Jeanne Grunert is a freelance writer, blogger and book author from south central Virginia. Her books include "Plan and Build a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden" and many others, available on Amazon and wherever fine books are sold. Learn more about Jeanne, her books and her garden at


Contain Yourself, Mint!
by Jeanne Grunert - posted 07/11/16

Got mint? If you delight in this pungent herb, you must also delight in its propensity to take over the garden. All of the garden, including lawns, walkways, and anything not nailed down. Mint is one of those plants that, like cockroaches and ticks are to the insect kingdom, will survive a nuclear blast, a meteor hitting the Earth, and anything nature throws at it.


It's tough, all right.


Seriously tough. As in, once you plant it, you'd better like it, because you're not getting rid of it anytime soon.



Case in point: I had planted one single mint plant in my raised bed vegetable garden back in 2008. By 2009, the mint had coveted so much valuable soil space in the bed that it was unceremoniously heaved from the safety of its soil and planted along the wood's edge in my yard. I did manage to kill it there, possibly because deer ripped it out. I'm not sure.


I am sure, however, that the mint had the last laugh. Not only did the runners reappear in the raised bed for years after, but it had infested my lawn with runners and shoots. I enjoyed the fresh, minty scent of newly mown mint and lawn, but others found it less appealing.


Over time, the mint finally got the hint and left in a huff, but I'm a glutton for punishment, so I planted more, this time in my little herb garden at the edge of the driveway. I figured that the hard-packed gravel and crusher run base stones would discourage mint. I figured wrong. Today, I discovered the first runners creeping under the stones and setting up housekeeping in the hot, crumbling gravel.


Now if you really want to contain mint, here's a tip: grow it in a pot or a container. Seriously, don't plant it in the ground. Or, if you do, sink the entire pot inside the soil. The pot should contain some of the runners that will spread mint faster than you can say mojito.


Think about the ways to contain bamboo, and you've got your methods of containing mint. Concrete barriers work well, but few of us want to pour concrete walls around our herb garden. Decorative resin or concrete planters can stand in the way of spreading mint.


Mint has a way of coming back once you've pulled it out of the ground, so be patient if you're removing a patch of mint that you'd like to get rid of permanently. As I can attest, any root tips that linger in the soil can and will find a way to grow.


You've got to love a plant with this much tenacity. Mint is one of the strongest plants I know of, and it grows despire adversity. That and the fact that it makes a yummy tea are the reasons I still keep it around. Still, if you don't want it invading everywhere and anywhere, keep it contained in a pot, planter, or a window box.




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