Mint: Pepper (Mentha piperita)
Nutrition & Health Benefits
Native Range: Europe
Ease of Growing: Easy
Grown as: Perennial
Maturity (Blooms): July to August
Hardiness: Hardy. Mint goes dormant in cold weather and can withstand most frost.
Crops: Spring Transplant
Growing Season: Short, Long
Growing Conditions: Cold, Cool, Warm. Mint prefers cool, moist conditions. You may want to grow it in containers to prevent it from becoming invasive in the garden.
Outdoor Growing Temp: 55°F - 85°F
Min Outdoor Soil Temp: 55°F. There's no advantage to starting your seeds in cold soil, so wait until it's warmed up a little, to at least 60˚F.
Start Indoors: Yes
Start Outdoors: No
Light: Full sun to part shade. Sun: min. 6 hours daily (Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot). Mint prefers full sun, but can tolerate partial shade as well.
Water: Medium to wet. Mint likes to be moist at all times.
Feeder: Light. These plants grow best in rich soil, but almost any soil will do.
Suitability: Tolerates light frost, Tolerates hard frost, Needs summer shade
Small Gardens?: Yes
Containers?: Yes. A great container plant--it's even preferred by most gardeners! When growing in confined spaces, Mint should be divided regularly, to prevent overcrowding. The best way to grow it is in a 5 gallon bucket with the bottom cut out, sunk into the ground to within 2 or 3" of the rim.
Attracts beneficial insects?: Yes
Plant Height: 24-36"
Sow Depth: 1/4"
Produces: a plant with pointed, strongly flavored green leaves with serrated edges, and white or pale pink flower spikes.
USDA Grow Zone: 3-9
Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Can be an aggressive spreader.
Garden Uses: Herb gardens. Naturalize as a ground cover in moist informal areas such as pond/water garden margins or low open woodland areas.
Seed Viability in Years: 2 - 4 years
Classic peppermint flavor.
Mint is perfect for flavoring sauces, cocktails, fresh on salads or as a garnish, or made into tea.
Leaves: raw or cooked. A strong peppermint flavor, they are used as a flavoring in salads or cooked foods. This plant should not be used by pregnant women. An essential oil from the leaves and flowers is used as a flavoring in sweets, chewing gum, ice cream etc. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.
Companions: Mint repels Aphids, Cabbage Looper, Flea Beetles, Squash Bugs, Whiteflies. Plant with Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Broccoli and Kale. It is notoriously invasive, so don't allow it free rein in your garden. If you want to grow mint around your crops, plant it in pots and set the pots near the plants you want to protect. Place a saucer beneath the pot to prevent the roots from creeping into the garden soil.
Enemies: Parsley or Chamomile.
The Health Benefits of Peppermint Tea
Relieves Headaches: You can steep peppermint leaves into a tea and drink it to relieve a headache. It is also effective against headaches caused by stress or a poor diet. Not just the tea of the peppermint leaves, but the aroma of peppermint oil helps in treating a headache. They elevate the constricted blood vessels in the brain and thereby promote relaxation.
Weight Loss: Peppermint tea aids in weight loss. Research also suggests that the aroma of peppermint tea can help you control your appetite, so you can reduce overeating, and subsequently, prevent obesity.
Treats Sinus: As an antispasmodic, it can relieve you of the irritating sensation that makes you want to cough. According to studies peppermint is also able to soothe the respiratory tract and treat sinus. By relaxing the muscles of the throat and chest, it eliminates the symptoms of cold and flu.
Promotes Sleep: Peppermint is caffeine-free, so people who suffer from sensitive sleep patterns like to drink this relaxing tea before bed. A cup of peppermint tea before bed can also help with insomnia.
Reduces Mental Stress: The natural sedative or antispasmodic nature of menthol helps you get instant relief from mental stress. Caffeine-free peppermint tea can reduce your blood pressure and body temperature, allowing you to unwind and relax and letting your stress melt away.
This is part of the reason why peppermint oil for aromatherapy is so popular, and the effects of peppermint tea are similar in nature.
Improves Stomach Health: Research conducted by many universities have suggested that peppermint oil and peppermint tea have been used for thousands of years to sort out a variety of digestive and stomach ailments. Archaeological evidence actually shows peppermint being used for 10,000 years as a dietary supplement.
