Mint, or the scent of freshness
Peppermint (Mentha) - a genus of plants of the family Iasnatkovye. All species are highly aromatic, most of them contain the substance menthol. Mint plants differ significantly in chemical composition, which is manifested in a different smell and in a different composition of essential oils.
The name of the genus comes from the name of the nymph Minfa (or Minta), the goddess of Mount Mente in Elis, the beloved god of the underworld of Hades. Hades Persephone’s wife turned her into a plant - fragrant mint.
Mint is widely used: in food, in cosmetics - Japanese mint (Mentha arvensis) and peppermint (Mentha piperita); in herbal medicine and aromatherapy - peppermint, spearmint (Mentha aquatica), pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium); in pharmacology - mainly peppermint.
Peppermint is a genus of perennial herbs common in most countries of the world with a temperate climate. Due to the pleasant, cool, refreshing and aromatic taste of its dark green leaves, mint is widely used in cooking, confectionery, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries.
It is added to teas, soft drinks, syrups, ice cream and sweets. Powdered mint is added to minced meat. Peppermint sauce goes well with lamb dishes. In the form of fresh herbs, it is placed in soups and salads.
In many countries of Europe and Asia, peppermint is also bred to obtain the essential oil produced by distillation of stems cut before flowering. It is widely used for medicinal purposes, as well as in the perfume industry.
Propagation and planting of mint
Mint is easily propagated by vegetative - rhizome cuttings, preferably in the phase of 3-5 leaves. Landing is carried out in early spring (late April - early May) and in August. Soil preparation is carried out in advance. Before planting, the deeply processed and cleared of weeds grass section under mint is finally cut with a harrow, after which it is divided into ridges. In damp places they are made taller, and in dry areas, on the contrary, the ridges are deepened into the ground so that rainwater can better stay. Cut rhizome cuttings are placed in grooves held in the beds and covered with earth.
If you are going to grow peppermint in your garden or garden, keep in mind that peppermint has one drawback - it is quite aggressive and grows very much, thanks to creeping rhizomes, occupying more and more new spaces. So that it does not cause you much trouble, it is recommended to immediately protect it by digging into the depths of the rhizomes the restrictive strips of iron, plastic or slate.
Where to grow peppermint?
Peppermint prefers a sunny location and fertile, deep, loose and fairly moist soil. It also tolerates shading, but in this case the soil should be less wet. This crop grows especially well on moist, rich black soil. On calcareous soil, it loses a lot in aroma. Places with excessive moisture and heavy clay soil for mint are unsuitable.
The preceding plant may be different vegetables, under which the earth is fertilized with manure. Usually, mint in one place does not hold for more than 2-3 years, since its shoots "wander" from the place of planting. After mint, potatoes, onions, green peas and other vegetables are planted.
Mint care consists of loosening the soil, hilling, watering (as necessary) and weeding weeds. Plant nutrition is carried out in early spring. To obtain a greater green mass in spring, as it grows, it is recommended to conduct a strong pruning: mint will be better to shrub.
To protect against frost, the ridges are covered with autumn with a layer of loose earth, or covered with lapnik, straw, dry leaf, spruce branches or manure. Peppermint plantings should be renewed every 3-4 years, as they poorly resist weeds and fall out quickly.
Preparation and storage of mint
Mint gives a harvest from the first year of life. Before fresh consumption, pluck leaves from the stem and tear, cut or use whole, depending on the recipe. Fresh mint is added as spicy greens to salads, to lactic soups, to meat, seafood and fish, to legumes and pea hot dishes. Keep in mind that heat treatment kills freshness, so adding spice to hot dishes is recommended before serving.
Cut mint withers very quickly on a hot day, so you need to keep it in a cool place - wrapping it in a damp kitchen towel or putting it in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Peppermint is also well dried. Harvesting for drying is recommended in July-August, at the beginning of flowering, since the leaves during this period accumulate the largest number of nutrients and taste good. The cut stems are dried in the shade in bunches, then the inflorescences and leaves are torn off, ground into not very fine powder and stored in a tightly closed container in a dry, cool place protected from the sun. In this form, mint perfectly retains the smell all winter.
When dry, mint can be added to meat soups, beef and mutton roasts, veal, marinades and meat sauces, pea and bean soups and other hot dishes.
Pests and diseases
Regrowth mint is damaged by a mint flea. Measures to combat it are similar to those recommended against cruciferous fleas. This insect gives only one generation over the summer. The plant is harmed not only by adult beetles, but also by their larvae (roots). Peppermint flea pupates in August. This means that in the autumn after the second peppermint harvest, you can treat a bed of malathion (10% emulsion concentrate) 60 g per 10 l of water.
In gardens located in low damp places, mint noticeable damage inflicted by bugs and larvae of mint leaf beetle. Like the previous pest, this insect can damage the leaves. Unlike other plants, mint fusarium manifests itself differently - the plants lag behind in growth, wither, the stems of the root neck darken and rot. Effective control measures have not been developed, but it has been observed that excess dampness of the site contributes to the development of fusarium. Enhanced ventilation of the plantation, compliance with high agricultural technology and limited watering are necessary.
Powdery mildew also affects mint. It appears in the form of a white spider web coating on the leaves, and at the end of summer black dots also appear. Control measures - weeding weeds, sparse planting and on the seed plantation twice, after 10-12 days, spraying with a 1.5% solution of colloidal sulfur with the addition of 40 g of liquid (potassium) or green soap to 10 l of solution.
Peppermint Rust. In infected plants, orange spots appear on the lower surface of the leaf blade. Infection affects plants through the roots. Affected plants must be removed and cannot be fertilized.
Aphids. As a means of control, insecticidal oils and soaps are suitable. The biological enemy of aphids is ladybugs.
Ticks. Small arachnids of different colors (red, brown, yellow or green). They damage leaf cells and feed on cell sap. Affected plants wither, brown spots appear on the leaves. Natural enemies are ladybugs. For the fight, you can use streams of water or insecticidal soaps.