Potatoes, peas and Pims, mint flavour is great for all.
How to grow
Mint grown from seed will rarely be the same as the parent plant, so the only way to get your favourite mint is to buy established plants – garden centres will have a good supply in spring. Or try scrounging a cutting from a friend – the shoots will root easily in water.
All mints are invasive to some degree, spreading via underground stems. This makes them ideal for growing in containers.
Mints should be renewed every two to three years to keep them vigorous. Lift the plant in spring, save some of the pale, young, underground stems with lots of buds and replant them. Throw the rest away.
How to care for mint
Mint prefers moist soil and light sun to shade. Keep it well-watered and remove the flowers to stop itself seeding. Feed with a weak liquid fertiliser.
For a supply of fresh mint in winter, take sections of root from the parent plant in October and lay them on the surface of fresh compost in a new pot. Cover lightly with compost, water and place in the greenhouse, conservatory or on the kitchen windowsill. Fresh shoots will sprout within a few weeks.
How to harvest
Pick fresh mint leaves throughout the growing season. Pick leaves before flowering and freeze them, either whole or chopped, in airtight containers.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) is the familiar mint with long, pointed leaves and a refreshing flavour. For food, teas and salads choose Moroccan and Tashkent mints.
Apple mint has a mild mint flavour and apple-scented, woolly leaves. Pineapple mint has pretty, cream-streaked leaves and can also be used in cooking; and finally black peppermint, which has a strong minty taste, is ideal for flavouring food and for mint tea.