20 Sep From the Farm: Planting Peppermint
Have you ever wondered how your peppermint oil becomes peppermint oil? In this post and accompanying video, we talk about planting peppermint roots, which is the first step in producing high-quality peppermint oil. It’s a time-consuming process but steps and preparations learned over generations create a path to success.
The first thing to do is get the soil leveled out and ready for the roots. This process involves disking up the area where the mint will be planted.
Once the field is ready it’s on to planting the roots in the ground. The type of peppermint roots we use is known as “Black Mitchum” (also spelled “Black Mitcham”). This variety has a proven track record of resisting different fungi and bugs that have been known to attack peppermint plants. While having great natural defenses this strand has also produced high-quality peppermint oil for years.
Now that we have our roots, we load them into the planter. Planters are generally created with 32″ rows, meaning the mint roots will be planted 32″ apart. Over the years we’ve learned how the mint grows and fills in, because of this we built a custom planter that uses 20″ rows instead of the common 32″. The main reason for this was to help with weed control.
In the picture below you can see the wheels which follow behind the row where the mint roots fall. The separation between the wheels and the rows created in front of them is 20″.
The 20″ rows act as a natural weed stopper. As the mint plant begins to grow, it not only grows tall but also spreads out horizontally on the ground. This way the mint plants are able to create a canopy, in turn, starving weeds of sunlight to grow.
As the planter goes along a crease is cut in the soil while the roots are pulled from the bin and sorted into different columns. The roots are then dropped into the crease and covered by soil. Now they’re planted and it’s time for them to grow.
Watch the Video to See this Process in Action
If you’d like to see this process make sure to check out the video below where Scott Kempley walks us through the process as the field is prepared and the planting of the peppermint takes place.