Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How to Grow Your Own Tea

How to Grow Your Own Tea
Get your daily antioxidant dose by growing tea in your backyard garden.
By Emily Main
Look for the right varietals and plant an easy-to-grow tea plant in your yard.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Tea drinkers may already know that drinking tea may help prevent strokes, heart disease, and cancer, and a report in the most recent Journal of Nutrition states that tea is the number one source of flavonoids (those cancer- and cholesterol-busting antioxidants) in the American diet. But if you're buying your tea at the store, you're missing an opportunity to set yourself up with a lifetime supply of tea that's as fresh and pure as you can make it.

The Camellia plant genus, from which all forms of tea are harvested, is amazingly resilient and adaptable, says Douglas Ruhren, a horticulturist at the American Camellia Society. And while most forms of the camellia bush are decorative, the varieties used to grow tea are getting to be just as popular among home gardeners. "I know a number of people who have camellia nurseries, and for some of them, tea bushes are their biggest-selling camellias."

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