Thursday, September 13, 2012

Best Laid Plans of MINT and Men

                                       The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
                                       Gang aft a-gley

This is a section of the poem To a Mouse, written by Robert Burns in 1786.  A modern translation of that second line would be something along the lines of, "Can often fall apart in a rather nasty and unwanted, horrible way that leaves you crying pitiably while cursing everything in a five mile radius."

Ok, maybe not.

It just means, 
                     "Can often go awry."  
                                                       But you get the point...

One of my well laid plans came back to bite me in the butt.  Remember my maniacal planting of various mint varieties?

The plan was to plant enough that I could have fresh mint for my juices every day without having to purchase any at the grocery stores, where it's rather expensive.  This was a good plan, and it worked wonderfully.


I figured 4 plants would be perfect.  I didn't, after all, want the mint invading the yard and taking over.  Ok, that's not true.  I did want that, but I knew the owners of the house I'm renting probably wouldn't appreciate it.

mint overtaking the yard
Remember this drawing?
Well, it turns out that 4 mint plants was a wee bit too much...

See, mint has this tendency to grow.  Ok... duh.  Of course it grows.  But see, it grows a lot.

Especially when you cut sprigs from it at a frequent rate.

The more you cut, the more it grows.  For the most part, this is great.  It was exactly what I planned on.  I just didn't realize how much growth that would be!

This can best be explained with pictures.

Photo one is the sweet mint immediately after being transplanted into the raised garden in the front yard.

original mint transplant
Three sprigs, and they're too tiny to harvest without
harming the mint plant.

So small... so harmless.  So easy it is to soften toward this plant, its fragility bringing a tender smile to your face.

But then, after a few months, it's not so harmless and fragile.  Or small, as photo two shows.  Keep in mind, this is the same plant.

mint transplant overgrowth

Keep in mind as you view this... I've allowed clover to grow around the edges, in preparation for the winter.  I want the soil to continue to thrive.  But the vast majority of what you see is mint.

Due to constant pruning, the mint's root system has exploded outward and grown with great ferocity.  Ensuring that it be kept healthy has basically caused me to have an overabundance of mint.

And remember... I have three other mint plants to cut sprigs from, as well, and they're all growing like this.

Looks like I have a lot of mint to dig up and place into pots before winter comes!

So don't forget... 

Don't plant too much mint!  Under-guess the amount you need, so that you don't end up having to go out and dig it all up a few months later.


  1. Ugh! Mint is evil! I only planted one, and had to dig it up and transfer to a pot because I kept finding shoots of it 5-6 feet away. Apparently it's not that you planted too much, but it really needs to be kept in a pot because it's so invasive. Don't feel bad, we all have made this mistake at some point. :)

  2. To be honest, if I owned this house, rather than being in a rental situation, it probably wouldn't have bothered me in the least. Because I *am* renting, however, this has become a huge problem. Eek! I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in this!!!