Grow your own tea - can you do that? The short answer is yes. All tea comes from the same plant (Camellia sinensis) and you can grow your own, if you're so inclined. Now, if you have visions of popping some seeds in the dirt, picking tea leaves a few months later, steeping them and kicking back to marvel at your skill, hold on a minute. It's not quite that simple.
If you're going to make a serious commitment to growing tea with the intention of one day harvesting and drinking it, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost is that harvest day - assuming everything goes well - is not likely to arrive for a few years.
The other important point to consider is location, location, location or perhaps more specifically - climate, climate, climate. Tea is being grown on a modest scale in North America, most notably at the Charleston Tea Plantation in South Carolina, but tea plants thrive better in some climates than others. According to many tea seed and plant suppliers, the best climate zones for tea planting are parts of 6 and 7, 8 and 9.
If you'd like to take a crack at growing tea plants from seed, look here and here for supplies. For a complete kit that includes tea (and coffee) seeds and growing supplies, look here. If you'd prefer to get the jump on growing tea from seeds, order tea plants here.
For some more pointers on growing your own tea plants, refer to the Hawaii Tea Society, whose members have been growing tea on the islands for a number of years. For more on Lindsey "Vee" Goodwin's experiments with growing tea, start with her posts at the VeeTea blog, here and here.
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