Tag Archives: Mint

Propagating Mint Two Ways

A few weeks ago I pruned my mint plants and at that time I took some pieces for propagating new plants. I used two methods of propagation: runners and cuttings.

Method 1: Runners

While I was pruning I was able to separate some rooted runners from each plant. If grown in a garden bed, mint will send out runners and eventually take over everything, but in a pot they can be an easy way to propagate new plants.

20120922-121936.jpg

After separating the runners, I stuck them in a pot and was done.

20120922-122139.jpg

A few weeks on they are growing well and will be ready for bigger pots in a couple months.

Method 2: Cuttings

The second method I used was propagating from cuttings. This method is more versatile than runners and also allows you to propagate more plants more quickly.

I started by selecting good strong cuttings from my pruning and trimming them on a diagonal a little below one of the leaf nodes.

20120922-122619.jpg
I then put the cuttings in a glass of water and sat them on a sunny windowsill.

20120922-122830.jpg

I could have added some rooting hormone to water to speed up the process, but after about a week and a half roots were shooting off everywhere, well of one of the varieties. The other has shown not a lot of action yet but still looks healthy, so I’ll leave it longer.

20120922-123225.jpg

Once a decent amount of root growth developed, I stuck the cuttings in pots with good quality potting mix and hopefully they will flourish.

20120922-123401.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Garden

Freezing Herbs

After my mint pruning exercise I was left with an excess supply of mint even after I had set aside quite a few pieces for propagation.

20120902-183053.jpg

Although I really brought this upon myself, having an excess of herbs can be a common situation. Prepackaged or prebundled herbs sold at supermarkets, greengrocers or markets are very often sold in quantities larger than that which the average user can consume before they spoil. So how can you preserve unused herbs? The answer is, by freezing them!

Begin by washing and chopping or leafing your herbs. Because when using mint in things like drinks, whole leaves are often an attractive feature, I decided to just leaf my mint rather than chopping it. If I want chopped mint, I can always chop it later.

20120902-184218.jpg

Once you have washed and prepared your herbs, place them in clean ice cube trays (I used cute silicon flower ones from ikea) and then fill with water or broth for herbs likely to be used in savoury dishes.

20120902-184412.jpg

20120902-184442.jpg

Then freeze. Once your herb cubes are frozen, you can pop them out and store them in
a ziploc bag until needed. Remember to always label bags in e freezer with the contents, month and year so that when you find them six months later, you remember what the contents is.

20120902-184818.jpg

20120902-184857.jpg

Once you have your frozen herbs, how do you use them? There are many ways. Of course you can melt the cubes and use the herbs as normal, but you don’t always need to. When cooking, you can just toss the herb cubes straight in. The cubes will melt and the water will evaporate leaving you with your delicious herbs in the dish. However, my main plan for the mint cubes is to toss them whole into drinks, for chilled, minty refreshment.

I’m reading My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.

1 Comment

Filed under Kitchen

Pruning Mint

I probably should have done this a few weeks ago, when the spring weather, but I finally got around to pruning my two mint plants.

20120902-153357.jpg

I have two mint plants growing in pots, a heirloom mint and one that is more of a spearmint, and since I got them in May, they have exploded with growth.

Why is it necessary to prune mint plants you ask? Well there are a few reasons. For one, pruning mint encourages bushy growth, rather than a lot of stems. It also stops the mint from going to seed and prolongs the leaf growing season. Another reason to prune mint is to remove the dead woody stems which develop over time as some parts of the plant die off and others form shoots.

When growing mint in a pot pruning can also serve another purpose. Mint is quite a prolific and invasive plant, spreading by putting out runners to start new plants and shooting from the main plant. To accomplish this feat, mint plants have a pretty epic root system, which means that they can become pot bound and unhappy quite quickly. By pruning the mint, you can divert its energy into regrowing the main plant rather than root development. This can increase the amount of time you can leave your mint in a pot, but it will still need repotting eventually.

I had one more reason for pruning my mint which you can see in the photo below.

20120902-155004.jpg

In this pot, there is something that doesn’t belong. An invader. With a really strong root system! Pruning the mint back allowed me to remove the weed roots and all.

When it comes to actually pruning the mint, my technique can be described in three words: hack it off. I pruned both plants right back to ground level.

20120902-155454.jpg

20120902-155544.jpg

This may seem a bit extreme, but I can almost guarantee, with just a tiny bit of hope that the plant will regrow better than new! Pruning in this fashion also gives me a really good selection of cuttings to propagate new mint plants with, but I’ll post about that later.

Once you’ve cut back your mint, you are will probably have way more than you can use before it spoils in the fridge, even if you do use some fir propagation. What to do with all of this left ofer mint? Freeze it of course!

I’m reading My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.

1 Comment

Filed under Garden