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Grow this: Herbs for your Tea Garden

  • Kristine Malicay
  • October 02, 2016

I had a relationship with coffee. I didn’t just like it, I drank gallons of the stuff! Five cups was a typical day for me, imagine when I’m chasing after a deadline and had to keep my mind on heightened alert. But coffee is a jealous lover, and a spiteful one too. It became the possessive one in the relationship. Skip it for a day and I’ll end up with a splitting headache. And when it happens, the one thing I always turned to, to alleviate the pain was none other than, the ever reliable cuppa tea.

Come to think of it, tea never let me down. But I always associated tea with being sick. I would only have tea when I’m not well, while I had coffee on good days. Well, the latter was a fair-weather friend, and tea is a faithful friend.

When I transitioned to a natural lifestyle, I slowly weaned myself from my coffee habit. It was hard, especially when you have a mental and emotional attachment to it. And the only way to let go of it, is to establish a new and better habit. So now, my mornings start with a cup of tea and my day ends with another cup of tea.

Why tea over coffee?
  1. Tea improves digestion
  2. It rehydrates
  3. Reduces stress
  4. Tea gives you the energy boost that you need
  5. It contains a lot of antioxidants
  6. It helps in weight loss
  7. Tea helps relieve a lot of ailments
  8. It boosts the immune system

This year, warm up to the cold season with freshly brewed tea. Whether you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up or an herbal blend to soothe away your stress, having these herbs within reach doesn’t only give you a wealth of benefits, it’s also one of the many ways you can live sustainably.

You can prepare your tea hot or cold and use herbs fresh or dried. To dry the herbs, bundle them up using a twine and hang them indoor or outdoor away from direct sunlight. If you like it fresh, then the best way is to grow your own tea at home.

Growing your own tea garden is not rocket science but you do need to have a plan in place to avoid garden mishaps. Consider the dimension of the garden space where you’re planning to cultivate your tea and other herbs.

Don’t have a garden? No problem! You can easily grow your plants in containers indoors. Of course, there is always the AquaSprouts Garden in which your fish work to grow your plants! It doesn’t get any sustainable than that.

We recommend you start growing your tea garden with these herbs:

Mint

Benefits: It’s known to reduce stress, treat sleep disorders and promote good digestion.

Grow: Mint of all kinds need to be grown in a container of their own or else they will spread and overtake other plants. It needs a lot of sunlight. So when growing indoors, make sure to place the plant near the window or use supplemental light.

Preparation: Infuse a few leaves in boiling water for 2 - 5 minutes.

Mint is a fast growing plant! Be careful with this one, a small transplant can quickly take over the container it resides in. Be sure to regularly prune and harvest to help contain its wild growth.  

Chamomile

Benefits: Promotes good sleep and relieves anxiety.

Grow: it has two kinds: Roman, a perennial and grows like a mat on the ground. And German, an annual which grows to a height of about 1 to 2 feet. Both grow in cool conditions and prefer dry soil.

Preparation: Harvest the flowers early in the morning. In making tea, use 1 tablespoon of fresh blossoms for every cup of boiling water or 2 teaspoons of dried flowers for every cup. Steep for 5 - 10 minutes.

Chamomile's tiny seeds don't root well in many hydroponic media, so if you're planning to grow aquaponic chamomile, invest in some starter plugs. And here's a unique tip: if you've already grown some chamomile, it may help you grow even more plants, since some gardeners will actually use chamomile tea to soak seeds or spray plant starts to help prevent fungal infections!

Rosemary

Benefits: It acts as an antioxidant and is known to provide digestive support.

Grow: Rosemary prefers full sunlight and well-drained soil. Plant up to 3 feet apart in warmer areas. When growing in a cooler climate, plant in containers so that you can bring it indoors at the first sign of frost.

Preparation: You can either use fresh or dried rosemary.  Steep a sprig of fresh rosemary for 4 - 5 minutes or 1 ½ teaspoons of dried rosemary to a cup of hot water.

Growing your own tea is easy and simple. There is really no excuse for you not to grow one of your own. Aside from its health benefits, these herbs can be used as insect repellants and are also great for cooking. But that’s a post for another day. In the meantime, bottom’s up!


Further reading:

http://farmersalmanac.com/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/22621-benefits-rosemary-tea/