offers you a Mint Julep or a Mojito.





 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I'm in the camp that loves it,and I will say that winter plus chickens killed all my mint in the back yard.
The yard is fairly big,there are only 4 chickens but nothing annual has come back,and nothing with shallow roots either.
I had a solid 4x4 square of the stuff and now,nada.
Mow it and spread some B.O.S.S on top,cry havoc and let loose the hens of war!

 
Nm Gibson
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Don't kill it, sell it! Post to your local classifieds or craigslist, tell people to come dig it up for free, or pot it up yourself and charge a few dollars per plant.
 
chad Christopher
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Location: Pittsburgh PA
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One word. Fire. Pull it, build fire. It's not just the runners, strength, and hardiness. Mint is a prolific seeder, with a very long seed-banking life. Turn the soil and burn.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6015
Location: Left Coast Canada
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Have any of you guys seen this?

A pretty nifty spectrum of different ways to deal with dandelions.  From one point of view, it's a horrible weed that must be destroyed at all costs, even if that involves poison or fire.  From another point of view, it's a useful source of food, medicine, dye plant, wine and income.  This thread reminds me of that article. 


If I was meeting to OP of this thread face to face, I would love to take them out into the yard and gather an armload of mint, take them into the kitchen and show them all the uses for it.  By the end of the month (because that is about how long it would take to show them all the uses of mint), they would have the problem of insufficient mint.  Just like I have now.  I started with well over 10 thousand square feet of mint and in under three years, we have about 8 square feet left.  Not from trying to eradicate it, but from finding uses for it.  From improving the health of the soil.  From planting fruit trees.

Rather than focusing on how to get rid of the 'evil weed' with flame or other, let's take this opportunity to talk about how to use mint to extinction. 
 
m c nestor
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When I have mint where I don't  want it, I just dig or pull it up. I have to be vigilant to remove the "resprouts" but , eventually, I have success. I find oregano much more invasive than mint as it propagates by seed. It becomes a lawn cover in just a few years.
I, also, find that mint is very beneficial in my garden and I usually give it free rein. It protects my cabbages, etc. It bolsters my tomatoes and it makes lovely tea. I have a wide range of varieties planted throughout the gardens. It is also great for Indian or Middle Eastern dishes. I don't see it as invasive, I see it as a gap filler.
 
Genevieve Higgs
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So here's a picture of my garden. 

Two challenges are a LOT of bramble/blackberry with a root system that most likely permeates the neighborhood and huge amounts of human habituated deer.  The blackberry is cruely thorned and the deer eat everything while staring at you.

So mint and lemon balm and zuccini are planted outside of the raised bed at the periphery of the deer fence.  Some is inside the fence some is outside.  They seem to be beating the backberry (as long as I keep pruning them down).  The deer eat them less than other things and wander off to other areas.  They do grow shoots into the raised beds but I preferentially harvest them out or chop them for much and compost. (Deer poo is composted too).

It is my epic battle of bramble vs vigorous edible vs chronic munchers.  Possibly molding the yard to my preferences and definitely entertaining.
20170610_121717.jpg
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Thekla McDaniels
gardener
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Amie,
What is your climate and your growth conditions?  I would approach your situation by weakening the mint over a period of time.  Depriving it of water, frequently depriving it of its photosynthetic surfaces (mowing close to the ground with a mulching mower, or cutting it off and using the cut stems for mulch). 

I have a bias against plastic sheeting that plenty of people don't share, but perhaps I am in the minority on that.  To deprive the mint of light I might use many layers of newspaper or corrugated cardboard with leaves on top. Then I would be diligent about cutting off any stems that make their way out from under the cover.

I would look for another plant that would crowd the mint out.  Something like big blue stem grass that has thicker deeper roots and taller top, or plant shrubs that would shade the area where the mint is so happy.

Someone esssentially said what you get instead might make you wish for the mint.

I used to put large amounts of effort into removing a few plants I found undesirable.

Years ago there was a lot of bindweed on my place, and there was a permies thread  all about bind weed.  At the time, I had tried the mite that weakens it, I had tried mowing it, I had tried shading it out with card board and newspaper, I had a huge huge huge amount of bind weed.  The thread discussion died out, I began using goats in my soil improvement project, I got interested in Elaine Ingham's ideas and forgot about bindweed.  I don't know what got me thinking about it recently, but I realized I hardly have any bind weed on my property, and can't remember when it went away, or subsided to a sprig here and there.

At this point, looking back, I have reached the conclusion that this was a situation where the soil community and development moved beyond the conditions in which bindweed was one of the most successful plants, one of the strongest competitors.

