Growing “Invasive” Mint-a Drought Tolerant Edible for Dry Shade

Cut back mint flowers before they spread seeds all over the place

I think mint is on everybody’s invasive plant list. I have heard the only way to grow mint non-invasively is in a container but don’t leave your container of mint unattended! My first herb garden was a group of potted herbs at the corner of my lawn, here I whiteness the invasive powers of mint! in no time my little pot of mint had sent shoots out in all directions, they snuck through the drainage holes into the lawn and leaped the confines of its own container to take up refuge in the pots of neighbouring herbs. You might have guessed the mint soon found itself moved to the patio with a dish underneath it. That arrangement didn’t last long as I found out the only seemingly possible way to kill a mint plant is by letting it get root bound. Mint is an extremely fast grower. Mint spreads mainly by runner roots but just in case you thought you had a contained impervious spot for mint it also flowers and spreads viable seed all summer long. So why would anyone with a small garden like me bother with such an out of control edible? Well like everyone else out there that grows a garden I have a “problem” spot that one place where nothing seems to grow. I have an otherwise vacant and unusable narrow strip of segregated dirt along the shady due north side of my house between my hard surface path and foundation, under the roof overhang, and over top of my newly laid drain tile,(earth over drain tile is always dry that is the purpose of drain tile after all). My sandy earth is particularly desert like, and this problem area is further droughted by the rain being shielded by the roof overhang. The only water that would reach this area would be run off from the adjacent pathway or heavily winded sideways rains. Over the years I tried hostas, yew, forest grass, salal, brunet, and pursulane there but they all died in a single season. Mint seems to be happily growing along! My only complaint so far is mint is not evergreen, it dies back in the fall with frost and gets growing around the end of January(today I just noticed the tiniest green mint sprouts coming up!) and I do need to be diligent about cutting back the mint flowers in the summer! Other than that I don’t have to do anything for the mint, I do love a low maintenance food plant! I don’t fertilize or water at all, I didn’t even give it one drop of water all summer last year and I have not had any mint runners make the four foot journey under the path to invest my evergreen huckleberry. So far so good, I think invasive mint has found a home in my small garden.

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