An herbal tea garden is a great way to grow the herbs and plants, to create your own custom tea mixes. Having fresh straight from your garden herbs for brewing tea is not only convenient, but it also ensures that you are using herbs that are free of pesticides and herbicides. Whatever reason you have for growing herbs to use in teas-- health or simply because you enjoy the taste of tea-- being able to create the exact combination you want for a cup of tea is such a pleasure.
Considerations When Planting an Herbal Tea Garden
Planting an herbal tea garden is as hard as choosing the type of tea you want to drink. If you like to enjoy a variety of teas, then a wide variety of herbs needs to be planted. If you are growing for a specific tea, or want to grow herbs that aid with a specific health issue, then the garden won’t need to be as big or include as many plants.
Decide on the Types of Tea Wanted
If you generally enjoy tea, then you want to grow an herb garden filled with a wide variety of teas that can all be combined or used in a variety of combinations to create the perfect tea for your mood. Growing herbs that you can brew into teas that will help ease a specific condition that you need help with will call for less space, but smart planning when it comes to including enough of each plant in order to ensure that you are able to enjoy homegrown tea from the garden all summer long. Find out which herbs help with the specific health needs you have, and then choose one or two additional two or three herbs that pair well with those herbs to make a tea that you can enjoy.
Designing the Garden
Decide if you are going to be planting in a garden bed or potted containers. If you are going to be growing specific tea combinations, a couple potted containers that grow all the herbs you need can be sufficient. An herbal tea garden that is going to include the ability to grow as many tea combinations as possible, you are going to need more space and should prepare and entire bed. Remember that most herbs, including those that are used in herbal teas, prefer well drained, nutrient poor soil that is not disturbed with tilling, but gets good aeration.
Choosing and Pairing Herbs
Choosing the herbs that you want starts with your personal preferences, but to get you started, here are some of the best herbs for teas. They are also the most widely used herbs for teas, and many of them pair well with one or another, or are packed with flavor that can be combined with whatever herbal tea you want to drink for health. Chamomile and Lemon Balm are the two most common herbs grown for tea, and both can be added to any light or bitter herbal tea combinations to give them a bright flavor. Coriander and Fennel are grown for the interesting flavor that their leaves give otherwise dull tea combinations. Bee Balm and Betony are added for their milder flavor notes. Catnip and Mint can be added individually or in combination to give tea a strong herbal mint flavor.
Another interesting herb to grow for tea include leaves, which are hard to find for tea because they are so often sprayed with a lot of pesticides. Roses are considered herb plants and a couple low growing bushes, or climbing vines placed in the back of the garden are enough to provide you with enough rose hips that can be gathered and dried.
Gathering and Use
The benefit of growing your own herbal tea ingredients is being able to use fresh herbs for the teas, but you can gather the herbs a couple times throughout the season and dry them to use as needed. Wait till plants have budded and then collect leaves and flowers. If drying, lay them out flat on a clean counter or shelf where they can remain undisturbed for a few days. Every once in a while, turn stems and leaves over to make sure that they are being air dried completely. Store in a sealed bag or container and combine with other herbal tea ingredients as you go. By drying as many of the herbs as you can from your garden, you can create dozens of flavor combinations all summer and winter long.