Tea Trees, anyone have one?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by seedspreader, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Does tead grow here in the states, I mean it does it china, so i assume it will here? If so, anyone growing any?
     
  2. Tater'sPa

    Tater'sPa Well-Known Member

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    If your asking about Melaleuca alternifolia "Tea Tree" I only know of it growing in NSW Australia.
    I'm not familiar with any other species of tea tree :shrug:
     

  3. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Camellia sinensis

    like the tea that you drink.
     
  4. Tater'sPa

    Tater'sPa Well-Known Member

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    Ohhh okay.... :nerd:
    For as much tea as I drink I should have understood that...lol
    I didn't think of tea as a tree though, I pictured it to be a bush or a leafy type plant....
    I would be happy to find loose leaf in bulk at a fair price for good iced tea.
     
  5. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    Here's some info on growing a tea plant:

    (Camellia sinensis)
    Description: As a cultivated evergreen plant, tea is usually trimmed to below 2 metres in height. However, if left to grow wild, the bush can reach 10 metres. Strong taproot. Leaves alternate, lanceolate to obovate, up to 30 (usually 4-15) cm long, Flowers, which appear in winter, are aromatic, white or pinkish, with 1-3 seeds in each lobe.

    Cultivation: Soak seed in warm water for 24 hours before sowing, or gently rub a hole through the seed coat with sandstone or sand paper. The seed coat is fragile, so take care not to crush the seed during the process. The seeds are about the size and shape of hazelnuts. Hollow seeds and low germination percentages are common occurrences. Seeds remain viable for one year. Plant 1cm deep in warm soil and keep moist until germination. Typical germination period is 6 to 8 weeks Plant requires 4-12 years to bear seed. At first, seedlings should be shaded. Seedlings 6-12 months old may be outplanted with a ball of earth, while much older seedlings can be planted bare-rooted. Cuttings from the stem, taken 10cm from the ground from winter through to summer, can be inserted in the soil at an angle so that the subtending leaf rests on the medium. Rooting is slow, and bottom heat is recommended. Needs full sun to part shade. They prefer a well drained, soil rich in organic matter, pH 4.5- 5.5. The root hairs are very fine, so the plant cannot be allowed to dry out completely. Increase watering when the plant is actively growing and when the plant is in bloom. Fertilise every 2-3 weeks in spring through to autumn, use a fertiliser for acid loving plants diluted to half the strength recommended on the label. Prune directly after flowering. Repot every 2-4 years in late winter or early spring. Plant is frost hardy to –6°C. Once established, mulch heavily.

    Harvesting: Terminal sprouts with 2-3 leaves are usually hand-plucked, usually every 7-15 days, depending on the development of the tender shoots. Leaves that are slow in development always make a better flavoured product. Green, Oolong and black (‘normal’) tea are all made from the leaves of the same plant. Green tea leaves are allowed to wither in hot air then pan-fried to halt the oxidation (fermentation) processes. The leaves of Oolong tea are wilted in sunlight, bruised and allowed to partially oxidise, until reddening of the leaf edges occurs. Black teas leaves are fermented in cool, humid rooms, until the entire leaf is darkened. Freshly picked leaves are spread very thinly and evenly on trays and placed in the sun until the leaves become very flaccid, requiring 13 hours or more, depending on heat and humidity. Other types of black teas are made by withering the leaves, rolling them into a ball and allowing to ferment in a damp place for 3-6 hours, at which time the ball turns a yellowish copper color, with an agreeable fruity one. If this stage goes too far, the leaves become sour and unfit for tea. After fermenting, the ball is broken up and the leaves spread out on trays and dried in oven until leaves are brittle and have slight odor of tea. As soon as harvested, leaves are steamed or heated to dry the natural sap and prevent oxidation to produce green tea. Still soft and pliable after the initial treatment, the leaves are then rolled and subjected to further firing.
     
  6. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    So has anyone ever done it actually?
     
