Herb of the Day for April 9th – Mint

Herb of the Day for April 9th

Mint

Overview:

Plants in the mint family are very hardy perennials with vigorous growth habits. Mint, left to its own devices, will spread quickly and become a nuisance. However, it is very popular as a flavorful herb and the plants can be grown easily. Just try to chose a spot where you won’t mind the rampant growth or grow it in a confined space.

Latin Name:

Peppermints (Mentha × piperita), Spearmints (Mentha spicata).

Mature Size:

Height – 12 to 18 inches (30 – 45cm).
Width: 18 to 24 inches (45 – 60cm). However plants will spread much further.

Days to Harvest:

Seed germinates in 10 – 15 days. Full size plant depends upon variety and growing conditions. Usually within 2 months.

Exposure:

Sun / Partial Shade

USDA Hardiness Zones:

Depends on variety. Peppermint is very cold hardy, down to Zone 3. Spearmint handles the heat best, up to Zone 11.

Description:

Mint really wants to be a ground cover. The long branches grow upward and then flop over and root, spreading the plant wherever it can reach. The spikes of white or pinkish flowers are attractive, but brief. However, they do attract bees, butterflies and even birds. Most mint plants are hybrids and will not grow true from seed.

Design Suggestions:

Many mints work well in herbal lawns. They will need to be kept mowed, if you plan on walking on them. But this will help control their spread and the scent will make the work more pleasant. Otherwise I highly recommend planting mint in pots and keeping them on patios or paved areas. There will be more than enough to harvest and you won’t have the high maintenance of keeping the plants in check.

Suggested Varieties:

  • Mentha piperita , Peppermint – The best for mint flavoring. (USDA Zones 5 – 11)
  • M. piperita citrata cv., Orange Mint – One of the tangiest of the fruit flavored mints. (USDA Zones 4 – 11)
  • Mentha suaveoloens , Apple Mint – Apple. Mint. What’s not to like? (USDA Zones 5 – 11)
  • Mentha suaveolens variegata, Pineapple Mint – Variegated offshoot of apple mint. (USDA Zones 6 – 11)

Growing Tips:

Mint is one of the few culinary herbs that grows well in shady areas, although it can handle full sun if kept watered.Cuttings of mint will root easily in soil or water and mature plants can be divided and transplanted. However you can start new plants from seed. Sow outdoors in late spring or start seed indoors about 8-10 weeks before the last frost. Keep soil moist until seed germinates.

Mint prefers a rich, moist soil with a slightly acidic pH between 6.5 and 7.0. If the soil is somewhat lean, top dress yearly with organic matter and apply an organic fertilizer mid-season, after shearing.

To contain the roots and limit spreading, you can grow mint in containers, above or sunk into the ground. Be careful to keep container mints from flopping over and touching the ground. Stems will root quickly, if given the chance.

Harvesting: Snip sprigs and leaves as needed.

If you don’t harvest your mint regularly, it will benefit greatly from a shearing mid-season. At some point, you will probably notice the stems getting longer and the leaves getting shorter. That’s the time to cut the plants back by 1/3 to ½ and get them sending out fresh new foliage again. You can do small patches at a time, if you have a lot of mint, and prolong the harvest season. All cuttings can be used, dried or frozen for later use. You can use, dry or freeze the cuttings.

Pests & Problems: Sometimes gets rust, which appears like small orange spots on the undersides of leaves. Use an organic fungicide and try to allow plants to dry between waterings.

Stressed plants may also be bothered by whitefly, spider mites, aphids, mealybugs

Recipe Suggestions for Enjoying Your Fresh Mint

  • Make a Mint Julep Video
  • Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Cake Recipe
  • Pea and Mint Soup Recipe
  • Chocolate Mint Syrup
  • Mint Tea Recipe – Mint Tea with Lemon and Orange Juice
  • Fennel and Orange Salad With Mint

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The Power of Affirmations

The Power of Affirmations

Reversing Ours Fears and Negativity

From Gail Bell

Affirmations1 are words or phrases which are said over and over to AFFIRM a single thought about yourself or other people. This is the way you have formed negative and positive programming through out your lifetime, saying things to yourself, about yourself, over and over. After thoughts are repeated, they soon become a BELIEF, and then we think this belief is our reality. In this way we form fears of poverty, health, weight and relationships and the emotions connected with these beliefs can even become our comfort zone, no matter how negative they might be.

Since we created these beliefs we can also change them. This is where real freedom comes from. Focused affirmations are a great way to start your new tomorrows. When you feel tension, stress, or any type of anxiety, an affirmation which makes you feel good is where you need to go. My favorite is: I AM POWERFUL. It makes me feel so good! However, for the affirmations to work you must not only say something which makes you feel better you have to FEEL the words. So, say whatever makes you feel good, then see yourself in a happy scenario doing or being your desire. See it, feel it, even taste it! The more emotion you have the faster you will draw it to you. Here are some affirmations you might use, but the best ones are ones you make up yourself:

  • I AM POWERFUL
  • MONEY (LOVE, GOOD HEALTH, PERFECT WEIGHT, ETC.) COMES TO ME EASILY AND EFFORTLESSLY
  • I AM ALWAYS BALANCED AND CENTERED
  • I AM IN PERFECT HEALTH
  • I GIVE AND RECEIVE LOVE ALL THE TIME
  • I AM JOYFUL
  • I LOOK AND FEEL WONDERFUL If it takes saying them over and over a thousand things a day, then do it. If you say an affirmation when you are feeling really down, and you don’t think it’s doing anything for you, just keep on. Every time you say something positive you will bit by bit feel better. A little bit of feeling better is better than lots of feeling depressed.

    Go for it, and live in Love, Peace and Joy

    About this Contributor: Gail Bell is a powerful healer who is a graduate of the Silva Mind Control Method and Transcendental Meditation. From her many studies, she quickly realized most methods for inner peace were too complex, and she soon began to discover easy to use methods for everyday life. Throughout her journey, she has guided and enhanced the lives of many individuals as a personal counselor.

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