In a world filled with stress and chaos, it’s no wonder people are looking for ways to escape. That’s why more and more people are turning to the ancient art of tea drinking. In this article, we will show you step-by-step how to grow green tea bushes right at home.
While you might think that all teas taste the same, in reality there is a whole world of flavor waiting for you to explore. Green tea accounts for roughly half of all tea consumed globally today- but not everyone knows how truly special green tea can be when grown from high quality leaves, harvested at just the right time from perfect conditions by skilled hands.
This post will tell you everything you need to know about growing your own green teas at home!
Why grow your own green tea
Before starting into how to grow your own green tea, I thought it would be helpful as to the benefits of growing your own tea.
In many cases, the closer you can get to a plant and process your own tea leaves- the more benefits you will reap from doing so.
Here are a few reasons why:
Grown with love
Tea is an art form that has been created thousands of years ago in Asia. The principles used to pick only the best leaves and process them into tea are still used to this day. Grown with love and care, tea leaves if often picked by hand and processed immediately after harvesting- meaning you will get your fresh high quality tea at its best flavor.
Preservation of the environment
Many teas, especially green teas- are grown in sustainable ways. If you want to protect the environment, growing your own tea is one of the best ways to do so. In fact- many teas that are grown in China and Japan are certified organic by organizations such as the USDA.
Good for you!
Drinking tea has been shown time after time to have several health benefits. Many teas, including green teas, are full of antioxidants that help prevent cancer and heart disease.
What’s Needed to Start Growing Green Tea?
So you want to start growing your own green tea? Here is a list of what you will need in order to get started:
– A sunny spot in your garden- at least 6 hours of sunlight a day is ideal
– Well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients (but not clay-based)
– Tea starter plants, for this post we will be using the Camellia sinensis plant. It is easy to grow and can be harvested in about 4 months after plant in mature.
You will also need some tools including: – Hoes (to dig up holes for planting) – Pruners (in order to cut your bush when needed)
– Labels (to keep track of which bush is which variety of tea)
– Compost (a mix of dead leaves and green clippings that can be used to fertilize your green tea bush)
Now that you have everything you need, let’s get started!
How to grow green tea: Step-by-step guide
The best time to plant green tea is in the early spring, before the last frost. Tea plants like plenty of sun and well-drained soil.
You can plant directly from seed but the Tea seeds from the Camellia sinensis plant set quite well, however they don’t germinate reliably. Due to this, store-bought starters are the most common way for gardeners to be certain they’re growing the correct plant.
Get other gardening tips, How to Make an Organic Garden in A Small Backyard
These shrubs flourish best in the open air, although they can also be cultivated in a greenhouse. If you want to grow your plants in a container, be prepared to prune them every year in order to keep their size in check. 3-5 gallons of well-drained container are also required.
Dig a hole that is about twice as wide as the root ball of your green tea plant, and about twice as deep. The best time to do this is in the early spring (right before the last frost) but you can still do this through at least mid-summer.
Place the root ball into the hole and make sure it sits flat; if there are any major roots poking out, cut them off with a knife. Spread the roots out from the center of the root ball, and then cover it back up with soil. Pat down the soil so none of it is loose.
If you are growing multiple plants of green tea, you will want to keep them about 3 feet apart.
Water your green tea plant until excess water pours out of the bottom. This is very important – you need to give your green tea plant plenty of water to sustain it until the next rain!
Water your green tea plant just as the top of the soil begins to dry- this is usually once a week. If you have really well drained soil, it might be a little less often.
Caring for Your Tea Plant
Here, the optimal temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The Camellia will fall dormant for the winter when the temperature drops below 50°F. Temperatures should remain between 25°F and 50°F during this time period. Plants in pots can be moved to a warmer location or covered if necessary. Keep in mind, however, that unless the plant is allowed to lay dormant, it will blossom.
Tea plants need humidity to stay healthy. Your Camellia sinensis should flourish in the open air if you live in a humid region. However, if you live in a dry climate or have indoor plants, you’ll need to raise the humidity level. A water tray is a simple tool for accomplishing this. All you have to do is put pebbles in a tray that is larger than the pot’s base and fill it with water to just below the pebble line. Your Camellia’s roots won’t drown because the water evaporates around it, thanks to the rocks.
Tea plants necessitate an acidic fertilizer. Camellias have a slew of specialized items on the market (Azalea fertilizer works well too). However, if you want to increase leaf growth, seek for a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
Learn about What is Organic Gardening
When the tree is just beginning to grow, begin fertilizing it in the spring. Slow-release fertilizer can be used once a year, whereas short-term feed can be applied in 1-3 treatments during the course of the spring. Before fertilizing, remove any mulch you’ve applied to the ground. Water the plant food in and then reapply the mulch after you’ve applied it.
You won’t have to prune this plant very often because it grows slowly. Check for dead or dying branches at least once a year. However, if you’re truly committed to your tea-garden, there is more to it. Below is an example of new growth that you will see on your plants in the early Spring.
Tea growers commonly remove flower buds to encourage stronger leaf development. While it’s a bummer to throw away such magnificent blooms, it will aid in the development of your tree’s canopy. You’ll also need to trim down the major branches to keep the trees in your home under control and the trees outside within your reach for harvesting.. In addition, cut any branches that cross one other in order to increase the tree’s aeration.
Harvesting and drying the leaves
Like the best teas in the world, you’ll be plucking your own tea leaves. Pick only healthy leaves that haven’t been damaged or broken.
Tea plants produce “flushes” of new growth in the spring. Pinch off the new leaves and buds after each flush. Only the leaves and buds at the tips of each branch should be harvested in order to encourage the plant to continue growing. You shouldn’t cut more than a third of the plant when you prune.
Pick the smallest and youngest leaves and buds if you’re going to create green or white tea. White tea can even be brewed solely from the buds in some cases. However, for black and oolong teas, larger, more mature leaves yield the highest flavor.
Next flush should be ready in 1-2 weeks following harvesting. Every time new growth appears, or at least twice a year, you can take advantage of the larger leaves. The blossoms can be harvested in the fall by some gardeners.
You’ll need to begin processing the tea leaves immediately after harvesting. This is the most critical step, as the type of tea you receive depends depend on how you process the leaves. There is a lot of potential for experimenting when it comes to the various methods of processing tea leaves. This means that each batch may have a distinct taste.
Because green tea is the least oxidized of all teas, its flavor is the most vibrant. As soon as you pick the leaf, the oxidation process begins, so quickly apply heat to halt it. A few minutes of steaming will preserve their flavor. It’s a notable difference in flavor between Chinese-style green teas, which are pan-fried rather than steamed. To give them a particular shape, they can be gently rolled between the hands without damaging the leaves.
Storing the Harvested Tea
There’s no danger in drinking tea that has gone bad, although it does grow stale. It’s ideal to utilize it within six months of processing, but it can be stored for up to a year. If properly prepared, black and oolong tea can be stored for up to two years without losing any of its flavor.
Ideally, your tea should be stored in a cool, dark pantry. To ensure the tea stays fresh, store it in an airtight container with two or more lids. If you want to show off the beautiful leaves in a glass jar, you’ll have to choose an opaque container. Because plastic might alter the flavor, it’s best to use metal or glass. Keep tea away from spices and coffee, as it will also steal taste from them.
Growing a Zen Garden is not only a great way to improve your own wellbeing, but it can also help the environment. By planting tea in your garden, you can enjoy all of the benefits that come with having a Zen Garden while also promoting relaxation and calmness. This article has provided a step-by-step guide on how to grow green tea so you can get started today!