About Organic Peppermint : Mint received its name from the Greek legend of "Minthe," a river nymph who was turned into a lowly plant to be trodden underfoot; the stimulating, sweet smell perpetuated the memory of Minthe. Most likely, peppermint hybridized from spearmint and water mint; its culinary and medicinal use dates back to at least 1550 BC, originating in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. According to the records of ancient historian Pliny in the first century AD, the Greeks and Romans highly valued this herb, using it for sauces and beverages as well as to freshen rooms and linens. In these civilizations, mint even acted as currency. Currently, Michigan grows the most acres of mint in the United States; the United States provides about half the world's peppermint supply. Because it contains menthol, an antiseptic and anesthetic, tea of peppermint benefits conditions such as the common cold, asthma, congestion, and indigestion.
Organic Peppermint Germination: Mint grows well in rich soil and partial shade, and damp soil. Direct sow after the last spring frost, thinning the seedlings to 10-12". Keep in mind that mint spreads easily and can nearly take over the space it is planted in. Because of this, some gardeners prefer to grow mint in an isolated location or as a container plant because of its vigorous spreading habit. As a companion plant, mint benefits nearly every garden plant and repels many harmful insects. Mint also grows well from root cuttings or by division.
Growing Organic Peppermint Seeds: Mint appreciates rich soil, and will benefit from organic matter such as compost. Keep the soil fairly moist, but avoid getting the leaves wet when watering, since this can cause disease. In areas with cold winters, cut the plant down to the ground after frost and provide a thick layer of mulch for protection.
Harvesting Organic Peppermint : Fresh leaves can be harvested as soon as the plant reaches a height of 3-4". The small, young leaves tend to have the best flavor. Cut the stems down to within 1" of the ground level to allow for new growth. Keep the tops pruned to prevent blooming, since this causes the leaves to deteriorate in flavor. To dry the leaves, hang the stems upside down in a dry location until the leaves feel completely dry; strip them from the stems and keep them in an airtight container. Fresh mint leaves can also be frozen.
Saving Organic Peppermint Seeds: Since many types of mint produce sterile seed or seed that is not true to type, saving the seed may be somewhat of an experiment. Harvest the seed heads as soon as they grow dry and brown; spread them out to finish drying out of sunlight, then thresh them to remove the seed. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Organic Peppermint Info: Mentha piperita. Perennial. 85 days. Zone 3-9. About 450,000 seeds per oz. 24-36" height. 10-12" spacing. Produces a plant with pointed, strongly flavored green leaves with serrated edges, and white or pale pink flower spikes.