Here's a good question from reader Jen on growing mint indoors in the winter. We are longing for some fresh mint too, so we're doing some research.
The dreary, overcast weather in Athens, Ohio has me longing for warmer weather (and a mojito!). Our local farmer's market and grocery stores don't usually carry fresh mint except in the summer. I was wondering if you had any recommendations on growing mint indoors (where to get it, how to plant it etc..).
Jen, we'd like to grow some fresh mint too. We can find it in small packets at Whole Foods and such, but it usually has black spots and is a little limp. Mint is best fresh from the garden. Mint is also a good potted plant; in the garden it tends to take over and is quite invasive. We like to keep a big pot of it going in the summer.
We don't keep it in the winter, however, and we turned to our gardening friend Jennifer Bartley to ask about growing it indoors. Jennifer is the author of Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook and blogs at American Potager.
She told us that mint needs a sunny window. It may get a lanky as it stretches for the light because it really prefers full sun. Ohio gets so little light in the winter (we know!) that it may be difficult to give it enough. You can try using grow lights as well. But try a sunny window.
Jennifer also suggested trying curly and flat leaf parsley, which both tolerate less light and may do better indoors.
As far as growing mint, we suggest using a large, deep pot like the one below in order to allow it to grow wild. Mint will really sprawl!
You can purchase mint seeds at a garden store and start them yourself. You can also look at organic grocers for small plants; transplant these to a larger container and give them plenty of sun. They should take off fairly quickly. We have always had good luck with mint; it just loves to take over whatever container it's in!
You can also purchase mint plants online here: Amazon mint plants and seeds listings
(Image credit: Apple Mint at Victorian Nursery)