|Looking for one bigass mojito|
From 20 cuttings that I transplanted a year ago, I now have 200 square feet* of chocolate mint. That's just in front. In back I have a (much) smaller collection of peppermint, spearmint, sweet mint, and lemon balm. It's a heck of a lot of mint leaves. The question is now: what to do with it?
While the mint is currently used for mojitos and menthol baths, and while I'm eying a really nice essential oil distillery that will convert some of it into a salable product, there still remains the question of what to do with the rest of it. I have a ton of mint, and I'd love to put it to good use.
Luckily, I came across an idea tonight that I had never considered:
Mint is beneficial to the growth of beets, cabbage and tomatoes. The leaves of mint used as a mulch for these crops help to keep away cabbage moths, aphids, ants and flea beetles... Leaves or small sprigs of fresh mint can repel mice and ants. Scatter the leaves or sprigs of mint in any place where you want to repel these household pests. The scent is repelling to them and they stay away from it.Now, I have comfrey planted for a vaguely-similar purpose. It's one of those plants that sucks tons of nutrients up from the subsoil and stores them in its leaves. Drop the picked leaves in your raised bed and as they rot those nutrients provide a felicitous cuisine for your tomatoes and peppers. I don't like commercial fertilizers, and spreading comfrey leaves in the beds is just one more way to avoid them.
But I hadn't considered dropping fresh mint leaves into the beds to repel ants and such. And I'm not even sure it will work, or if it does, how well. But everything is worth one shot, so tonight I cut about a 5 gallon bucket full of mint stalks** and spread them thickly in one bed full of peppers and another full of tomatoes. In one case they'll actually be a mulch, as they are covering bare ground. In the second, if they accomplish anything, it will be to repel aphids with their smell and oils.
After discussions with my bride, I plan to give Rogue's strawberry patch a good covering tomorrow. Maybe it'll do good, and I'll reduce weeding and ant damage with little work on my part. Maybe it'll kill everything dead and I'll have to replant in July. But since this mint has no seeds*** and spreads by root, I'm pretty sure I won't end up with 400 cubic feet of mint leaves in the yard.
But even if it did, there are worse problems than having a key ingredient of mojitos and relaxing baths growing all over the place...
* or 200 cubic feet even, given that it's a foot tall. The spearmint out back is even taller.
** actually removing the leaves from the stalks would take more time than any normal person has to spare.
*** But man do I have a busload of sage seeds drying. With the right equipment I could turn the whole state purple.