We all know that having a sip of green tea every day keeps us healthy. Green tea bags are very expensive when bought in stores. It gave me the idea of growing my tea plant so that I can make green tea whenever I need with little expense.
Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet. It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. Drinking green tea results in improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits.
Green tea is made from Camellia Sinensis plant leaves which are also used for making ordinary tea and black tea. For making green tea the leaves are directly used but for other teas, the leaves are processed by oxidation and withering.
How to grow Tea plant
Camellia Sinensis has two subspecies which are Camellia Sinensis Sinensis (bought from China) and Camellia Sinensis Assamica (grows is Assam, India). The first one has smaller leaves and grows in cold places, and the Assamica variety is a taller plant and thrives in moist, low elevation, tropical locations.
You can grow your tea plant from seeds or a cutting taken from an existing plant. You may also buy it at a local nursery. If you are growing from seed, germination will take about four weeks. Cover the seeds lightly with soil and keep it damp and warm.
The Tea plant will grow in a sunny to partly shaded locations. If you want to increase the height, you should move it to a sheltered location to protect the roots from freezing during winter. You can prune it, or you can let it grow naturally into a large shrub.
Soil should be slightly acidic. If you are growing your plant in a pot, fertilise it a couple of times in the summer. The small white flowers that appear in winter can be dried and added to the leaves to enhance the flavour of the tea.
If planting more than one tea plant, put the plants at least three feet apart. Prune them back about every four years to keep the plants productive and to keep them from getting too big and too tall.
How to make tea from tea plant
For making green tea, harvest the top two leaves and leaf bud on the new spring growth. Heat the leaves immediately before they have a chance to oxidise. To heat the leaves, steam them for 1 to 2 minutes and then immediately run cold tap water over them to stop the heating process and to retain the green colour.
Now roll the leaves, which will be soft and flexible, with your hands. Immediately after all the leaves are rolled, spread them on a plate and place them in an oven preheated to 230 degrees F for 10 minutes, turn them after five minutes to ensure even drying.
The heating process is finished when the leaves are entirely dry and crispy. You can store the dried leaves in an airtight container. To brew the tea, put six leaves in a cup of hot water and cover it with a lid and let the tea steep for three minutes. Now strain the leaves and enjoy your tea.
If you have grown a tea plant once in your garden, you can enjoy your green tea for the next 50 years.
So readers, start building your tea plant to reduce the expense of buying green tea and to enjoy its wonderful benefits.
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What can cool you down on a hot summer day, pair with cakes at a fancy brunch, and soothe a sore throat on a frosty winter night? It’s the second most consumed beverage in the world, tea.
From its roots in China over 4,000 years ago, tea made its way across Asia and Europe and into the homes and hearts of people around the world. Along with its widespread popularity have come endless ways of preparing tea.
One of the most popular ways Americans serve hot tea is brewed it with herbs, such as lavender and mint. Some people forgo the tea altogether and brew the herbs on their own, making herbal infusions known as tisanes. No matter how you make it, tea is a delightful addition to most any meal.
Growing a garden of tea and herbs can allow you to enjoy your own blends, as well as the beautiful flowers and aromas of fresh herbs. Here, we’ll teach you how to plant, harvest, prepare, and brew some of the more popular tisanes and teas.
- Lemon Balm
- Stevia – A Tea Sweetener You Can Grow Too!
- Camellia sinensis
- White Tea
- Green Tea
- Oolong Tea
- Black Tea
- Before you toss another tea bag, must check out these Tea Bag Uses! You’ll find out tea bags are not just for brewing tea.
- 1. Composting
- 2. Repel Pests
- 3. Plant Food
- 4. Feed your Acid-Loving Houseplants
- 5. Speed up Composting
- 6. Natural Fertilizer for Potted Plants
- 7. Give Roses a Boost
- Composting Tea Bags: Can I Put Tea Bags In The Garden?
- Can I Put Tea Bags in the Garden?
- How to Use Tea Bags as Fertilizer
- You’ll never throw out your used tea bags again!
Chamomile is known for its calming effects, but the small, daisy-like flower can also increase appetite and relieve indigestion. The two most popular varieties of chamomile are German and Roman. German chamomile is more suited to small gardens or planters, while Roman chamomile makes a good ground cover.
Sow chamomile seeds indoors or in the garden. Chamomile grows easily when allowed to shed mature seeds. Plants do best in fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny spot. While chamomile will grow most places, it will not tolerate temperatures over 98 degrees for very long.
Harvest branches when they have several open flowers, and hang to dry in bunches. Once the stems have dried, remove the blooms and store in an airtight container. To brew, steep two teaspoons of dried flowers in one cup of boiling water for five to 10 minutes.