You can use organic peppermint tea bags as they are considered a carminative because they help move gas through the body as it accumulates. This tea also stimulates bile flow to increase the rate and efficiency of digestion and promote healthy bowel movements.
A study on herbal remedies for non-ulcer dyspepsia carried out by Dr. J. Thompson Coon, School of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, UK, mentions peppermint as a very important food that can reduce inflammation in the stomach.
Treats Indigestion: Peppermint tea is not only a carminative but also an analgesic substance, so it reduces the associated pain of cramps, bloating, and indigestion. This is due to its calming effect on the intestines and muscles of the digestive tract. Diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and constipation can be cured with this tea, as it brings the entire system to optimal activity levels.
Boosts Immunity: In 2010, research on the antioxidant properties of Mentha species revealed that peppermint is a natural antioxidant, which makes it a great aid for strengthening the immune system. Peppermint tea also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties against pathogens and bacteria, which are the root cause of illnesses like fever and cough.
Not only can drinking this delicious tea helps treat the symptoms of being ill but also prevents your body from getting sick. There are also trace elements of vitamin B, potassium, antioxidants, and calcium, which help your body uptake nutrients to fight off illnesses and perform necessary functions to keep it working in a healthy way.
Reduces Fever: When we think of the sharp, cool effect of menthol, we don’t always think of a hot cup of tea. However, pure peppermint tea has menthol as a main component, so drinking the tea can cause external sweating, while the menthol cools down your body internally. This can essentially break a fever and reduce the associated inflammation and discomfort.
Prevents Nausea & Vomiting: When it comes to being sick, few things are as unpleasant as being nauseous. A 2010 study conducted on the effects of Mentha piperita or peppermint essential oil on the tracheal smooth muscle of rats concluded that peppermint tea is an antispasmodic.
It, therefore, has the ability to reduce the chances of vomiting and nausea, even in the case of motion sickness on a boat or a plane. Also, natural peppermint reduces stomachache and queasiness associated with motion sickness.
Reduces Menstrual Cramps: Due to the anti-spasmodic effects of peppermint tea, it helps in relieving the constricted muscles in the uterus and alleviates menstrual cramps for women going through dysmenorrhea or PMS.
Removes Bad Breath: According to a 2014 study, the strong, mentholated flavor and antibacterial quality of organic peppermint tea leaves can help to improve your breath. The antibacterial element kills the germs that can lead to halitosis, while menthol in the tea overwhelms the foul smell and leaves your breath fresh and clean!
Protects Heart Health: A recent study on the effects of peppermint extract stated that peppermint extract can lower the bad LDL cholesterol levels. This helps you reduce your chances of cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke.
Word of Caution: Though peppermint tea is powerful and offers a wide range of health benefits, there are still some possible side effects of having this tea.
The menthol can act as an allergen to some people and cause heartburn in others. Both of the reactions are typically mild but consulting a doctor about possible allergies is always a good idea. Besides that, grab some peppermint leaves and get brewing!
Cabbage: Early Jersey Wakefield (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Cabbage: Late Flat Dutch (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Cabbage: Red Acre (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. capitata)
Cabbage is considered one of the oldest cultivated vegetables, since historians trace it back to 4,000 BC in China. The Romans also cultivated it and praised it for its healing qualities; philosophers Pythagoras and Cato both made the lowly cabbage the subject of a book. Jacques Cartier brought the first cabbage to America in 1536. Cabbages were quite popular in colonial America, being pickled and preserved in every possible way to provide food for the winter.
Cabbage, Chinese: Pak Choi (Heirloom) (Brassica rapa var. chinensis)
Tomato: Amana Orange (Heirloom) (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
Tomato: Beefsteak (Heirloom) (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
Tomato: Green Zebra (Heirloom) (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
Tomato: Sweetie Cherry (Heirloom) (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
Tomato: Yellow Pear (Heirloom) (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
Kohlrabi: Purple Vienna (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes)
Broccoli: Green Sprouting Calabrese (Organic) (Brassica oleracea var. italica)
Broccoli: Purple Sprouting (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. italica)
Broccoli: Waltham 29 (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea var. italica)
Kale: Lacinato (Heirloom) (Brassica oleracea)
Kale: Ornamental Mix (Hybrid) (Brassica oleracea)
Ornamental Kale provides amazing color from early fall well into winter with frilly green outer leaves and pink, white or purple centers. As the rest of the flowers in the garden are dying down, Ornamental Kale is just getting started!