I began the garden cleanup process on Sunday afternoon, starting with the easy stuff: the pots of dead basil. The plants came right up like good little soldiers, giving up their spot in the earth at the appropriate time.
Then I moved over to the pot of mint. Similarly, its leaves were brittle and brown, burned to a crisp by the hard freeze that moved through the area recently. The center of the plant had died away, exposing, once again, the root ball I exposed over the summer when I cut back the whole thing and let it restart its growth process.
I tried pulling on some of the stalks to see if the plant would come up as easily as the basil. No luck. Here and there, I managed to pull up a root or two, but the harder I pulled, the clearer it became that this was going to require the spade.
I pulled out the spade and began hacking away at the dirt. It was like chopping rock with a hairbrush, and about as effective.
Out came the shovel. I stuck it in the pot, pushed down on the top of the blade with my heel, and did nothing more than knock the pot off-balance.
I gave up and left my tools on the sidewalk while I worked on some other parts of the garden.
Later, when Steve came outside, I asked him if he’d help me work on the mint.
“What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s stupid,” I said. “It’s all overgrown and rootbound and tangled in there, and I need help getting it out.”
So we dumped it, and everything slid out in a solid chunk, the roots so woven through the dirt that it had created a giant minty plug of dirt.
Because it’s so invasive, it’s not like there was anything else to do but throw the whole thing away. I may give up on growing mint. I love the taste, but I’m not sure it’s worth the tangled mess.