Mint is a hardy plant that is fairly easy to care for. It will grow in average soil and partial to full sun. Start seeds indoors and place outside after last frost, or place fresh stem-tip cuttings in moist soil to root. Mint will spread, so plant it near a barrier, such as a sidewalk, or grow it in a container.
Pick leaves often to promote growth and keep the plant bushy. While mint can be dried, it tastes as good fresh. Harvest fresh leaves, tear them up slightly, and steep in boiling water for three to seven minutes, depending on your preference. Learn more about how to grow mint and the health benefits of mint tea.
People have valued lemon balm for its calming properties for centuries. It can also help relieve headaches and lower blood pressure. Lemon balm can be grown from a root clump and is best transferred from early spring to early summer. Start seedlings safely indoors late in the winter, and set them out in spring.
While lemon balm grows easily in most places, it tends to spread. To prevent spread, grow this herb in a pot, or cut back flowering stems in late summer. Lemon balm grows best in rich, well-drained soil and full sun. Its leaves are best when harvested just as flowers are beginning to bloom. For tea, steep a few fresh leaves in boiling water for two to five minutes.
Lavender produces beautiful purple flowers that not only smell and taste wonderful, but also help ease headaches and prevent fainting and dizziness. Lavender prefers very well-drained, almost sandy, soil and sunny, open areas. It can grow in pots or planters, but will grow taller and have better air circulation in a garden, which will help deter fungus.
Plant seeds in late summer or early autumn, or split and plant existing clumps in autumn. Harvest stalks of lavender just as flowers bloom, and dry in small bundles before storing in an airtight container. To brew, steep four teaspoons of dried flowers in boiling water for two to five minutes. Learn more about growing lavender.
Echinacea has antiviral and antibacterial properties, which make it great for helping to combat colds and sore throats. The whole echinacea plant, from its purple coneflowers to its roots, can be used in tinctures and teas. Start with a plant from a nursery, or sow seeds indoors in late winter. Echinacea will not bloom reliably until its second year, but it is hardy and can withstand cold winters. It prefers full sun in cold climates and partial shade in areas with hot summers. Echinacea grows best in rich soil with a neutral pH.
Roots can be washed, cut into small pieces, and dried. Stems should be cut above the bottom set of leaves and hung upside down to dry. To brew echinacea tea, steep one tablespoon of dried root or dried stems and flowers in one cup of boiling water for three minutes.
Hibiscus tea has a very tangy flavor and a rich red color. Like with several other herbal teas, when you brew hibiscus you are actually brewing the flower. Studies show that it can measurably lower blood pressure. It is also frequently used for stomach upset, cramps, fever and sore throat. It’s rich in vitamin C so it can help to boost your body’s immune system.
To learn more about the benefits of Hibiscus tea read this post or this article at Web MD, or our post about how to grow hibiscus.
Stevia – A Tea Sweetener You Can Grow Too!
Stevia is a popular alternative to refined sugar and other sweeteners, and makes a delicious addition to tea. It grows well in average, well-drained soil and partial afternoon shade to full sun. Stevia seeds are hesitant to sprout, so start with a purchased plant. Pinch back often to promote bushiness and delay flowering. Gather sprigs and brew fresh in boiling water to your strength preference. Gather stems to dry before plants bloom in midsummer.
The tea plant, or Camellia sinensis, is the plant from which tea is made. Tea leaves contain caffeine, and the leaves can be processed in different ways to produce different kinds of teas. Any brewed tea including Camellia sinensis is a proper tea, while those without Camellia sinensis—usually made from mixtures of herbs and flowers—are tisanes.
This plant prefers hardiness zones seven through nine and rich, moist environments with a lot of rainfall. Gardens located in moderate zones will be able to grow tea plants outdoors, while those in colder environments might consider keeping their tea plants in greenhouses, or pots for easy movement to insulated spaces come winter.
Despite its variety, all tea comes from the same plant. Whether it’s white, green, oolong, black, or something more intense, such as pu-erh tea, all of it is made of the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Perhaps even more surprising is that variances in flavor are generally not attributed to the way the plant is raised, not to the part of the plant used in tea-making (almost all tea is made using the leaves), but in how the leaves are processed on their journey between stem and cup. A less common type of tea, twig tea, is made using the woody parts (think stems and branches) of the tea plant as opposed to the leaves.
While many people drink tea for its complex, intriguing bouquet of flavors or the antioxidants, others sip tea for its pick-me-up caffeine boost. If you’re looking for some extra mental energy, then aim for darker teas. It is the processing that causes teas to oxidize and become caffeinated.
Here are some of the processes you’ll need to know when harvesting from your tea plants.
Collecting: Use gardening shears or sharp scissors to snip freshly grown leaves from the ends of your tea plant.
Withering: This is the process of allowing the leaves to air-dry. Usually leaves are withered in a thin layer on a flat tray.
