Bought a new home recently? Planning on starting a garden? Well, before you begin, please, I implore you, heed my advice: whatever you do, do not, and I repeat, DO NOT buy any peppermit starters at your local garden center. And, God forbid, don't buy the seeds! Trust me on this one! If you didn't live so far, I would invite you over on a Saturday afternoon for a 'work-outside-day' in my garden and show you WHY it's such a bad idea to grow peppermint in your garden.
Let me start at the beginning, ten years ago as a matter of fact.
Once upon a time, I married my soul mate. Three months later, we bought our first home with 2 and one quarter acres of property. A little piece of heaven, right? Well, we moved in, had the obligatory housewarming party, and pretty much stayed in Friday and Saturday nights for the next 8 months unpacking and arranging furniture. The following spring, I got a heavy dose of spring fever, and what first time home owner wouldn't? I got busy and made a wish list of herbs and vegetables to plant in my first garden, and peppermint made the list. Think fresh peppermint in your ice tea or mojitos! Why, I just knew I would be the hostess with the mostesses! The neighbors would be in awe!
I was motivated and nothing could stop me at the garden store. I bought seeds, top soil, shovels, hoes, bug spray, and starter plants. I planted a garden the size of Rhode Island, full off herbs and vegetables. Cucumber, zucchini, and peppermint were a huge hit with the earth. I was pooping cucumber seeds and drinking mint in my tea for three months straigt: June, July, and August.
Ok, now fastfoward 10 years. Playing house has become a chore and the gardening has been replaced with farmer's market trips on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. Left unattended, Rhode Island transformed into a peppermint patch with intermittent weeds and mysteriously seemed to double in size.
Three months ago, and to the joy of my neighbors, I decided I would clear the patch and plant grass seed. You know, go back to the original yard. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, well, well. Imagine this: To this day, I'm still going out there and pulling up strands of peppermint stalks and roots. Peppermint does not know any boundaries!
Oh sure, it's nice smelling work, but geesh! I am out there every Saturday afternoon trying to eradicate this herb. I'm hoping by 2014 it will be gone so I can plant my grass seed.
Remember this eager gardner: Keep the herbs confined to a patio pot and away from the earthen soil. You'll be glad you did!