I am looking to grow mint in pots near a young child's swing set. I chose mint because it is my understanding that mint has a high resistance to deer and it deters mosquitoes, wasps, bees and other pesky flying insects. Also, mint is used for face washes, bug sprays, and eating, so I figured that it would be safe to the touch and taste (in case a child touches the mint and then puts fingers in mouth, or my dog gets some in his mouth). I then read that peppermint deters mice (my large property backs a huge field), and attracts butterflies. So I was set on growing mint, and peppermint in particular, until I read that peppermint is unsafe for infants, toddlers and possibly pregnant women. Apparently any amount of peppermint used on the hands or face of an infant or toddler can cause breathing spasms that may result in death. Clearly, peppermint is NOT the ideal plant for growing around a swing set! I am trying to find another mint variety that is safe around infants, toddlers, pregnant women and dogs, but I am unable to find this answer. Are there mint varieties that can be grown in central NJ, accomplish my goals of deterrence, and are safe for infants, young children, pregnant women, and dogs?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Scented Geraniums would also provide some pest control, smell wonderful and it is not toxic to people.
Here are some articles with more information.