Got any extra space in your garden, why not trying growing your own tea? It’s easier than you think, although cooler climates and higher elevations are better for the best teas.
Camellia Sinensis the tea plant can be grown from seed or by plant cuttings or by purchasing a tea plant from a nursery. If you have patient qualities this is the plant for you, as it takes a lot of patience for the tea plant to grow to maturity, that being about three to four years before they can be harvested.
The tea plant does well in sandy soil, with additional fertilizer and frequently water in warmer weather. To prevent weeds and to keep moisture in the soil muclh your Camellia Sinensis plant.
The plant will reach maturity in about three to four years, then the leaves can be harvested. The top leaves and buds are picked for the better quality of black and green teas. Buds are picked for special flavored teas.
The tea plant would be a beautiful addition to your garden as it is a ornamental bush that has beautiful white and fragrant flowers, which bloom in late fall and winter. When pruned on a regular basis the plant will always have new growth.
Tea is harvested in early spring and summer. The spring harvest will bring the tender and fattest for white tea.
The tea leaves are spread out to dry after picking, it will take about 12 to 18 hours for them to wither. The leaves will loose moisture during this process. They will become soft, which will allow the easy of rolling the tea without breaking and leaves. This rolling process allows breakage of the teas membranes in the leaves releasing juices of the to tea leaf to collect on the top surface. The tea leaf is in the state of fermentation producing essential oils from the juices. When the aroma and flavor reach exact right point fermentation process is stopped. During the production process leaves are broken, they are sorted by sizes, large leaves about 20% is the best grad, next grade being broken leaves, the tea dust or fanning are used in tea bags.
In that extra space in your garden, why not give tea a try, by growing your own? Create your different flavors of green tea by adding your favorite herbs, dried fruits and dried flowers. Your own home grown tea would be a wonderful gift to give to your friends and loved ones.