My friend and go-to garden expert Amy Jacko is here with us today to share about planting a tea garden. Sounds like that could save me a lot of money!
I have been a faithful tea drinker as far back as my cradle with herbal teas in my baby bottle.
From a proper english afternoon tea, herbal teas, a perfect southern sweet tea, and even a long island ice tea, I enjoy sipping on them all. So naturally I decided that it was time to grow plants that I could use to make my own tea at home.
Growing an herbal and flower tea garden is a great way to create your own custom tea blends based on your taste preference and what health benefits you would like to focus on. It also allows you to grow your herbs and flowers organically and pesticide free.
Tea gardens can be planned several different ways. You can plant the herbs and flowers that you will use for tea making in your garden area with your fruits and vegetables. Or you can create a separate garden area for just your tea herbs and flowers. I would take this idea even further and make it almost a garden retreat with a spot to sit and read or rest, and add plants along-side of tea herbs that would attract butterflies to the garden. Amy, from She Wears Many Hats, wrote a helpful post on planning a garden to attract butterflies with a list of plants. It is a great resource.
Personally, I will be growing my tea herbs and flowers this year in containers. A solo tea and butterfly garden is in the works for next year, but there are backyard projects that need to be completed before I can dig in. Who wants work boots walking through and over your chamomile beds?
Container gardens are practical for many different growing area situations and for plants that are little wondering rebels. They can be used to brighten up the front door area or deck or a balcony. Containers can be brought in when the temperatures start to fall for a longer growing season.
Remember choose appropriate size containers for each type of herb or flower you chose to grow. As always plant seeds or plants in soil mix that is meant for vegetable and herb growning. Like with any growing plant it needs sunlight, some want more sun then others, and plenty of water.
When the herbs and flowers mature, harvest and use the leaves or flowers either fresh or dried. When you are drying the flowers and herbs, dry them in a warm, dry and moisture-free area. After they are dry, store them in airtight containers.
There are many, many herbs and flowers that you can choose to grow in a tea garden. The list below is not a complete list by a long shot, but a few basic plants that are wonderful for teas and will jump start your tea garden planning.
- Lemon Balm
- Rose Hips
- Bee Balm
- Holy Basil
- Lemon Grass
The one herb that I can not plant enough of is mint!
There is apple mint, pineapple mint, chocolate mint, mojito mint, lemon mint and I am sure there are a few more that I have not stumbled upon yet. Mint is known to spread and take over any garden bed. If you are planting mint in a garden, I would plant it in a sturdy container and then plant the container in the ground.
Cut your mint back anytime you think about it.
The tea that I am looking forward to sipping on the most (produced from my container tea garden of course!) is a hibiscus and stevia blend.
What is your favorite tea recipe?
So keep calm and put a kettle on!