Rolling: using your hand or a cloth, roll the leaves so they’re wrinkled. Rolling cracks the cell walls of the leaves and allows the flavors and antioxidants to escape into your brew.
Drying: While tea can be served after it has been rolled, it is often more economic to spend your time producing enough tea for several brews. To store your tea for later use, you’ll want to dry it. You can dry your tea by spreading it out in a thin layer to air dry, then lay it out in the sun—or you can bake it under low heat until the moisture is gone from the leaves.
If you want to add some caffeinated kick to your brews, you’ll need to use some Camellia sinensis in your recipe. When harvesting from your tea plant, fresh, tender leaves are best for brewing. Depending on how processed the leaves are, various types of tea can be brewed.
White tea has generally undergone minimal processing between harvest and consumption. To prepare white tea leaves, snip freshly grown leaves from the end of your tea plant’s branches, then let them air out away from the sun for a couple of days. Be sure to allow plenty of space and not pile them up so the moisture can evaporate and not grow mold.
When people think of hot tea, a freshly brewed cup of green tea often comes to mind. Green tea is very convenient because it can be consumed the same day it is harvested. To prepare green tea,snip fresh leaves from your tea plant and again let them air dry for a while—approximately seven hours. At this point, heat the leaves briefly in a frying pan, then roll the leaves. Your tea is now ready to steep and brew.!
For oolong tea, the leaves must first undergo wilting for a couple days. To allow for oxidation, the leaves must then be shaken several times in a span of about 30 minutes between each shaking. After this process, the leaves are ready to be rolled.
Black tea requires trial and error. Depending on your tea plant and your environment, the leaves may need a longer or shorter wilting period after harvest. While rolling leaves for black tea, more pressure is necessary than for other types of tea. You will know your leaves have been sufficiently rolled when juice starts to come out of the leaves.
The last step before serving or storing is to allow the leaves to rest in a warm place until they change color to that rich, warm red-brown black tea leaves boast. Again, depending on your tea plant and the environment you’re working in, the time it takes can vary drastically, sometimes as little as a few hours are necessary, and sometimes half a day. It will require trial and error and a watchful eye for you to learn what the exact process is to produce your best cup of tea.
Whichever type of tea or tisane you prefer, you’re bound to find the process of growing and harvesting your own cup rewarding. Use this guide to help you in selecting the types best for your taste and your environment. Then relax with a cup of freshly prepared tea you can trace every step of the way from leaf to brew.
Visit these sites to find even more information about growing your own tea garden:
Complete Guide to Herbal Teas at Gardening Channel;
How to Grow and Use Mint at Gardening Channel;
Growing Camellia at the American Camellia Society; Camellia Forest Nursery;
Farmers’ Almanac; Plant a Tea Garden at Farmers’ Almanac; Herbal Teas as Medicine at Farmers’ Almanac; Golender, Leonid;
How to Grow Chamomile at GrowVeg; How to Grow Mint at GrowVeg; How to Grow Echinacea at GrowVeg; How to Grow Lavender GrowVeg; How to Grow Stevia at GrowVeg;
Growing Your Own Tea at YouTube
Interagency Taxonomic Information System; Livestrong; School of Tea; The Tea Spot; TheKitchn.com
Megan Smith Mauk grew up in Texas, where she developed a reverence for all forms of life. In college, she became co-chair of the environmental coalition. She now lives with her husband, and their dog and cat, in Virginia.
Kelly Jacobi is an artist, designer, student, and patio gardener who enjoys seeing her plants
thrive and adorning her walls with pieces of art created by local artists and artisans. She is currently
in pursuit of a bachelor’s of art and performance and hopes to delve deeper into her art and writing
upon completion of her degree.
Before you toss another tea bag, must check out these Tea Bag Uses! You’ll find out tea bags are not just for brewing tea.
Tea leaves contain around 4.15 percent nitrogen and other nutrition that nourish the soil. Tea leaves also improve soil structure and increase the drainage. Also, the tannic acid in tea leaves can mildly change and lower your soil pH, just like used coffee grounds.
Also Read: Used Coffee Ground Uses In Garden
Probably the most straightforward use of used tea bags. Tea bags are great to add to compost because they add nitrogen to the compost and also attract good bacterias. But before you toss your used tea bags into the compost pile, make sure they are not made up of plastic. If they are of plastic, slit open the bag and use tea leaves for composting.
2. Repel Pests
If you are looking for an organic way to repel pests, your used tea bags can help you. Simply brew a weak tea with old bags and use it to water your plants and also sprinkle on leaves. It is really a great organic way to deter pests and fungal diseases and also provide plants some nutritions in doing so.
3. Plant Food
Make your plants lush and happy with used tea leaves. Just tear open some tea bags and disperse the contents around the plants. Tea leaves will nourish your plants every time you water by increasing nitrogen levels, improving soil structure and giving earthworms something delicious to eat.
