The Veg Plot

Mint migration: herbs come in from the cold

Mint pot

Getting a bit nippy isn’t it? Autumn has introduced itself with a few cold mornings and damp days and the garden coat has been retrieved from the loft. If we’re noticing the colder temperatures on occasions, imagine what our more delicate flora friends are feeling, stuck outside overnight with only the occasional sprinkling of cat pee to keep warm.

Time to play a game of winter roulette with the potted plants.

Some I’ll leave out, knowing fully well they’re likely to perish – rather than a merciless act of killing I see this as treating them as annuals to be replaced next year.

Others will crowd the cold frame and mini greenhouse – their job is done for the year but they’ve got a fair chance of survival under some glass.

But a few select plants will receive a better level of care and attention, joining us in the house for the full comforts of log fire and central heating. Top of this list of lucky migrators is mint – because if I look after it properly now, I might just extend the growing season. And I’m not done with mojitos just yet.

It has been a bad year for my pots of mint. Most of them are looking tired and ragged and will be jettisoned in favour of some young upstarts next year, but there’s one straggly plant, not long rescued from garden center malnourishment that, although quite sparse on leaves, is a prime candidate for the kitchen windowsill. If it continues to flourish it’ll be first in the queue to replace the sorry specimens left outside.

To give my mint maximum chance of survival it  spent a few days in the cold frame getting used to a bit of extra warmth. It’s also getting a first look at a new type of pot all the way from Solvenia called ‘Urban Planty’.

This pot has a jute sleeve tucked into a plastic base containing a water reservoir. The shock of going indoors is likely to give my mint a massive thirst and, given my inability to remember to regularly water plants, this will undoubtedly increase its chances of survival. When it’s time to return the mint to the outdoor world it can take the biodegradable jute sleeve with it and a new one can be fixed to the reservoir.

Mint isn’t the only herb that can be brought in for winter to extend the picking season – others include chives, thyme, oregano and sage – but it’s the only one that will make a decent mojito.

Thanks to Urban Planty for sending us their pot. For a better look at at it visit

Urban Planty Jute Pot

1 Comment

  • I have several mints I use as a border between the road and my beds. They provide interest and thwart grasses. Some are local varieties, some are exotic imports, some are anybody’s guess; there are marjorams and hyssops and sages in there too. None of it will be coming indoors for the winter, however. There isn’t room. What limited space I have is reserved for tender plants. Herbaceous herbs, however desirable in booze drinks, will have to live their natural cycle. I’ve never found mint to be happy in pots anyway. It does take a lot of looking after, as you’ve noticed. Left to its own devices, in an area where its invasive tendencies are welcomed, it’s a delight – and one I shall look forward to in spring. Meanwhile, I may cram as many leaves as I can into a bottle of cheap white rum. See how that gets on. I have to be more careful though. Last time I did this some grass got in there too and the resulting brew turned a little ‘agricultural’.

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