I Swear It’s Only Mint by Erin Farwell

IMG_3021_1Each spring I get in touch with my inner farm girl that manifests in the desire to grow crops in the warm, fertile soil. My efforts are hampered by a yard that has almost full shade, little knowledge of what I am doing, and a thumb that is more brown than green. These facts don’t stop me from sallying forth to the garden center to purchase plants that will either be eaten by deer and squirrels or wither and die.

Last year I changed my process and met with success. I grew several varieties of mint (peppermint, chocolate mint, orange mint, spearmint, etc.) along with lemon balm, catnip and basil. I purchased a food dehydrator and herb grinder and made fresh-grown teas.

Some teas better than others and I will never grow pineapple mint again. While some teas tasted great others were so-so and generally weaker than I wanted no matter how much mint I used. I wondered if part of the issue was how I dried the herbs. Maybe the food dehydrator was too harsh.

I went on-line to research the issue and found that mine was a common plight. The overwhelming consensus was to chuck the dehydrator and use a hanging drying rack. 8494-advanced-nutrients-quick-cure-drying-rack-miniThe one most often recommended, highest rated, and best priced on Amazon was the Advanced Nutrients Mini Quick Cure Hanging Drying Rack.

I placed my order.

When it arrived I confess to being disappointed. At only 9 inches in diameter and 6 inches deep, I thought it would be too small for my needs and regretted only getting one with 4 tiers. Then I opened it. The tiers sprang from the package, snapping into neat mesh racks that were 24 inches in diameter. When hooked together it’s over 4 feet high. I know understood the Amazon reviewer who said she loved it but didn’t think she could get it back into the package.


Instead of worrying about the drying rack being too small, now I had to figure out where to hang it. I also needed instructions. Assembly was easy and obvious but I wanted to know if I needed to trim the leaves off of the plants before placing them on the mesh or leave them whole? How long will it take for the leaves to dry? I looked around the kitchen, thinking perhaps the direction had been flung into a corner during the rack’s explosion from the packaging but I couldn’t find anything.

So I went on line.

There I learned many, many things. Of great significance is that this dryer is the most recommended by and for marijuana growers and I was directed to several videos and websites that explained why. I went back to the Amazon reviews and found while the majority of the buyers had used it for drying peppers and basil, there were several people who put the word herbs in quotation marks and one person said how great this was for keeping different strains separate while drying.teacup

When I was in law school someone accused me of being stupidly good as a child. Here is a perfect example of the consequences of that upbringing. I didn’t have a clue… Thank goodness I didn’t purchase the hydroponic growing kit that was offered as a partner product or I might have been placed on a government watch list.

But I swear, officer, it’s only tea.

You can learn more about me at:



Farwell-Shadowlands-Final Cover.inddAHE New Cover


19 thoughts on “I Swear It’s Only Mint by Erin Farwell

  1. Erin, I laughed and shook my head in agreement from the beginning of your blog to the end. I even read it out loud to my hubby and we both- “LOL”. This is all so totally me. Great blog. I needed that laugh this morning, and I may be contacting you on advice about growing “product”-Smile. Cher’ley


  2. Erin,
    I relate to your plight.Although being in Colorado I understood the ‘herb’ reference, the only thing I can grow semi-successfully is those plants that require no care. Doesn’t mean I don’t try…but.

    Good luck. Think I’ll try the tea route next year. Doris


  3. Funny! They could be growing “herbs” for medicinal purposes. In my state, that’s legal now. I don’t know if you have to do anything special to qualify as a legal grower or not, never having looked into it. All those mints sound yummy! And, yeah, I’ve heard it can take over.


  4. Loved your blog and enjoyed the laugh it gave me. Plus I learned something! As for a government watch list…look out for drones! Ha. You have inspired me, now if I can follow through on the inspiration. Great blog. Guess I’ll go have some tea.


  5. I’ve never thought about drying out the couple of types of mint that grow in my garden, Erin. After this great post I might have a go, since I like mint tea. The leaves i grow tend to be used for salads, boiled potatoes and some Mediterannean recipes that i use.


  6. Loved it! I have a brown thumb too, but every year I try growing flowers. I must have been successful last year because several perrinnials I planted actually returned this spring, bigger and prettier than last year! I love working in the yard even though most of the time I have no clue what I’m doing. It’s relaxing but I’ve made a couple of huge mistakes. I’ll write about them in a post. I loved the humor – how many of us have done something like buying an item that was actually used for something else? I really enjoyed this one!


  7. Erin, your post is delightful! I laughed and SO RELATED (no growing vibes radiate from me!!) except for some herbs, like tarragon and mint. Montana is a state you might want to try your drying rack in as well! LOL Thanks for the chuckle today!!


  8. Erin, my hat is off to you. Growing your own tea! Never thought about doing that. As for having a brown thumb, oh yeah, there’s lots of us brown thumbers out there. I have a small flower garden (I, too, have mostly shade) using hosta and other shade plants. Some plants do fine, others don’t. Advice given to me by my friend and master gardener. “If it a plant doesn’t work for you, yank it out and try another. Great and informative post.


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