One of my latest gardening pursuits has been growing my own tea! I love a nice cup of herbal tea when I’m not feeling well, or just to relax in the evening. While teas can be purchased rather inexpensively using sales and coupons, I find it can also be pretty frugal to grow your own. Plus the flavor of tea when the ingredients are just-picked and grown organically can be really hard to beat!
Last year, I planted these German Chamomile seeds in a container in my garden. The cool thing about chamomile? It self seeds! That means this year, the flowers just came right on back up – without me having to do anything about it!
I’ve become a big fan of perennials and plants that are self sufficient like this because you’ll get a bigger bang for your buck as the plants won’t need to be replaced year after year.
Chamomile is ridiculously easy to grow. In fact, I think I hardly watered this container in spring and the plants thrived anyways. I also noticed that these flowers like being picked. I started harvesting them a couple weeks ago, and it would seem the more I picked, the more new buds would flower!
I first made sure to wash my hands thoroughly, and then I gently snipped them using my fingers from directly behind the flower bud (I didn’t want any stems). I decided NOT to wash my flowers. I figure that I’ve not used any chemicals on them and that they’ve not touched dirt. They are so delicate, I’d rather chance a little bit of dirt in the processing anyways than stripping them of their oils.
Last year I used a dehydrator which worked OK, but this year I decided I wanted to use a more natural process of drying. I picked up this splatter screen for a buck at the Dollar Store last year, and then simply laid it over this wine crate (which I picked up for $5 at the wine store in Federal Way). I’ve been adding more flowers to the screen as they’ve come ready.
One of the joys of gardening is getting to enjoy your food FRESH! While I’ll definitely enjoy my dried chamomile flowers through the fall, I decided to whip up a cup of tea using fresh chamomile flowers the other day. It’s really hard to describe what the difference in flavor is – the freshly picked, organic flowers produce a rich, almost fruit-flavored tea that is absolutely delicious and refreshing!
To do this, you’ll need about 2-3 tablespoons of freshly picked chamomile.
Add to a cup of hot water and allow to steep for a few minutes. Strain using a tea strainer or do as I do – pour it through a pour-over coffee holder lined with a filter.
Chamomile is a great plant to grow if you are short on space because it grows so well in a container! And, you don’t need a lot of it to enjoy tea. I found German Chamomile-Organic seeds on Amazon this morning for $2.99 + $0.99 shipping from the Seattle Seed Co. This seems to me a pretty fair price, especially factoring in the cheap shipping. If you end up buying 5 or more items from Seattle Seed on Amazon, they’ll waive the shipping. (It looks like they have a VERY solid seller rating, too!)
Gardening doesn’t just have to be about growing zucchini and tomatoes. I hope my post today inspired you to think about growing your own tea! Other herbs, such as mint and lemon balm, can also be grow in containers and small spaces for the purpose of fresh tea.
Do you grow your own tea? Have you ever smelled fresh chamomile flowers or used them for other purposes in your home? I’d love to hear about it!