Harvesting Fresh Mint
When, How & How much to cut

Your mint is growing like wildfire. It's standing tall in your garden or planter just begging to become a cuppa mint tea.

Fresh mint in the gardenThis Garden Mint Is Ready For Harvesting

When, how, and how often should you harvest your fresh mint? Read on to find out.

(Note: If you haven't read these herb harvesting tips yet, you might want to do that first.)

When to Begin Harvesting Your Mint

There's only one harvesting "rule of thumb" that I religiously follow with my mint:

Give new mint plants a chance to firmly root themselves in the ground or planter before you start hacking away at them.  (Oops, I meant to say before harvesting them.)

berries and cream mint plantYoung "Berries & Mint" Plant
Not Quite Ready For Prime Time

In warm and sunny conditions, a small, nursery grown mint plant will develop a strong root system and start putting out flavorful leaves within 4 to 6 weeks after planting.

How to Harvest Your Mint

Harvesting mint is as easy as falling off a log! Grab a basket, your shears, and get ready to snip.

When you've chosen a "volunteer", reach down and cut the stem about 2" (5 cm) above ground level - just above the junction where a set of leaves emerges from the stem. 

For the best herbal tea, try to select stems with nice, full leaves and no brown spots or bug damage.

showing where to cut fresh mint sprigsCut Slightly Above a Set of Leaves to Encourage New Growth

In a hurry? If you're going to harvest a lot of mint, it's okay to grab a handful of stems and chop them all off in one whack.

I do that with my garden mint every few weeks, all summer long -  and I haven't succeeded in killing the darn stuff yet ;-)  

How Much Mint To Pick

During the active growing season, it's best to take no more than 1/2 to 2/3 of the new growth each time you harvest.

As the days grow shorter, it's time to harvest and store as much mint as you can for the winter months to come. For your final harvest of the season, it's okay to cut your mint back to within 1 - 2 inches (2.5 - 5 cm) of ground level.  

handy items for harvesting mint ...

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