Tea Growing: Chapter 3: Winter

(This is part of a series of posts. For a preparatory class, check out the post “Tea Growing: Intro Post.” This particular post was written in January 2019.)

Winter, already? You might be asking. But I started writing this manuscript in November, and it’s January now, and you too might have started to get into gardening in fall without realizing you were going to be REALLY BORED during the next few months.

You’ll want to go ahead and put plants to the ground because GARDENING. Don’t do it.

Trust me: they’ll die, and you’ll have wasted money and time on plants that were destined to die.

But what can I do while my green thumb is so itchy, you ask? PLAN FOR SPRING! For instance, this winter I have identified the plants I want to grow next year, and I’ve planned out what containers they’ll go in or what areas of the garden they’ll go in. I’ve also bought some seed packets, because I’m impatient like that. The biggest thing about winter gardening is to practice patience and to plan.

Next year I plan to get a greenhouse set up in time to overwinter plants. Because I hate being patient and not growing anything during the Danger of Frost season.

So: in spring I will sow lavender, chamomile, peppermint, and lemon balm. I chose these herbs because they are the stars of my favorite tea blends, with medicinal properties that I want to explore. Coupled with my existing raspberry, CES Jr and rosemary plants, these should be a good exploration into the tea-growing world.

I have also purchased a second packet of lavender seeds, these a different variety from the one I’ll grow for tea. This second variety is going to be my exploration into growing A FIELD OF LAVENDER. It’ll start as a row, at the side of the front yard. Looking out my window over a glorious field of lavender has been a recent obsession of mine, and if I can make a row work what, I ask you, what more can I do?!

I was also gifted a highbush blueberry plant this Yule, and have put it in the ground because its tag said it would be fine. There should be plenty of time before a hard ground frost (weeks at least, if we even get one in Zone 8 this year) for its roots to acclimate and recover from the stress of shipping and planting. I mention this plant because it is now my fifth blueberry plant (yay!) and because I needed to amend the soil before planting it. THIS IS IMPORTANT. If your tag, website, guide, whatever says your plant needs a certain pH or peat moss in the hole or WHATEVER, DO IT. Don’t think it’ll just be fine in normal soil. It might, but it probably won’t.

This is also relevant because some plants like to be mulched overwinter, some don’t care, some want pruning in fall, some like to be hacked down in the spring. The down-seasons are a great time to study up on your plants and learn what kind of maintenance they’ll need or what you can start doing to your soil NOW to make your plants super happy in spring.

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