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So many people love tea, but did you know you can grow your own tea?
Just like many other plants tea is very easy to grow and you can grow a tea garden to satisfy your cravings.
There are many different types of tea, and you can make different blends as well!
Why should you grow your own tea garden?
Let’s talk about exactly why you should!
Health Benefits of Tea
Tea is naturally very healthy for you.
Hot or cold it is still good. Not only is it healthy in general, it can also improve your health!
Yes I said improve!
There are different types of tea leaves out there, and different types can do different things.
Some of the benefits of tea are:
1. There is less caffeine than coffee
For those of you who have to watch their caffeine intake for a medical condition or pregnancy, tea can be a better option.
Traditional teas have less than 50% of caffeine found in coffee, and herbal blends have no caffeine at all.
2. Tea may help promote weight loss
Research has been done in favor of this notion but it is not strictly proven.
Sources say that you do have to drink a lot of tea, or take tea in a pill form.
3. Antioxidants in Tea
White teas are one of the most beneficial for an antioxidant tea since it is the least processed.
Black and green teas do also have antioxidant properties to them.
Drinking tea can help protect your body against pollutants and make your body healthier in the process.
4. Reduction in your risks for Heart Attacks
Tea drinking is an incredibly easy way to help reduce your heart attack risk.
There is a LOT of research out there that shows the positive effects of tea on the heart.
Drinking two to three cups of green tea a day can significantly reduce your heart attacks risks.
If you were to drink four to five cups a day not only would it lower your heart attack risk, it can also lower your LDL cholesterol levels.
5. Reduce bone loss
There have been recent studies with animals that show a positive result of less bone loss.
Moringa tea was the tea used in the studies. It is known to have tons of calcium and vitamins in it.
6. May boost your Immune System
Tulsi tea has been used for centuries.
This tea is said to be able to boost your immune system after a surgery or injury.
It has anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
7. Soothes your Digestive System
Chamomile tea especially mixed with ginger can sooth irritable bowels.
We all know that Chamomile is for relaxation but many don’t think about it being able to relax your internal ailments.
8. Helpful to your teeth
Japanese researchers believe that tea can help decrease tooth loss.
Drinking tea changes the pH levels in your mouth which can help prevent cavities.
9. May help battle Cancer
It is not proven but some believe that tea may be helpful in preventing cancer.
Some suggest to increase your tea consumption.
More research is being done on the thought of this.
10. Calorie Free!
When tea is unaltered it is completely calorie free!
If you are not a big fan of drinking tons of water, you can also drink tea.
Tea of course is mainly water and can help hydrate you.
There are also so many different flavors of tea it can give you a different taste option instead of just water.
WebMD has a great article on the health benefits of tea.
Types of Tea to Grow
There are four main types of teas: black, green, white, and oolong.
Depending on how long the leaves are processed, will determine which type of tea you get.
Tea also comes in short and long leaves.
Short leaf teas tend to grow better in cooler climates or temperatures. Long leaf teas grow better in hotter more humid areas.
Too much sunlight is bad for tea. They like the humidity but not a lot of sunlight.
In certain areas growing tea in a greenhouse may be a fantastic option since you can control the heat and humidity levels.
How to Grow Tea
Growing zone 8 is a fantastic zone to be able to grow tea outdoors. Areas above an 8 can also do well.
Zones have been talked about in many of our articles. The USDA has a map of the zones here.
For those zones able to grow theirs outdoors, you can grow them in a raised garden bed to help promote good soil drainage.
Do not worry though, if you do not live in this particular zone you can still successfully grow tea in a greenhouse.
If a greenhouse is not possible tea shrubs can be grown in a pot outdoors in other zones, but would need to be brought inside in the winter months.
As states, tea needs a specific amount of humidity to grow well.
Tea shrubs can grow to 3-7 feet tall. Pruning them is important. Not pruning your tea shrubs can cause them to grow extremely tall.
This plant likes well drained and sandy soil.
For those planting theirs in a container, you will want to add sphagnum moss to your soil.
**Tree shrubs should be allowed to grow for 3 years before picking leaves for tea. (Just like when growing asparagus it needs more than one growing season to be good for consumption)
Tea shrub seeds can be ordered from places such as seedrack.com most places have them listed as their genus name Camellia Sinensis.
Planting as always is per the seed guidelines on packaging. The packing will let your know how far down into the soil and how far apart to plant.
How tea is processed determines the type of tea you get.
You can get all four types of tea from the exact same tea plant.
Tea type production consists of:
- Step One: Withering, leaves must be soft enough to roll without tearing
- Step Two: Rolling, this produces the chemicals that determine tea color, shape, and flavor.
- Step Three: Oxidizing, leaves are spread out in cool humid rooms, oxygen causes a chemical reaction to occur which turns them from green to red.
- Step Four: Drying, leaves are fired or dried to stop the oxidation process, in china they do this in woks.
Green tea necessarily goes through the same four steps as black tea but in different levels of exposure.
After the leaves are picked, they are then spread out and allowed sunlight or warm air for only one to two hours.
Next, the leaves are heated to prevent any further oxidation.
Once the oxidation process is stopped, they are then rolled into various shapes and then dried.
Rolling them releases natural oils that helps them steep well in water and make a nice aroma.
Oolong teas take the most time to process.
Leaves are picked at a specific time, not too early and not too late.
They are only partially oxidized.
- Leaves are allowed some sunlight to wither
- They are then shaken to bruise the edges
- Leaves are then air dried in the shade which turns them partially yellow
- These steps are repeated multiple times
- They are not quite oxidized to the amount that black tea is
- Once the oxidation level is chosen they are then fired or dried to prevent any further oxidation
**This tea has a longer shelf life than green tea because of the lower moisture level.
The most delicate tea of all.
White tea is made from leaf buds. They are picked before they open in the spring.
Leaves are then withered and slowly dried.
Tea buds are not rolled and are only slightly oxidized.
This tea ends up with a natural sweetness and a mild flavor.
Growing Your Own Tea Can Be Easy
Tea growing can be beneficial since you can create the exact tea you want.
Processing your tea leaves will be the most time consuming part of it all.
For the drying or wilting portions, if you would like to keep it traditional, you can get bamboo mats to use.
If you are a person who loves to make everything yourself, you most likely will love this.
Adding things such as chamomile, hibiscus, orange, etc. can spice up your flavoring.
Hibiscus is one of the newest additives to tea I’ve seen and it actually tastes really good!
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