Grow Your Own Tea: The Complete Guide To Cultivating, Harvesting, And Preparing, by Christine Parks and Susan M. Walcott
One of the more intriguing trends of books in the contemporary age is the encouragement to people to cut out the middleman when it comes to the products and services that they would most appreciate. Now, although I have long enjoyed iced tea on a regular basis, I must admit that the thought of growing it and processing it for myself has never seemed particularly appealing to me. To be sure, I know that such a thing can be done. Moreover, this book makes it very plain that not only large amounts of tea can be grown but that it is being grown very close to where I live. This suggests that the growing of tea is more widespread than it is easy to figure out, and also that what is lacking is not so much the ability to raise tea but the interest in people putting forth a lot of effort to grow and process a plant which can be purchased for low prices at stores. Yet for the true locovore, long supply chains of indifferent qualities of tea bags going to Argentina or India or China when a plant can be grown for oneself is unacceptable, thus a book like this.
This book is about 200 pages long and it is divided into two parts and numerous smaller sections. The book begins with a preface and introduction and then the author discusses a world of tea. The author talks about a brief history of tea, before focusing North America and the British isles, and then discusses the tea plant. The rest of the book then focuses on a basic guide to growing and processing tea. This goes in order from planning and planting, caring for your tea plants, growing tea in pots, harvesting and processing tea, gardening with tea, and more fun with tea. This particular discussion is leavened with plenty of discussion of various tea plantations in the United States that do these things as an encouragement to the would-be tea gardener doing tea as an addition to their garden as a shrub or hedge or devoting more space to it as a major crop. After this the book ends with resources and references, acknowledgements, photo and illustration credits, and an index.
Is it worthwhile to grow your own tea? I am not sure that I am the ideal person to ask. At this stage in life I have yet to find my own acreage or set up my own property with a garden. The question would be, do I drink enough tea to make it worth my while to grow some of my own in the hope of getting more skills in such matters? Yes, yes I do enjoy tea well enough that it would be at least potentially worthwhile to make a tea plant part of my own edibles garden. I am not sure how high tea would rank, but it would rank high enough that even in a modest-sized garden a tea plant that was regularly harvested for tea to turn into sweet southern iced tea would be worth it along with other plants like basil or cabbage or carrots or broccoli or something else of that nature. And that is worthwhile enough. This book demonstrates that tea is grown successfully in the area just outside of Salem and that is certainly close enough that it would be feasible elsewhere in the valley with the right care. Whether or not I am skilled enough at gardening is one thing, this book is certainly designed to appeal to a certain audience.