One of the reasons, many choose to plant their own garden, is to enjoy the freshness of the produce, cut the costs of purchasing produce, and/or to have control over what goes into it. However, it’s an added cost and can be an environmental hazard to purchase and use fertilizers and/or pesticides to grow and maintain your garden.
Luckily, we (and our fellow tea lovers), have much of what we need in the palm of our hands (or mug).
Using tea, we can make a positive change on the environment and our gardens; all by using natural solutions and recycling our used tea leaves! The best part? Without a lot of work, and a few slight tweaks, you can make a positive impact. Below are some fun and creative ways to get started today!
Recycle Your Used Leaves
Tea leaves have the chance to provide many positive benefits to our soil. Why waste space in a landfill? Instead of throwing your used tea leaves out, add them to your compost pile. In addition to other compostable foods, they make a beneficial addition to the soil in your garden, orchards, and plant beds! Additionally, the majority of The Spice & Tea Exchange’s teas are sold loose-leaf, so there are no worries on whether or not your tea bag is environmentally friendly or degradable (many contain harsh chemicals).
Use for a Seed Starter
Did you know that tea leaves are very nutrient-rich and make for a great addition and nitrogen-boost (specifically green tea) to your soil? Add used tea leaves into your soil to help seeds get started, or add them on top for existing plants. For seeds just starting off, you can also soak seeds in cold brewed tea before planting them, as the tannins help soften the casings.
Create a Natural Insecticide
In addition to teas benefits to the soil, many teas have been used to ward off insects. Popular choices include: tea leaves infused with lavender and mint. In this case, it’s best to spray brewed tea over top of the plants to make sure the entire plant is covered. You may also try adding used tea on top of your soil (will still help, but not be as effective).
Benefits of Using Single Estate Teas*
While tea (from the Camellia sinensis plant) has shown to be beneficial to your garden and soil; when you use a blend of ingredients (such as tea with flavoring added or an herbal tea), it makes it harder to gauge the effectiveness. As a result, we recommend sticking to single estate teas (Darjeeling Tea, International Breakfast Tea, Golden Monkey Tea, Iron Goddess of Mercy Tea, Jade Cloud Green Tea, and Ruby Oolong Tea) or single-ingredient herbal teas (such as lavender or peppermint)! You are welcome to try other tea blends, but make sure to carefully monitor their effects on the specific plant or soil, before covering your full garden/yard/plant bed in them, as the many variations have not yet been studied.
*A single estate tea is defined as a tea that comes from only one tea estate, region, or garden (simply put, tea not blended with other teas or additional ingredients).
Can’t Get Enough Tea?
Love that tea is natural and good for you and want to be able to use it in more ways than drinking or in your yard? Tea leaves made great deodorizers ~ sprinkle them in litter boxes, add them in a bowl in the fridge, or sprinkle them on the carpet then vacuum. Tea (blends) also make great aroma additions ~ use as potpourri, use in Cotton Bags as a car air freshener or drawer sachet, or try DIY projects such as tea soaps or hair rinses.