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thepony
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Organic Tea Gardening and Questions

Hello! I'm new to the forum and to gardening as well. I hope I've placed this in the correct area!
I'm currently in the process of preparing for my own tea and vegetable garden.
Vegetable gardening information is more readily available, but there is a lot to be figured out about growing plants for tea. I found a nice website that suggests a few things to try to make various herbal teas but it only had a few suggestions.

I am currently growing some peppermint in a pot (it was readily available as I had a neighbor who planted theirs straight into the ground and it spread like wildfire of course, haha) and just placed an order for Camellia Sinensis seeds. That's where I get stuck...where can I buy seeds for other types of teas? Is there a good place online? Would a local nursery be likely to have them? I probably should look but kind of doubt that they would have many of the kinds I'm looking for..and in that case, where would I find them?
Also, if anyone else has grown their own tea or knows anyone who has, do they have recommendations for types they've liked and had success with? I'm looking for basically any type as I am very open-minded with teas and would just like to hear others' opinions.


Thanks for any and all help :D

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Sage Hermit
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lots of plants can be turned into tea.
Chamomile, raspberrie, wolf berry, ginsing, ginger, coriander, dandilion, sage, mint, echinachae, catnip, chrysanthemum, dill, St. John's Wart, nettle, thyme, velarian root, fennel, anise.

Spicy tea.
Adding whole cloves to your tea makes it taste so good. I like to blend a few herbs together to make tea.These days I make a cup of tea and add like 4 or 5 herbs together and steep.Best combo so far is Sage+mint+ chamomile+ cinimon stick + whole cloves + earl grey + raspberrie.



Try and find rose water and I will give you a good tea recipe.

Catnip: pH 6.1- 7.8, row 15-18, full sun
Sage: pH 4.2 - 8.3, sow 1/4", row 12" (pinnaple sage> all)
Mint: 70 °F, pH 6.5, row 12 - 18'', full sun - partial shade
Raspberries: pH 5.6 - 6.2, row 18'', full sun - partial shade.
You can solve all your problems in a garden/laboratory.

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rainbowgardener
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herbal tea recipes

Here's some teas I gave people as Christmas presents (put the teas into bags with my rainbow gardener label, put them in a nice hand painted box)

Devoted remembrance tea: 3 parts rosemary, 3 parts lavender, 3 parts marjoram, 2 parts anise hyssop

Love Charm Tea: 3 parts yarrow, 1 part lavender, 1 part anise hyssop, 1 part spearmint. (this one came out especially yummy! )

Lemony sage tea: 1 part sage, 1 part lemon balm, some dried lemon zest. Very good for coughs and colds.

These are mild, if using one teabag's worth per cup, steep for at least 5 minutes in water that has been brought to a boil, for best flavor. All of these are better with a bit of honey added. Even if you don't like it really sweet, 1/2 tsp honey added after brewing really brings up the flavor of the herbs.

Recipes came from this site:

https://straightfromthefarm.net/2008/11/22/herbal-tea-recipes/

(you have to scroll down a ways to get to the recipes)

Having the recipes gives you suggestions of what to grow... from the above, I grow chamomile, rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, anise hyssop, yarrow, mint and sage.

Bee balm (monarda) also is a good tea ingredient as well as being attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Lemon balm is lovely and so easy to grow; it is becoming a weed on my property, may be a little invasive. Mint is definitely invasive, only grow it in pots. Anise hyssop is easy to grow but not so aggressive.

People loved these teas!
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applestar
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I was going to say maybe you could mix in Stevia to the tea blends for touch of sweetness, but I see the website recipe does that. I think I've successfully overwintered one Stevia plant and also have some cuttings that I have to uppot. I had to let the 2nd plant die in the garden because I didn't have room to bring in both. I took 2 sets of cuttings from both for diversity, but one of the sets died off, and I've no idea if the surviving ones I have is from one plant or the other. :roll:

In the recipe, are lavender and yarrow flowers or do you use the foliage? (Original recipes don't say either...)

I want to grow marjorum, but didn't realize you could start them from seed -- I guess I'll have to buy plants this year. Do you treat them as annuals grown from seed like basil? How early do you start them?

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applestar
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"Love Charm Tea" IS yummy! Used lavender and yarrow leaves with the spearmint and anise hyssop leaves (all freshly pinched off the tip). Found white-flowered wild yarrow leaves fragrant but not the pink-flowered one.

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rainbowgardener
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I use a mix of foliage and flowers for both.


"from the above, I grow chamomile, rosemary, lavender, lemon balm, anise hyssop, yarrow, mint and sage. " You will notice marjoram is not in that list :) Some of my tea ingredients I just bought in the spice section... I have grown marjoram from seed in the past and treated it like an annual. That was when I used to have a lot more room to grow things. I think I do pretty well on my teeny city lot, but I can't grow everything! :) But it's been a long time back now.

