How to grow country mint
Mentha arvensis L. (1753) is a perennial herbaceous species of the Lamiaceae family, characterized by a height of 10 – 60 cm with buds hibernating at ground level and protected by litter or snow and with a flowering axis. erect and often without leaves. All parts of this plant are strongly aromatic. It is an easy growing plant, with rapid and intense growth, which over time can become invasive. In this sheet we see how to grow country mint, especially to give it the best organoleptic and aromatic characteristics. Mint country in the wild prefers, for its growth, fresh and humid places. It is a very adaptable and resistant plant that, if grown in a warm and dry climate, tends to show more quantities of essential oils in the leaves, thus acquiring a greater aroma. The plant can be grown either in pots on balconies or terraces or in the ground in the garden, mint is a plant that easily adapts to all types of climate, both shady and exposed to the sun, provided they are not too humid. It is a species that prefers soils rich in organic substances; for this reason, when growing in pots, it is good to renew the soil at least once every two years, while in the open field the organic substance must be applied at the beginning of spring (excellent mature manure).
It is always necessary to avoid clayey or heavy soils that do not allow the correct drainage of water. Especially in areas with a harsher climate, during particularly rainy periods, the plant must be covered with a plastic sheet in order to prevent the leaves from getting wet and ruining. Mint reproduces more easily by cutting vegetative apices; the latter, taken for a length of at least 20-25 cm, must be cut from the plant in the period of March-April or early autumn with a sharp and well-disinfected scissors so as not to infect the tissues of the plant.
In a first phase the tips must then be placed in a glass with water or in the ground in order to allow rooting. Subsequently, if you have chosen to proceed with the cultivation in pot, as soon as the plant sprouts, it will be necessary to move the plant to the sun. During the transplant phase make sure not to bend the young roots so as not to cause breakage and possible rottenness of these. For the first plant start from nursery plants or certified seed.
If we start from seed we proceed normally like other plants with a spring-summer trend, with sowing at the beginning of spring, directly in the open field or in the pot and covering the seed with a maximum of one cm of substratum. In the first phase it is necessary to keep the soil moist until the seedlings germinate and gradually decrease the irrigation shifts, avoiding to wet the leaves so as not to damage them. In pot cultivation it is preferable to use large enough containers in terracotta to encourage greater aeration and deepening of the roots. Fertilization must take place instead at the beginning of spring with organic fertilizers (compost or mature manure); absolutely avoid synthetic fertilizers and especially nitrogen. Pruning should be limited to the periodic elimination of twigs and dry leaves and, if you choose the cultivation in the ground, even weeds, so as to promote the oxygenation of the soil.
For the best characteristics of rural mint, the summer period is ideal for harvesting: at this moment the leaves are rich in menthol and essential oils and can be eaten fresh or left to dry and then reused for the preparation of herbal teas. It is good before harvesting to reduce the irrigations to a minimum to make them enhance the aromatic contents.
According to folk medicine this plant has the following medicinal properties: anti-inflammatory (heals from inflammatory states), antiseptic (property of preventing or slowing the development of microbes), antispasmodic (attenuates muscle spasms, and relaxes the nervous system), carminative ( favors the leakage of intestinal gases), diaphoretic (facilitates skin transpiration), emetic (useful in case of poisoning as it causes vomiting), febrifuge (lowers body temperature), galactogogue (increases the milk secretion), stimulating (invigorates and activates the nervous and vascular system), stomachic (facilitates the digestive function).
In the kitchen the edible parts are the leaves (raw or cooked) with which you can make an infusion, or they can be used as seasoning or spice.