4. Feed your Acid-Loving Houseplants
Ferns and many other houseplants prefer acidic soil. Fertilize your acid-loving houseplants with used tea bags. Open up the tea bags and work used tea leaves into the soil in their pots. It will slightly lower the pH level and also provide your plants with some nutrition and minerals.
5. Speed up Composting
Brew a strong tea with used tea bags and after it had cooled down, pour the liquid and tea bags over your compost heap. It will speed up the composting process as tea leaves contain nitrogen and also make your compost acid rich slightly.
6. Natural Fertilizer for Potted Plants
Just brew a weak tea with used tea bags and substitute water with it. Brewed tea leaves make a fabulous liquid fertilizer as they contain high levels of minerals, carbohydrates, and other nutrients that help plants to grow.
7. Give Roses a Boost
Roses love tea leaves. Slit open the used tea bags and sprinkle tea leaves around your roses to give them a boost.
Remember Roses love the tannic acid that occurs naturally in tea
Also Read: How to Become Master in Growing Roses
Composting Tea Bags: Can I Put Tea Bags In The Garden?
Many of us enjoy coffee or tea on a daily basis and it is nice to know that our gardens may enjoy the “dregs” from these beverages as well. Let’s learn more about the benefits of using tea bags for plant growth.
Can I Put Tea Bags in the Garden?
So the question is, “Can I put tea bags in the garden?” The resounding answer is “yes” but with a few caveats. Moist tea leaves added to the compost bin increase the speed with which your pile decomposes.
When using tea bags as fertilizer, either in the compost bin or directly around plants, first attempt to identify if the bag itself is compostable — 20 to 30 percent may be composed of polypropylene, which will not decompose. These types of tea bags may be slippery to the touch and have a heat-sealed edge. If this is the case, slit open the bag and discard in the trash (bummer) and reserve the damp tea leaves for composting.
If you are unsure about the makeup of the bag when composting tea bags, you can toss them into the compost
and then pick the bag out later if you are feeling particularly lazy. Sounds like an extra step to me, but to each his own. It will be patently obvious if the bag is compostable, as the worms and microorganisms will not break down such a substance. Tea bags made of paper, silk or muslin are suitable composting tea bags.
How to Use Tea Bags as Fertilizer
Not only can you compost tea bags as fertilizer in the compost bin, but loose leaf teas and compostable tea bags may be dug in around plants. Using tea bags in compost adds that nitrogen-rich component to the compost, balancing the carbon-rich materials.
Items you will need when using tea bags in compost are:
- Tea leaves (either loose or in bags)
- A compost bucket
- A three tined cultivator
After steeping each successive cup or pot of tea, add the cooled tea bags or leaves to the compost bucket where you keep food waste until ready to place in outdoor composting area or bin. Then proceed to dump the bucket into the compost area, or if composting in a worm bin, dump the bucket in and cover lightly. Pretty simple.
You can also dig the tea bags or loose leaves in around plants to utilize the tea bags for plant growth directly around the root system. This use of tea bags for plant growth will not only nourish the plant as the tea bag decomposes, but aids in moisture retention and weed repression.
The beauty of using tea bags in compost is that many of us have a serious habit that requires daily doses of tea, providing ample contributions to the compost pile. The caffeine contained in tea bags used in compost (or coffee grounds) does not seem to adversely affect the plant or raise the acidity of the soil appreciably.
Composting tea bags is a “green” method of disposal and terrific for the health of all your plants, providing organic matter to increase drainage while maintaining moisture, promoting earthworms, increasing oxygen levels and maintaining soil structure for a more beautiful garden.
You’ll never throw out your used tea bags again!
Do you have a green thumb and do you like to spend your afternoons working in the garden? Then this is the perfect tip for you. We usually throw out our used tea bags immediately after making tea. That’s a huge waste, though, because there are a couple of reasons why a used tea bag can make a big difference for your garden!
A used tea bag can work real miracles in your garden.
Growing a bunch of different seedlings can be quite a challenge. The reason for this is that most seedlings never even germinate, despite all the love and care you put into them. Luckily, we’ve found a very easy way for you to turn your garden into a true paradise for plants. All you need to do is bury a used tea bag in the earth.
By adding a tea bag to the earth in your garden, you provide it with extra nutrition. Tea leaves contain tannin and nutrients that serve as a natural fertiliser for the earth. The bag itself is made out of fibers from the stalk of the abaca plant, which is a type of banana plant. The tea will easily dissolve in the earth and provides a healthy environment for flowers and plants to grow.
The tea bags also keep vermin at a distance. Used tea bags as well as coffee grounds help to keep vermin away from your flowers and plants. The smell chases away any creatures that would like to take a bite out of your precious plants.
Want to know what else a tea bag can do for your garden? Go to the next page for more information as well as a helpful video!
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