Tuesday, March 4, 2014
STARTING AN HERBAL TEA CONTAINER GARDEN
Use these tips and reap the benefits of an aromatic cup of homegrown tea.
There’s nothing better than a nice cup of tea after a long day for instant relaxation. Planting different kinds of herbs for teas is a fun way to create an indoor garden you can experiment with. Try out some of these ideas to start a fun, easy project you can really get results out of.
Choose Your Herbs
MintThis peppery, refreshing herb is simple to grow and perfect for an indoor garden because it spreads rapidly outdoors. It’s great for soothing an upset stomach and aids in digestion.
ChamomileIts apple scent is wonderful, as are its adorable flowers that will add charm to any window. Drink a cup when you’re having trouble sleeping or to help relieve stomach cramps.
LavenderA well-known pacifier, lavender is best grown in a sunny window. It’s soothing and fragrant — a perfect pampering herb that adds a dash of spicy flavor. A hot cup of this tea is the perfect way to calm nerves.
BergamotThe orange and lemon-flavored flowers are perfect for steeping and can be grown in full sun or semi-shady spots. If you’re a black tea drinker, you already know its flavor is also the key to a delicious Earl Grey.
It’s known to help combat fevers, chills and upset stomachs.
Lemon VerbenaFruity and tangy, lemon verbena grows well in a sunny window. It’s a perfect nighttime tea that can help aid congestion and sleeplessness, and it’s said to prevent nighttime dreaming.
RosemaryIf kept in well-drained soil and full sun, rosemary will flourish and provide a wonderfully perfumed aroma. Its minty pine taste is perfect for calming and stimulating circulation.
AniseThis herb (not to be confused with star anise) grows in well-drained soil. Its white flowers produce licorice-flavored seeds that can be crushed for tea to aid indigestion and heartburn.
Create Your GardenVisit your local nursery to see which herbs and varieties are available in your area. Purchase grown herbs to put in your sunny, non-drafty window, or begin from seeds. For herbs that require good drainage, set them on a tray of gravel or small rocks.
Tip: Repurpose tea tins, or start seedlings in easy-to-assemble newspaper pots.
Start SippingPick the leaves, flowers or seeds, then rub them between your fingers or crush them to release essential oils.
For each cup of tea, put 2 to 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs in a square of cheesecloth, a mesh tea strainer or a teapot with a built-in strainer, and then allow it to steep in hot water for 4 to 6 minutes.
Tip: Dry your herbs, and store them in labeled airtight jars. When steeping, reduce measurements by half of the amount you’d use with fresh herbs.
For both beginners and green thumbs alike, growing your own tea garden not only gives you something to watch day to day, but also something that can provide with gratification in the form of a steaming cup of your favorite teas.