Mintybags: Planting a herbal vertical garden

Tear, crunch, rend…the poor mint!
Filling the planters takes an age

There is no mistaking the slightly sickening feeling of roots being ripped apart or severed under your trowel. It feels (and sounds) like lots of tiny wires snapping under high tension and the lurch of the tummy that goes with it when you hear and feel that crunch is, I shouldn’t wonder, similar to the one the surgeon feels the first time he has cause to think “Ah, so that’s what an artery feels like”. I hate separating root balls, I always feel like I’m shredding the plant. But to plant up my herbal green wall with an abundance of mint, I had to tear the six small pots of RHS Moroccan Mint into multiple small plugs to pack into the sides of my green wall bags. I have six of these that I want to use to ensure that not an inch of garden goes unused and one of the things I use enormous amounts of is mint, so I wanted to dedicate one to this fragrant leaf. The plugs still look sad and puny but as with my hanging herb baskets and bags, I’m going to work on the assumption that mint spreads at a rate of knots and soon I’ll have a marvellous wall of mint trailing (presumably despite the herb’s protests) down towards my reading nook on the garden sofa. 

Precariously balanced bags during a hula-hooping break

This was a project I was really keen to do with GarlicBoy because I assumed that at two years old he’d want to scoop soil into the vertical wall planters, and to gleefully rip up and then shove in the plants. And he did, to an extent, but these planters are large and take a surprisingly large amount of soil (which takes time to transfer and is both boring and time-consuming after a while). and so he wandered off to play with his hoops about halfway through. Still, we had fun tearing up a couple of leaves and smelling and tasting them (“like toothpaste!”) and I’m looking forward to making sun tea for him later on in the year. Personally I still feel guilty about how I tore and ripped at the mint and stuffed those lovely long roots into puny little holes in the bag. This is one time where I desperately hope that a spreading plant can hold on! I’ve now got a small mountain of planters waiting to be hung on the walls and lounging about in the sun on the bed I intend to use for my pumpkin. I’m running out of sunny storage space!

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We farm a three acre smallholding in Hampshire, England, having fled London in pursuit of the good life for our little family. We mess about with an assorted menagerie and try to be as self-sufficient as possible in meat and fruit and vegetables whilst enjoying our plot and an outdoors lifestyle with our son. I am the luckiest person that I know.

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