growing your own tea

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 - 1:07pm

I was at a prepper conference where a woman speaker warned us to wean ourselves off imported agricultural products - the possibility of high inflation plus high transportation costs could put them out of our reach. She suggested we break the coffee/tea/cola habit. But, my caffeinated friends, all is not lost. Many of us can grow our own tea!

About.com says

The tea shrub is hardy to Zone 8 (The country is broken up into 'zones' with similar temperature and weather patterns. Zone 8 is mid-west to southern USA). If you don't live in these areas, don't fret. You could try growing Camellia sinensis in a greenhouse, or in a pot that you can bring indoors during cold winters.

and I'm in Zone 8. We visited the nearby Charleston Tea Planation, and this is what we learned. Highly ornamental, evergreen tea bushes like sandy, acidic soil. (Great! That's what we have) and if you're going to try growing it in containers you can add some sphagnum moss to the potting mix. The plant is a type of camellia and has lovely and great-smelling small white flowers in the fall. Here is where to get some seeds. Tea has been grown in the United States since 1888, and commerically since 1963. It makes a great deer-resistant shrub (they hate it and only eat the weeds so deer have the run of the plantation), and only the new growth is harvested.

The plant has to be at least 3 years old to start harvesting, but imagine trimming the bushes out in front of your house or off your patio and then bringing the trimmings in as a crop! And when you cut the first leaves in the spring, you can make a drink once reserved for roayalty: First Flush Tea.  All three kinds of tea--oolong, green and black--come from the same plant but are processed differently. The leaves are shredded and dried, turning frequently. Basically, the longer you let them sit and age, before heating, the darker the tea. Here's a link on processing your tea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_processing

 

4 Comments

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2237
Speaking of caffeinated friends...

Thanks Safewrite!

I think one of the first things I bought when the reality of our 3E situation hit me were some coffee plants!   I never really had a lot of hope that they'd actually become productive, but I needed the security blanket.  So you bet I'll try tea, too!:)  

Hladini's picture
Hladini
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2011
Posts: 83
growing your own tea.

I plan on growing my own tea concoctions using ingredients like chamomile, echinacia, stevia, mint, sage, rose hips (after I get the veggie garden completed).  Any other suggestions?

Hladini's picture
Hladini
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2011
Posts: 83
growing your own tea

I almost forgot,  also have some lemon grass, which makes a lovely tea.

 

ptwisewoman's picture
ptwisewoman
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 18 2008
Posts: 56
growing tea/herb teas

Hladini, I would add lemon balm, lemon verbena and hibiscus.  A seriously good ice or hot tea is made with hibiscus, rose hips and either linden or lemon verbena.

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