U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Garden
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
 
 
Old 02-16-2011, 10:55 PM
 
Location: Perry South, Pittsburgh, PA
95 posts, read 93,365 times
Reputation: 84

Advertisements

I got the idea from someone else to try growing a "lawn" of mint on our south-facing small hillside. I know mint does ok in our zone (Zone 5-6, Pittsburgh), and is generally more of an issue to keep contained than to get growing, which in my case is actually desirable. My question is:

How well will mint do on an eroded, infertile hillside where most of the grass is fighting for dominance with a very large, very old maple? I know that it likes better-fertilized ground and plan on putting down some kind of compost/topsoil mix before seeding it, but will the tree simply put out more roots to pick up the extra nutrients, or will the mint be able to hold its own once it's established? Should I transfer in a few mint seedlings or direct-seed?

I prefer mint to any kind of grass, as it'll be prettier even when not kept short, will be useful (I drink a LOT of peppermint tea, so growing my own is something I wanted anyway), and it won't require lawn care chemicals. It's in a spot on the property where it'll be bounded by a sidewalk, our driveway, and the trees on our property line, which I hope will keep most of it contained if it does want to spread.

Opinions? Ideas? I don't want the hillside bare (its current condition, other than sparse grass) but I refuse to cultivate a useless grass crop on what might be useful space - our lot is too small to let the hillside go to waste!
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-17-2011, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
3,262 posts, read 4,142,914 times
Reputation: 2033
I made the mistake of growing spearmint in a bed with other perennials. It behaved for the first 2 years--the year I planted it, and the following year. But, in the spring of the 3rd year, it started to pop up all over the place. I didn't do anything to the soil, either.

I did manage to completely get rid of it, in the end. I've even thought about planting it in other areas. But I don't have any areas that are completely enclosed by hardscape. I'm interested to read what others, with more expertise than I, have to say, though.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-17-2011, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Rural Western TN
6,114 posts, read 9,058,571 times
Reputation: 7884
in terms of a fast growing spreading ground gover that will grow in pretty much ANY soil condition and most light you cant beat mint.
for what your looking to do, it definatly could fit the bill...youll want to trim it down regularly to keep it from getting leggy, and id also look into different kinds of mint to grow as well making it a mixed mint bed, chocolate, apple, pepper, spear will give you a veriety to work with, different shades and will ramble over the whole place.

be warned though, they will spread like crazy so wont nessicarily stop where the designated area stopps, so you may have alot of maintenence to keep it from gowing wild and taking over the entire area.

it will grow under the tree and can take shade but wont typically be as full/prolific in the shade so it may be a little sparcer directly under the densest parts of the trees canopy.

if you decide not to grow mint on the hill but would still like some mint plants they do VERY well potted or confined, we used to grow it in a herb garden back home and found the best way to grow the mint was to take an untreated/not sealed teracotta pot as big as you want your eventual plant, and burry that in the bed so the rim is about an inch above ground level...then plant the mint in the pot. terracotta breaths and is porus so no worries about waterlogging but contains the mints root system so it doesnt spread wild. it wors perfectly if you want to mix mint in perenial beds or with other less agressive herbs, ours was a full mixed herb garden and we found the burried terracotta worked perfectly for restricting some of the more agressive growers

we found in ground the terracotta pots would last 3-5yrs before eventually crumbling to nothing...at which point hoist root ball of the mint put new pot in and replant the mint...mint is incredibly tough!
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-18-2011, 09:58 AM
Status: "I'm ready for winter!!!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Beautiful Niagara Falls ON.
8,990 posts, read 4,773,710 times
Reputation: 7305
I had a huge bed of catmint. It's really beautiful, profuse blue flowers and it's one mint that doesn't get very tall. About 3 to 4 inches only so it doesn't get leggy. In my climate in niagara which is a little colder than yours it was pretty much evergreen. If I dug down through the snow it was still looking pretty good. There are other plants that might be a better solution for you though. A low growing cotoneaster is beautiful and will prevent any erosion. Perrywinkle is also nice and is evergreen.

