Mint as a Companion Plant

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Inter Planting Mint in Vegetable and Herb Gardens

Mint is a highly aromatic perennial herb that will spread rampantly if left unchecked. It's aromatic qualities derived from its pungent essential oils make it a good companion plant for some crops and not so good for others. Its invasive properties should also be taken into consideration when growing along with other plants in your garden.

There are multiple varieties of mint. They have similar characteristics but not identical. Some varieties of mint, such as cat mint [Catnip] will protect against flea beetles and many other insects, but not against the local feline population. Perhaps it is its ability to attract cats that has ingrained an evolved dislike of it by rodents such as mice, moles and even squirrels to a certain extent, unless there is something else attracting them they tend to steer clear of catnip. Rabbits however seem to have a fondness of sweet varieties of mint

Other varieties of mint have been demonstrated to be repulsive to rodents as well, but none as strongly as cat mint.

So far as insects are concerned, most are not necessarilly repelled by it, but it masks the smell of nearby crops making it more difficult for them to locate their target crops. In some instances with some species it has been demonstrated to disrupt their normal cycles having the effect of reducing their threat to garden crops. [1]

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening Paperback. January 2, 1998

'Spearmint and other mints repel ants and may help control aphids on nearby vegetation ' [2]

Grown with grain crops, or in rotation with grain crops, which includes corn mint has been demonstrated to substantially enhance the yield of the grain crop ,up to 45% improved yield [3]


Root crops such as Potatoes and Beets benefit from mint mulch, but there is no reliable indication that they derive any benefit from being grown with it. Carrots benefit from the mints repulsion of carrot root fly. Onions and mint intercropped has proven beneficial to both. [4]

Agrarian Folklore states that mint is a good companion plant for beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, peppers, squash and tomatoes.In some instances it improves their vitality and flavor, in others it protects against pests.

Brassica / Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale [as per lore] are said to perform better when planted with mint.

It does not go well with most other aromatic herbs, and do not mix different varieties of mint together as they will cross breed generally producing undesirable results.




Footnotes

1. "It was shown more recently, however, that even highly aromatic companion plants, such as ... mint (Mentha piperita L.), used frequently by organic growers to protect their valued crop, were not 'repellent' ... Instead, they produced their effects by disrupting the normal 'chain' of behaviours" - The influence of host and non-host companion plants on the behaviour of pest insects in field crops

2. Companion Plants and How to Use Them by Helen Philbrick , Richard B. Gregg, Herbert H. Koepf.

3. High economic returns from companion and relay cropping of bread wheat and menthol mint

4. Inter-cropping of onion in menthol mint for higher profit under subtropical conditions of north Indian plains.