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Old 05-24-2004, 11:37 AM
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Location: Homer City, PA
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Why isn't my mint minty?

I have a patch of mint growing on the north side of my house. In years past I've used the mint to flavor my iced tea (along with some lemon) but this year I can't. The mint doesn't taste minty! When I tried to put it into my tea this year it tastes more like leaves than mint and makes the tea taste like crap. If I take a leaf and rub it there is some mint smell released but it is minimal. I've tried taking leaves from different plants, different parts of the plants (new leaves, old leaves, small leaves, large leaves) all with the same result.

So what's up? Is there something missing from the soil? Are the plants too old? What happened to my mint!
Old 05-24-2004, 12:23 PM
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My best guess would be that your mint has died and what you're picking is some sort of weed that looks like mint - perhaps Ground Ivy or Purple Dead Nettleor some other plant in the mint family.
Old 05-24-2004, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
My best guess would be that your mint has died and what you're picking is some sort of weed that looks like mint - perhaps Ground Ivy or Purple Dead Nettleor some other plant in the mint family.
I'm sure that it's still mint. Like I said, it still smells like mint but it's very faint. It looks healthy but doesn't seem to be producing enough oil I'm pretty sure that it's spearmint. The plants grow to about 3 ft. tall.
Old 05-24-2004, 01:58 PM
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I can't speak for mint specifically, but it is possible your soil is too rich/overfertilzed. Usually, one doesn't want to fertilize herbs as doing so tends to decrease their production of essential oils. You want to "starve" them a little to bring out all their goodness.
Old 05-24-2004, 04:04 PM
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How did this mint grow? Did you buy plants or seeds in the past and they re-seeded themselves this year? Has there been any change to the soil (pH, type)?
Old 05-24-2004, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell
I can't speak for mint specifically, but it is possible your soil is too rich/overfertilzed. Usually, one doesn't want to fertilize herbs as doing so tends to decrease their production of essential oils. You want to "starve" them a little to bring out all their goodness.
I'm not sure if this holds true for Mint - other herbs, such as Rosemary, Sage and Thyme come from semi-arid mediterranean-type environments and so they thrive harsh conditions with poor, dry soil, but in the wild, mint grows in damp, lush, semi-shady places that are generally quite fertile.
Old 05-24-2004, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jellytoes
How did this mint grow? Did you buy plants or seeds in the past and they re-seeded themselves this year? Has there been any change to the soil (pH, type)?
These were planted (4 or 5 plants) in 2000 or 2001 and has grown to fill an area against my house, maybe 10x2 feet. I don't do anything for them, no water, no fertilizer, it seems to take care if itself, coming up strong each year. Each fall I cut the dead plants and dispose of them. It's on the north side so it gets little direct light (which doesn't seem to bother the plants) and the soil doesn't dry out easily. Could having the same thing growing here for 3 years have changed the pH? I don't know what the pH is or was.
Old 05-24-2004, 05:16 PM
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Mint is a perenial, there's no need to reseed every year. The oil content (minty flavor) of the plants increases as the plants get near blooming, so perhaps it's still too early to expect much from your plants. OTOH, It's been hot here, and my patch is chock full of minty goodness.

All about growing mint in Minnesota.
Old 05-24-2004, 10:09 PM
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Location: SW Side, Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
I'm not sure if this holds true for Mint - other herbs, such as Rosemary, Sage and Thyme come from semi-arid mediterranean-type environments and so they thrive harsh conditions with poor, dry soil, but in the wild, mint grows in damp, lush, semi-shady places that are generally quite fertile.
Actually, you are right. I looked up some growing tips on mint, and the case seems to be that mint likes a little bit of fertilizer -- more than other herbs -- but not as much as you would give potted plants.
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