I have covered very large areas with plants in as little as one year. I find a patch somewhere of the plant I want. The larger the better. I dig it up and separate it into individual pieces. Hundreds of them. I plant them maybe 4 inches apart depending on the type and by the next year I have solid ground cover.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-18-2011, 07:08 PM
 
21,867 posts, read 12,632,880 times
Reputation: 23397
I planted mint. Cat discovered it. He rolled in in. Dug it up. Ate it. Sprayed it. I don't know what it was with that cat and mint but I pulled it all out and put in dill. The dill he hated.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-18-2011, 08:41 PM
Status: "I'm ready for winter!!!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Beautiful Niagara Falls ON.
8,990 posts, read 4,773,710 times
Reputation: 7305
Quote:
Originally Posted by DewDropInn View Post
I planted mint. Cat discovered it. He rolled in in. Dug it up. Ate it. Sprayed it. I don't know what it was with that cat and mint but I pulled it all out and put in dill. The dill he hated.
My cats loved it too but I had a 20 ft by 30ft patch of it so it would have taken a whole herd of cats to bother it much. LOL
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-09-2011, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Perry South, Pittsburgh, PA
95 posts, read 93,365 times
Reputation: 84
Haha, by the time the hillside is covered in mint it'll be WAY too much for the local animals to kill all of it, although I'm sure our one cat who gets out a lot will enjoy it quite a bit.

I might try catmint or mixing varieties to make things interesting, and I will certainly have to sink something into the ground on one side to keep it contained, but I want edible plants only so other short groundcovers are out of the question for now (I'll try them if the mint doesn't work!). I'm not too worried about it spreading rampantly, though (I'm sure I'll change my tune when I see how fast it goes). I haven't seen mint yet that could stand up to being driven over, and since our driveway separates the hill from the rest of the yard/garden, it ought to keep the mint in check.

Thanks for your advice, everyone! The terracotta pot idea is a great one and I may try it in the herb bed this year!
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-09-2011, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Rural Western TN
6,114 posts, read 9,058,571 times
Reputation: 7884
chocolate is a nice veriety that doesnt seem to grow quite as fast as the pepper or spear mint, applemint is also realy nice (and soft/fuzzy :P) i do think growing a veriety would be a great choice simply because if your anythign like me youll absolutly enjoy using the different types for diffeent things. apple mint goes very well with veal and lamb, spear and peppermints make realy good drinks. chocolate mint is realy nice used as a tea as is catmint.
they also all have slightly different leaves, textures, colors and sizes too so it looks realy cool with them all growing together you could even mix it with some edible flowers

any of the viola (pansies) will do well in shade and the flowers are edible, as is sweet woodruff (wild babies breath, the flowers are also edible and its an evergreen. they tend to be smaller plants that will do well even i competition with the mint and both love shade.

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/RG302.pdf
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-03-2011, 06:05 PM
 
3,956 posts, read 5,603,621 times
Reputation: 2255
Over the years, we have had mint that went nuts and spread. Since it smells nice and when you mow it, you hardly know it is there, we leave it: there are ( at minimum) spearmint, peppermint, a lemon scented mint, chocolate mint and catmint. Grows fine in our rotten clay soil, fills in bare spots and makes the place smell lovely.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-13-2011, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Perry South, Pittsburgh, PA
95 posts, read 93,365 times
Reputation: 84
Thanks for the tips, everyone! I have one mint plant in the ground now; I did not have time to clear the whole hillside of grass and seed it directly, and my seeds inside never germinated so I went out and bought a plant. I'm on the hunt for pineapple mint, chocolate mint and apple mint to add to the hillside and I'll look into getting some edible flowers as well! So far the transplant is doing well and while we haven't mowed it yet I'm sure it will be fine (and smell great) when we do.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Garden

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top