10 Tips For A Successful Tea Garden
Legend has it that the first cup of tea was accidentally made in China at around 2732 B.C. when the wind blew the leaves of a then-unknown tree into a pot of boiling water. The scent of the resulting brew wafted into air and enticed the Emperor. He promptly took a sip of the beverage and found it to be intriguing.
Today, you don’t have to wait for the wind to blow just to have a dreamy cup of tea. It is sold all over the world in bags and as loose-leaf. You can also find countless herbal, floral, and spice blends that cater to every taste bud out there.
But while you can easily get packets of tea infusions at the store, there’s still nothing more satisfying than knowing you can easily step into your own garden, handpick your own herbs, and brew the perfect cup of tea.
Today, we’ll be talking about the ten things you need to know in order to successfully grow a tea garden. So get the kettle boiling and let’s get started!
Your garden has to have the right conditions in order to be conducive to growing teas, herbs, and spices. Most herbal tea plants thrive in sunny locations and in well-drained soil. If the soil in your garden is poorly drained, don’t fret. You can always use a raised bed. Just make sure that the soil is loose enough and that there’s no grass or weeds in the area.
Many perennial herbs make some of the most delicious cups of tea out there. So if you’re already growing a nice herb garden that you use to add flavor and depth to your recipes, then you’re already on the right track.
Herbs like mint varieties and cultivars, lemon balm, lemon grass, holy basil, cilantro, sage, rosemary, and parsley are popular herbal tea options that you can easily raise in your own home. Of course you can also opt for the traditional Camellia Sinensis from your local nursery and transplant it in your own tea garden.
Flowering plants also make for excellent blends that give every cup you brew a lovely floral note. Edible varieties of hibiscus lend a bright color and a fruity and tart flavor to cups of tea. Meanwhile, chamomile and lavender soothe and calm your nerves, and jasmine offers a sweet and warm note to your cup of tea. It If you’re looking for a natural sweetener, try planning stevia in your garden, too.
Ginger also makes for a great addition in a tea garden and in a pot of tea. Its spicy notes add a vibrancy and warmth to brewed beverages.
A garden plan is crucial especially if you’re going to grow different kinds of herbs in your garden for tea. Remember that each herb has different needs in terms of space, sunlight, watering, and nutrients. When planting herbs together, group those with similar needs and habits.
Some herbs like mint tend to be aggressive and they can take over your garden patch faster than you can boil a kettle of water. To prevent this from happening, try planting them in separate pots to contain their growth.
If you’re low on space but still want to grow a great tea garden, you can also use containers to grow different herbs. Just be sure to use well-balanced soil, water them regularly, and place them in an area that gets a lot of sunlight.
If you’ll be making tea from freshly picked herbs and flowers, you’d want to keep your garden as close to your kitchen as possible. This way, you can put on a kettle to boil, step out and gather the leaves and flowers you want, and by the time you get back, you can start steeping your way to deliciousness.
Once your herbs are mature, you can start harvesting them. To ensure maximum flavor pay-off, clip leaves or flowers in the morning before the sun gets too hot. This ensures that the natural oils present in the leaves are intact and are sealed in.
While you can definitely make tea out of fresh herbs and flowers, most of these plants are perennials so to make the most out of them, you can harvest them in bunches and hang them up to air dry naturally. Once dried, you can pick leaves or flowers off the stems and store them in air tight containers away from direct sunlight.
If you’re in a bit of a hurry or if you don’t want to wait too long, you can pop herbs in the microwave. Rinse the herbs thoroughly and pat away any excess water. Arrange 4 to 5 branches of herbs in between two paper towels and microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes until they are crisp and thoroughly dry. Place the herbs on a cooling rack and then store in an airtight container.
When all is said and done, the only thing left to do is to enjoy your homegrown herbal teas. Don’t be afraid to combine herbs to make your own infusions. Why not try hibiscus and dried apples or lavender and citrus peels for your next cup of tea?
Growing your own tea lets you have the best quality brew every single time you need a little pick-me-up. I hope these tips help you plant a successful tea garden right in your own home.
Do you have a favorite herbal tea blend? Share your recipes in the comments below and I’ll see you next time!
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