[ Off topic, but on the issue of can't grow everything -- Still trying to figure out where I'm going to put squash this year, though I did already plant a couple in flowerbeds. They volunteered there last year and did well so this year I planted them there. ]
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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applestar
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I never saved yarrow flowers before! I'll be sure to do that. :wink:

Percy
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Hi,

Fennel is a good grow-your-own tea as it has medicinal uses as well as a good taste and is quite hardy. It is especially good for the calming the stomach and indigestion.
You should be a able find plants at nurseries but they also grow out in the wild if you are luck enough to find any. Try looking along river banks or near the sea if you have access.

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love11
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Holy basil is the best tea i ever had.

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Runningtrails
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I plan to grow and dry my own herbal teas this year too! I have a lot of hibiscus and various mints adn berries too. For raspberry tea, do you use the leaves?

Tonythegardener
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I make my herbal teas in a Caffettiera Coffee Maker
[img]https://images.pricerunner.com/product/220x220/162520364/Bodum-8-cup-Caffettiera-Coffee-Maker.jpg[/img]
I can boil water on a camping stove and make the tea in the garden. It is good and fresh this way. I have mint, thyme, chamomile and sweet cicely tea while resting from gardening.

DoubleDogFarm
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I make my coffee every morning with a French Press.

Eric

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rainbowgardener
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Here's another nice site for herbal tea recipes:

https://eatmoreherbs.com/herbalteas/7.htm
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Joyfirst
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Re: herbal tea recipes

rainbowgardener wrote:Here's some teas I gave people as Christmas presents .
What a wonderful idea to give tea gifts from herbs from your garden.

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rainbowgardener
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Here's a couple of my Christmas gifts threads. For past few years, I have not done much Christmas shopping. Almost everyone gets gift baskets full of home made goodies.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/v ... hp?t=48988

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/v ... hp?t=40496


I dry herbs for teas and also distill them for essential oils and infuse them for jams/jellies. I use the essential oils to fragrance candles, soaps, lotions, etc as well as just giving people little vials of essential oil. I make jams and jellies out of lots of the things in my garden. Last year I tried my hand at wine making but was not successful. Will probably try again this year.

Jams/ jellies/ syrups I've done include green and purple basil, sage, blackberry- sage, chrsanthemum flower, strawberry-anise hyssop, lavender, lilac, and probably others I'm not remembering right now.

This year I want to do herbal oils and vinegares, maybe bath oils, mosquito repellant.
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Flowers
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Re: Organic Tea Gardening and Questions

rainbowgardener have you done a forum yet explaining how to distill herbs for essential oils? I think that would be so cool! Also, I really hate the taste of licorice and anise especially, but the love charm tea sounds good anyways. Is the anise flavor very strong? I feel like the spearmint and other herbs with a lot of honey would kind of overpower it so that I wouldn't hate it so much and it might actually be nice as a subtle undertone. What do you think?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Organic Tea Gardening and Questions

It's anise hyssop not licorice or anise, the anise flavor is subtle.

Distilling essential oils depends on having a still. Even the smallest home distillation equipment is pretty expensive (by my limited budget standards anyway). I have two, neither of which is perfectly satisfactory.

This one:

https://oilextech.com/

advertises makes essential oils in 6 min. It does work in 6 min (after the equipment is frozen over night) in the microwave. However, I could never get it to produce any actual essential oil. What it produces is a pretty low quality dilute hydrosol, which is the essential oil still mixed with water. It is quick and uses very little power, but the product is really not high enough quality for me.

Then I have a little stove top still I got a few years ago from Edmunds Scientific for about $80 (cheap !). But it looks like they are not carrying it any more. What it produces is also hydrosol, but much higher quality, less dilute. It is good enough for my purposes, though I could not sell it as essential oil. But it takes hours of boiling on the stove to produce it and makes me feel very guilty about the power I am using.

So I am still in the market for a good small home distiller....

The stove top one I have from a couple cups of plant products makes maybe a half ounce of hydrosol. I know if I could get the actual essential oil from that it would be MAYBE a quarter teaspoon full.
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Flowers
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Re: Organic Tea Gardening and Questions

Hmmm I'll give the anise hyssop a try then.

Eeep! No thank you that's far out of reach for my time and budget. Maybe some day in the future but I'll stick to my tea for now. :)
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Organic Tea Gardening and Questions

You can easily with no equipment make a kind of flavored oil. Fill a jar with your plant product, packing lightly. Then fill the jar with some kind of neutral oil that doesn't have flavor of its own. Let it sit on a window sill for a week or so. Then strain the leaves out, fill the jar with new plant material and put the same oil back in it, refilling so the jar is full again. You can do that as many times as you want and the oil will keep getting stronger flavored.

It is not essential oil, but it is good enough for some uses, like heating in a fragrant oil warmer:

Image

It can also be a good way to put the herb flavor in things - use your flavored oil to cook with. For cooking, I infuse extra virgin olive oil with various herbs - sage, thyme, etc.
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Flowers
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Re: Organic Tea Gardening and Questions

Wow thanks for the advice! I'll definitely give that a try for now for things like the oil diffuser thing you mentioned. I always worry what horrible chemicals I might be inhaling with candles and sprays, so a homemade oil in a little diffuser would make me feel much better. I'm also going to look into just making candles with the herbs. Very excited! My plants can't grow fast enough!
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