Spearmint: Mentha x spicata (Curled Mint) Hardy Perennial
Spearmint (sometimes called Curled Mint) gives a sharp flavour for cooking with lamb and other meats or fish and is excellent for making fresh mint sauce and jellies. Scattered over green peas and glazed carrots is a must. We ran out of this mint last year and are determined to keep up with demand this year.
There are over one thousand varities of mint, but only about a dozen or so are worth growing in your garden, patio or window boxes. They are ideal for the beginner gardener or a fantastic way to introduce children to growing and gardening. Very easy to grow and making themselves at home in both full shade (even on a North facing wall) or full sun with very little maintenance required. If they have any problem at all it is that they grow too well! The solution for this is always to plant all varieties of mints in a pot if planting in the garden, or better still an old bucket, to restrict the mint plants growth. It does not like the soil to be too dry, so if planted in a container this has double-duty as it restricts the roots and at the same time retains moisture which all mint plants love. Mints love to be mulched, so get the kids involved and surround your mints with garden compost, bark, woodchip, cocoa shells or grass clippings (thick layers are inadvisable). Your herb garden can also look stunning if you choose to use an inorganic mulch such as slate, gravel or pebbles. By mulching your mints they will be very happy indeed as the roots will have a moist compost to thrive in. Twice a year feed with bonemeal and your mints will reward you every year with even more gorgeous fresh spearmint scented leaves than you could imagine! When you harvest your fresh mint, simply snip the top leaves first because this will encourage the plant to shoot from the base and this will also help to keep your Spearmints looking their best. Remove older woody stems to allow newer and younger shoots to fill in and at the end of the growing season cut your Spearmints back to gound level. By cutting back the plants at the end of the growing season the roots of your Spearmint plant will hug the soil all winter and re-shoot and reward you year after year. All the plants in the Mentha family are best used fresh but they can be dried or frozen for use in winter. Spearmint is extremely hardy and can be harvested as soon as new shoots appear in the spring! This is the best time to harvest your mint as the young new growth is the most fragrant and flavoursome. If you are choosing to harvest to dry simply hang small bunches upside down in a dry, dark, warm area or alternatively dry on paper. Once you have done this you can then store your mint leaves in an air-tight container to keep them at their very best. This amazing mint is the basic culinary mint used for fresh mint sauce, marinades and seasoning meats and fish. Try our classic mint sauce recipe with your Sunday lunch - its just the most wonderful and traditional sauce with that good leg of lamb! Remember when you gather your mint leaves always try to do this on a dry day, after the morning dew has disappeared, and before the hot sun has taken any oil from the leaves - this should be easy enough with our UK weather!
position: full sun or full shade, and will even thrive with a North facing aspect. Perfect for growing in patio containers, window boxes or in garden borders
scent: fragrant fresh spearmint
height & spread: approximately, 40cms
culinary: used for making classic mint sauce, traditionally served with lamb
Unique uses: makes marvellous marinades and jellies
wildlife: purple-hued flowers are attractive to ladybirds, butterflies and bees
3 x Spearmint Plants growing in 7cm pots. Hardy perennial plants sent with pots to protect the root system.
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