If you live in a snowy climate, winterizing mint plants can be a vital part of your herb gardening routine. Properly cared for, herb garden favorites such as mint will remain healthy and plentiful for years. Sure, it is great to move all of the herbs indoors, but what about the large mint plants? What if there isn't enough space indoors for the plants? The answers lies in learning how to properly winterize mint in the garden.
Winterizing is an easy technique that protects the mint plants right in the soil, and allows your herb garden to come back full force in the spring. By properly watering, cutting, and mulching, mint can weather the cold temperatures and arctic blasts dished out during the winter months.
The first step in winterizing mint is keeping it well watered throughout the summer and autumn months. Watering the herb will keep it from suffering drought conditions over the winter. During warmer winter days, and days that don't threaten plants with a severe freeze, you can water mint to keep the roots moist. The key to this is avoiding wet soil, as that can have a negative impact on the mint's hardiness. Aim for well drained soil that has moisture, but is not soaked.
The second step in winterizing mint is trimming it back quite a bit. This step should not be done in late summer or very late autumn. Instead, try to prune mint back in mid-autumn, October or November works well, depending on your climate. Cut back the mint until you are left with a small plant, a few inches tall at most. It is also a good idea to remove the mint leaves prior to covering the garden bed. During this step, some people choose to add a little compost or fertilizer to the soil in order to provide a nutrient boost to the herb garden for the cold months.
The third, and final step in winterizing mint is mulching. First, mix a bit of the mulch directly into the soil to improve soil drainage and aeration. Next, add 2"-3" of mulch directly on top of the soil, making sure that the mint plants are protected and covered.
As spring draws near, and temperatures warm again, head out the the herb garden, and scrape a little mulch away from the mint plants. When you start to see new growth, remove the mulch, and get ready for a whole new crop of delicious mint.