How To Grow And Harvest A Spearmint Plant
The spearmint plant is an attractive plant that does well in any garden. It has lighter green foliage and leaves and it produces beautiful purple flowers that grow on top of the stems. But it has many other qualities as well. Its leaves can be harvested and used medicinally and for flavor. Having a spearmint plant can be an exceptional addition to any garden.
The spearmint plant reaches up to three feet high and it is a perennial plant. This means that it will come back every year and it doesn’t need to be replanted. It originated in the Mediterranean and was used as a water purifier. It was also used as a remedy for muscle aches. But today we know all of the benefits of this important plant.
The leaves from the spearmint plant can be dried and used as a tea. It is delicious and it is also known for relieving an upset stomach. It is an excellent remedy for vomiting or nausea and it is good for babies with colic. It can relieve excessive gas problems and it can be used to add zip to any salad or salsa. It goes well with certain meats like lamb and the juice made from the leaves accompany many desert dishes. So having a spearmint plant in your garden is a great idea because it is easy to grow and has so many beneficial qualities.
You must purchase a new spearmint plant form your local nursery to place in your garden. But before you do you will have to choose an area that has a lot of room. These plants can take over any garden area and they are very aggressive. So you will have to make sure they are spaced a full twenty inches apart from each other. You can make sure that they won’t affect companion plants by either leaving them in their own large pot or burying a metal mesh cage around the plants, so that the roots cannot grow past a certain point. This in no way harms the plant but it will keep it away from the other plants delicate root systems.
You can also prune the plants back if they get too big. This shouldn’t be a problem because they should be cut back every year when it is time to harvest them. Just remember not to cut most of the plant. Cutting or pruning more than fifty percent of any plant can damage or even kill it. But you can prune it in steps weekly.
These types of plants need a mix of sun and shade. Although they love the sunlight, the afternoon sun can burn the leaves and leave them withered and dying. Make sure the area has at least six hours a day of full sunlight and the rest of the time it should be in shade.
The spearmint plant loves water. But its delicate root system does not. There is a way to make sure it gets water but not too much. You can raise the rows that you plant them in. This is called a raised garden bed method and it insures that they water flows away from the root system. This helps produce healthy, hearty spearmint plants.
If you want to harvest and dry the leaves it is a simple process. Cut the stems off only where most of the leaves are concentrated. Hang the stems and leaves someplace cool and out of the way until the leaves dry completely out. Gently remove the dried leaves and place them in an airtight container. You can use these dried out leaves in drinks or foods, just like you would any other spice.