Herb Tea Garden – Grow One!
The most popular herbs used for tea making are Chamomile, Peppermint and Lemon Balm and are the ideal candidates to consider for your Herb Tea Garden.
Chamomile is the everyday name for a group of very pretty plants from the daisy family which are best known for making wonderful herb tea. There are two main varieties available – German Chamomile which is the most common and can reach a height of one meter and Roman Chamomile which is less common and reaches only 30-40 cm in height. One of Chamomile’s most common medicinal uses is as a mild sedative and to aid sleep. It is thought that regular intake could also strengthen the immune system.
Growing Chamomile from seed is very easy and it will grow happily in a window box or container in a position where it will get plenty of sunlight. It requires little attention, just make sure to water frequently during hot weather and feed with a liquid fertiliser occasionally if growing in a pot. Flowers give off a beautiful sweet scent.
When flowers are in full bloom it is a perfect time to harvest them. They can be used fresh in your tea or dried and stored away for use all year round. To make your Chamomile tea simply add hot water, it is also traditionally served with honey.
Revive and Revitalise…
Peppermint is a hybrid plant, a cross between Water Mint and Spearmint. It has a high menthol content which means it is commonly used to make a delicious, revitalising tea amongst other things such a toothpaste. It is thought to have many medicinal uses, to relieve indigestion and to treat an upset stomach to name a few.
Mint grows very easily, so easily that it spreads quickly and can be quite invasive, so if growing outdoors in the garden it may be best to grow in a container, it grows equally well indoors. Peppermint prefers a partially shaded area and keep an eye on the the soil to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
Pruning your Peppermint plant encourages new leaves and results in a bushier plant, remove stems from new branches, new leaves tend to provide the best flavour. To make your Peppermint Tea take the leaves and tear them, then allow to dry, add hot water and allow to steep.
Lemon Balm is a member of the Mint family and is generally considered a calming herb. It has been used for centuries to reduce stress and anxiety and encourage sleep. It’s leaves have a gentle lemon scent and the small white flowers that appear over summer are a favourite for bees. Plants can grow to between one and two feet tall if not maintained.
Growing Lemon Balm is relatively easy, choose a partially sunny spot, and as with Peppermint, it can spread quickly and become invasive so a container may be advisable if planting in the garden. Keep the soil moist.
To harvest your Lemon Balm cut off whole stems, tie together and hang in a well ventilated room to dry. To make your Lemon Balm Tea simply add hot water, as with Chamomile, it’s delicious with a drop of honey.
So why not begin growing your own herbs today and get brewing some luscious herbal teas!