Mar 28 2015 In Tea Journal By Kenneth Roberts
How To Grow Vitamin-Rich Tea Gardens
Customers often ask us what they can do with old tea leaves, whether loose leaves that have lost their great olfactory presence through prolonged storage (or storage in less than prime conditions), or remnants from other teas. If you're a gardener, you don't have to let those leaves go to waste! Last year I grew some tomatoes using a bunch of staled tea as compost. I was blown away by the incredible flavors!
You see, teas—whether white, green, oolong or black—contain a highly bioavailable level of calcium, zinc, folic acid, phenolic acid, manganese, potassium and a nice complement of B-complex vitamins. Many of the herbals we work with contain a very wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals as well. These nutrients enrich the soil, and are beneficial in boosting photosynthesis, improving plant health, and aiding in flower and fruit development and flavor.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying my tomatoes tasted like the peach apricot tea I composted (although growing flowers and herbs near tea bushes has been done for thousands of years to infuse subtle flavor notes like Jasmine and Chrysanthemum). It was the vitamin and mineral-rich addition of tea leaves to the soil that created a great-tasting miracle of nature.
Composting your tea leaves is just one of the many uses for tea that go far beyond infusing. Whether or not it's Earth Day, it’s always a good time to think about ways to reduce (the money you spend buying fertilizer), reuse (old tea) and recycle (nutrients back into the soil). When you save your old or even steeped tea leaves and compost them, you add a layer of love and deliciousness to your yield in the garden, all while saving money. And just watch what tea can do for your flower blooms! It’s a great, natural way to increase the nutritional value of your soil. To that end, whenever you come in to visit, just ask if we have any Compost Tea.