  7. Bink

    Bink Well-Known Member

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    I'd considered it, but I don't think they were hardy to zone 6?
     
  8. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Nope it's hardy to zone 8, I was thinking of trying big pots...
     
  9. Bink

    Bink Well-Known Member

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    Oh! hm. Maybe ask also in plant propagation? It would be a nice thing to grow, if it isn't more work than it's worth.

    Would you use it for tea? Would you drink it green or ferment it into black tea?
     
  10. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    Probably try both... I like both, black tea is more for mellowing in my mind... green tea has this... i don't know how to explain, little bit of a bite.
     
  11. Bink

    Bink Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, green's pretty astringent. Supposed to be especially good for you, at least that's what the price tag says.

    Hope somebody here can give you some tips, or that you muddle through alright yourself. Seems it would be worthwhile. Sorry I can't offer anything useful.
     
  12. culpeper

    culpeper Well-Known Member

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    I like White Tea. It's made from the buds and flowers. It tastes very like Green Tea, and is not for those who like their tea very black and strong. I think if you're going to prepare your own tea, it would be easier to aim for Green or White. The fermentation process which gives ordinary black tea might be too complicated for some - very easy to produce lots of mouldy tea leaves!
     
  13. ellebeaux

    ellebeaux Well-Known Member

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    Hey ZYG,

    this grower is near my house and I highly recommend him:

    http://www.ediblelandscaping.com/Plants/Tea_Camelia.htm

    He states it grows in zones 6b-8 so maybe it will work for you.

    Tea Camelia Care Guide

    Tea Camelia
    Plucking - Cut off twigs with 2-3 of the younger fresher tippy leaves (first flush) then pull off the individual leaves. This also prunes the bush and encourages new growth.

    Withering - Lay the leaves out on a sheet of paper in a warm place for 24 hours to wither and lose about 40% of their moisture. Rolling and DryingJapanese Style Green Tea - Roll the leaves longways as tightly as possible between both hands to produce long twist of whole leaf. Place on a sheet of foil in a warm oven (below 100 degrees Celsius - 212-degrees Fahrenheit) for a maximum of 5 minutes. This dries the leaf and stops further fermentation. Do not burn the tea!

    Orthodox Indian Tea - Roll the leaves in a circular motion using both hands. Press as hard as possible to crush and break the leaves. Put the leaves in a paper bag for a day or two to ferment and lose some of their 'greenness' and develop a drier 'tea character'. Remove any stalk and stem, roll briefly and dry on a sheet of foil in warm oven (below 100 degrees celsius - 212 degrees fahrenheit) for a maximum of 5 minutes. Do not burn the tea!

    Brewing - Both of these processing emthods maintain the leaf size and produce a light tea with natural aroma. One cannot roll the leaves hard enough at home to get a dark strong tea. Place a few leaves in a pot, or Chinese style in a bowl, add boiling water and allow to brew. The liquor should be pale and refreshing. Good Luck!

    Aftercare - Trim as required. The best tea is made from freshly formed young leaves.

    The Camellia Sinensis or Tea Plant is an elegant, hardy evergreen shrub with small white jasmine like flowers. It is slow growing and best kept to about four feet tall by pruning. It like reasonably well-drained neutral to slightly acid soil in sun or semi-shade, or plant in a container using an ericaceous lime-free compost.



    He has tons of other cool plants, too!

    Beaux
     
  14. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Tater's Pa- you're referring to a Melaleuca and they are or should be illegal to plant in Florida, as they are impossible to kill, spread like a wildfire and each one sucks up 180+gallons of water a day...matching the Florida newby immigrants who plant Northern heat tender shrubs and lawns and water them like crazy.... :flame:
     
  15. wvpeach1963

    wvpeach1963 WVPEACH (Paula)

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    Good thread, I may try it in a pot too.

    Tea in a pot that is not Pot in a pot in case big brother is listening.
     
  16. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking of this the other day - i actually found some site you can buy seeds from for about $4. I figure, i'll be doing that - that way, it's a cost effective experiment.