Alright guys, it’s time for a tea garden update! A few months ago we did a post about the very start of our herb garden. We were deciding on varieties and tending to our baby plants in the greenhouse. I have to admit, creating a tea or herb garden is probably the best idea ever! There’s nothing like going out in the morning, walking amongst the fragrant herbs and watching our honey bees float from flower to flower. We have most of our plants in, there’s just a few more that I would like to add this year. After that, we’ll just see how it goes and then decide on what we want to add or take out next year (I’ll tell you already that I should have planted three times the chamomile that I did). But as for this year, our final piece to the tea garden puzzle is to add different varieties of mint!
This week we’re planting our final row which includes our mints and lemon balm. Admittedly, I really wanted to get these in sooner but you know what? I didn’t. And that’s ok. At least they’re in there now and they’re perennial so who cares. I’m really, really, REALLY excited about this row because there’s just so much you can do with mints. From food flavoring, homemade syrups, cocktails, iced tea, andÂ it even makes water more exciting! We’re planting apple mint, orange mint, moroccan mint and mojito mint.
Apple Mint has a subtle apple undertone, but becomes heightened when used in mint jelly, couscous, iced tea or muddled in the bottom of a mojito!
Orange Mint has citrusy notes that is great in teas and fruit punch.
Moroccan Mint is a wonderful sweet mint that is popular in North Africa.Â Preparing and serving Moroccan tea is a long standing tradition (similar to black tea in England or green tea in China/Japan). To make Moroccan tea, brew green tea, then boil with sugar and steep in Moroccan Mint to make a beautiful minty-green tea.
And lastly, Mojito Mint. While any spearmint can be used to make a mojito, if you want to make the real deal mojito, you need Mojito Mint. This special variety just made its way into the US back in 2006 so it’s still a relatively rare variety made popular by bartenders everywhere. The flavor is noticeably different as it’s a mild, sweet flavor. It’s not overly pungent like other mints. Salud!
And yes, I know that mint can be invasive. But there are ways you can control it. First of all, I only planted about four plants of each variety because I know that it’s going to take over and expand. So plant less starts than you think you’ll need. I spaced them about 3-4 feet apart in our perennial beds. And then I also dug a dividing trench in between each variety. I”ll fill that space with mulch or even gravel/bricks to help with drainage and to prevent runners from crossing over into each variety. Then, take a bottomless bucket or container, bury it in the ground with a few inches sticking above ground. Plant the mint inside of the bottomless bucket inside the ground. This will help contain the runners and roots. And lastly, a heavy mulch around the plants will help keep weeds at bay and prevent runners.
And our last planting in the herb garden this year is pineapple sage, which we’re also very excited about. Pineapple sage is great in teas, culinary dishes and the flowers make a tasty addition to salads! And with that last addition, I believe our herb garden is complete for this year. I’m already taking notes for next year to see what I want to add, take-out or plant more of (it’s always more, never less!). For now, here’s a tour of the herb garden and an update on all of our plants: