Bible Gardening with Mint
Jesus was familiar with mint and spoke of tithing with mint in Matthew 23:23 and in Luke 11:42. Mint is easy to grow and may even become invasive in your garden. Once you plant spearmint or peppermint, you will find that it not only thrives, but also spreads by underground stems--sometimes more than you would want.
Mint can be grown from seeds, cuttings, or plants purchased from a nursery. Although mint prefers moist soil and partial shade, with a half day of sun, it is hardy enough to grow in dry, hot garden spots. However, to produce a healthy plant with lots of tender new leaves, give it the water and partial shade that it prefers.
Under ideal conditions, mint will spread to new areas in your garden and even into your lawn and areas where you don't want it to grow. Therefore, if you don't want to be surprised by new mint plants springing up, plant it in pots. One way to keep mint where you want it is to install plant borders that are 14 inches deep. A positive aspect of mint's spreading: if you step on the plants, you will smell the clean, refreshing scent of mint.
Mentha longifolia, or horsemint, is the most common mint found growing wild along streams and rivers in the Holy Land. In Bible times, mint was cultivated in gardens and prized for its medicinal uses and its flavoring for foods and tea.
Today's gardeners have hundreds of mint species to consider. A favorite peppermint in modern gardens is Mentha piperita, which grows to 3 feet tall; its leaves are perfect for tea. Take ten fresh, tender new leaves, pour a cup of boiling water over them, and steep for 3 to 5 minutes, for a lovely cup of mint tea.
Mentha spicata, or spearmint, reaches 1 to 2 feet tall and is an ideal accompaniment for lamb and can be used in fruit salads, cold drinks, and mint jellies. Many Middle Eastern recipes use spearmint in pilafs and tabboulehs.
Other popular mints are Mentha piperita chocolate, or chocolate peppermint, which is a full-bodied mint that complements coffee and desserts, and Mentha suavelens, or pineapple mint, which has a delicious scent.
When you plant mint in your garden or enjoy of cup of mint tea, remember Jesus walked among mint in the Holy Land and mentioned it in Matthew and in Luke.
This Bible plant is so easy to grow I recommend it for every garden.