It can be frustrating to have a strong population of something you don't want, but rather than eradication, it might be productive to come at it from the other side, think about what I would rather have there, consider how to create the conditions in which my preferred plant would flourish, and in the meantime, begin to discover the uses of mint.

good luck
 
Thekla McDaniels
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And here is that thread on bindweed
https://permies.com/t/44968/Permaculture-bindweed

I mention it here because it is a thorough discussion about bindweed, which as far as I know, no one likes, but as a group we discuss its possible benefits/uses, as well as how universally unwelcome it is.   I seem to remember someone saying that even though it does have a few uses, for any use cited, there are plenty of other plants which also provide that function or use as well as out perform bindweed in that use.

IMO, the permaculture thought process reflected re bindweed seems to be applicable to any plant challenging or undesirable especially because of how prolific it is.





 
Erwin Decoene
Posts: 91
Location: Courtrai Area, Flanders Region, Belgium Europe
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When life hands you lemons, make lemonade ?

I grow over a dozen types of mint mostly for use in herbal tea, salads and fruit dishes. I ussually can't harvest enough.
Why don't you harvest, dry and sell the stuff; make syrop of some kind or extract the essential oils. Bee keepers might like your spot?

If you want to get rid of it, raking will do. Go over it when the soil is still loose and moist. Remove any stalks and roots. Repeat when the soil gets dryer in summer.

No variety i know of will survive that treatment for long.

Marocco peppermint got loose in my yard once - it lasted a couple of years. It suddenly died out after about 3 years. I was not sure of the cause.

 
r ranson
master steward
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Erwin Decoene wrote:When life hands you lemons, make lemonade ?



mmm... mint lemonade
 
Roy Hinkley
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Location: S. Ontario Canada
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Tons of it here. I've given up trying to kill it off.
Some mulch makes the stalks and underlying roots come up in long strings that make pulling and dropping easier than chopping and dropping. It's easy to ID, grows high quickly enough that you get a good grip and comes out in large strings. Easier to clear than the other weeds like wood sorrel.
 
K Putnam
pollinator
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Location: Unincorporated Pierce County, WA Zone 7b
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A couple weeks ago, I planted mint in an area that I truly hope it becomes invasive.  Because it will give me a reason to beat back the bindweed and blackberries if I have something useful and invasive in there instead. 

If I wanted to get rid of it, I'd probably mow it, cover with cardboard, and pile with mulch. It's not that hardy of a plant.

Meanwhile: GROW.  GROW! GROWWWWWW!!!
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
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Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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I had a beautiful patch of mint growing beside the path where I frequently cross our creek. Several years ago, after a flood, it didn't return. I still have small amounts here and there around the yard, but not like that patch.

I have been looking for a low growing mint. I wanted to plant around the house to deter mice, but I'm starting to think "low growing" kinds don't exist.

For the mint fans:
Blueberry and Cucumber Salad With Feta (from Wall Street Journal, 6/16/12)
Serves 4-6
2T. Extra virgin olive oil
2T. White wine vinegar
1t. Honey
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 Heaping Cups Blueberries
2 Cucumbers (peeled and seeds removed. Cut in 1 inch pieces.)
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 Cup crumbled feta
1 Heart of romaine lettuce, chopped
2 Lightly packed cups of mint leaves
Mix together the oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Pour over rest of ingredients in a salad bowl. Toss and serve.
 
heather Long
Posts: 12
Location: Texas Hill Country Zone 8a : 10 to 15 (F)
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Mint gone wild. I hand out, I put in smoothies, make refreshing mint water, mint rice, etc, etc, etc.
0613170751a.jpg
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Erwin Decoene
Posts: 91
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Karen Donnachaidh wrote:

I have been looking for a low growing mint. I wanted to plant around the house to deter mice, but I'm starting to think "low growing" kinds don't exist.




Have you tried Corsican Mint https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_requienii

I have had some in a pot but it did not do well. I probably misjudged my water regimen.


When i get around to finishing my planned herb bed i hope to grow it in the soil. I would love to have it going in my garden. When you touch it, it releases a really strong odour. Something between watermint and peppermint. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentha_aquatica



 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
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Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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Thank you Erwin. I'll research that cultivar further. A strong scent is what I'm looking for. We have mice in the attic and I've tried the peppermint oil soaked cotton balls but didn't see much improvement.
 
D Cali
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Hi Amy

I have just purchased 7 acres of land and want mint as a ground cover on a large area I will take any you want to send
 
I'm still in control here. LOOK at this tiny ad!
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
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