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Posts Tagged ‘tea garden’

As far back as I can remember, I have been a tea drinker.  My father would make the best iced tea in the summer, and he would even drink it for breakfast!  My mother would drink hot tea at night, sometimes in an old porcelain cup and saucer, while she relaxed and read the newspaper. Today, my sister and I enjoy sharing stories about different shops and tea flavors we have tried!

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This love of drinking tea has “spilled over” into curiosity about making my own tea, starting with growing my own tea garden!

Growing a tea garden was much easier than I thought!

First, I chose my favorite tea herbs. My absolute favorite is spearmint! I love the taste, smell and color of mint…what a wonderful herb! I also love mint for its healing properties and forgiving nature. It’s easy to grow, and there are many varieties including chocolate mint, lemon mint, pineapple mint, spearmint and peppermint. This year I even saw mojito mint!

Next, I decided how many herbs to plant, and whether to grow them inside or outside. I have done both! I really enjoy having a little tea garden in a pot somewhere in the kitchen near sunlight, but my favorite place to grow tea herbs is outside, in the spot right next to my kitchen door. These locations are “close by” so I see them every day, and what a daily joy it is to walk by a tea garden full of fragrant herbs! These spots are also meaningful to me because of the memories they evoke. When my children were little, they used to call my small herb garden their “scratch and sniff garden” because when you scratch the leaves of herbs, they release a wonderful smell into the air!

There are many herbs and flowers that you can grow for making tea. The list is almost endless! Here are a few plants that are wonderful for making teas:

  • Chamomile
  • Hibiscus
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rose Hips
  • Lavender
  • Fennel
  • Stevia
  • Rosemary
  • Spearmint
  • Echinacea
  • Holy Basil
  • Lemon Grass
  • Peppermint

Many tea herbs are healing to the human body and date back to ancient times in China.  For example, chamomile is known for helping to sooth and relax, and its consumption is often recommended before bedtime. Mint is known to sooth nausea, so I brew these two herbs together along with stevia and make a simple tea blend that is wonderful before bedtime.  You can mix herbs together in any combination, depending on your personal preference and health needs.

To dry herbs for tea, simply gather a bunch of herbs (10-15 stems), bunch them together with a rubber band, and hang them in a warm, dry place with plenty of airflow. Drying can take up to several weeks, depending on the plant and its moisture content. When thoroughly dry, strip the leaves off the stems and store them in a tightly sealed glass or ceramic container away from heat and light.

I am excited for you to start your own tea garden and experiment with tea making. It is super easy and will bring much joy to your day! If you have a favorite tea recipe, please share by leaving a comment below!

Sources:

Better Homes & Gardens (2017). Harvesting Herbs from Your Garden. https://www.bhg.com/gardening/vegetable/herbs/harvesting-herbs-from-your-garden/

Francis, M. “Hot Stuff: Grow an Indoor Tea Garden.” HGTV. https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/garden-styles-and-types/hot-stuff-grow-an-indoor-tea-garden

Gaspar, E. “DIY Herbal Teas.” The National Gardening Association Learning Library. https://garden.org/learn/articles/view/124/

University of Rochester Medical Center. A Common Guide to Medicinal Herbs. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=1&contentid=1169

Written by: Shari Gallup, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Licking County, gallup.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

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