Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

Happy Spring!

Today we officially welcome the beginning of Earth's rebirth after a season of hibernation.  As you all know, however, I welcomed Spring a while ago.  

At the end of last week I planted my Basil in the same pot I used last year.  It seems to be happy to have the room to spread its roots.  At the same time, I trimmed back my Lavender, Spearmint, and Oregano.  The fact that this should have been done at Winter's first breath is not lost on me.  However, I was fortunate that Winter decided to be kind to my plants, allowing me the opportunity to use my Rosemary and Thyme throughout the season.  Neither of those plants, as far as I can tell, need tending to but for water.

All of my perennial herbs are making a vivacious comeback.  They all have bright new growth.  Even my Lavender, which I wasn't too sure about when I started trimming, looks to be trying to double it's size this year.

Lavender, Oregano, Rosemary
Basil, Thyme

Yesterday, my little Bug and I had loads of fun playing in the dirt.  We started with emptying all of the pots that had dead plants in them and washing them out.  (Oh boy!  Hose fun!)  Then we took the three biggest pots and prepared them for Mints.  So far this year, my Spearmint has been joined by Peppermint, Orange Mint, and Chocolate Mint.  If you've ever enjoyed the taste of Orbits orange flavored gum, you know already know the scent of the Orange Mint.  It smells so clean, and fresh, and fruity.  I can't wait to make a tea with it.  The Chocolate Mint doesn't have a strong scent, but when you pop a leaf into you mouth and release it's heavenly flavor it tastes like an Andes Mint.  Simply divine. 

Spearmint (returning), Peppermint
Orange Mint, Chocolate Mint

To these, I want to add Lemon Mint and Apple Mint.  The Apple Mint is the challenge so far.  For the Lemon Mint, my neighbors have a wild thatch of it bordering their flower bed.  Which brings me to a very important point:
All mints should be grown in pots, as they are very invasive plants and, in time, will take over your garden.
This was a lesson I learned many years ago with a children's seed-starting kit, including Peppermint.  After transplanting the plant into the garden, we had a garden full of Peppermint within about four years.  I should also note that it is recommended that you use long, shallow pots for mint plants.  They don't need the depth so much as the surface area.  I haven't done this yet because I don't have that type of pot, but I do plan to move each of my mints to its own low and long pot.  

I also planted my Bee Balm yesterday, although not directly. . .yet.  They are in pots for the time being until I can be sure that Old Man Winter is truly gone for the year.  These little guys are just too small to trust to the ground yet.  Once they are a little bigger or fears of late frost can be pushed away, they will go in the ground.  (I also have to have my raised beds in place for the Bee Balm I'm putting by the herbs.)

Scarlet Bee Balm

Enjoy your first official day of Spring!

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