how to grow tea, how to grow herbs, bergamot, bergamot tea, cassie liversidge, homegrown tea
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The Tea House Times Guest Blog featuring CASSIE LIVERSIDGE, Photo Credit: Mischa Haller

April 2014 Posts

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  The Tea House Times Guest Blog - Cassie Liversidge
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Top Tea to Grow this Month: Bergamot by Cassie Liversidge

Monday, April 7th 2014 @ 9:09 AM

Bergamot (Monarda) is a wonderful plant to have in your garden. You can make a delicious relaxing tea from its leaves and flowers and it will also provide bees with an important source of nectar.

The common name for Monarda didyma (pictured above) is Red Bee Balm. Earl Grey Tea is not made from this bergamot plant, but from the fruit from the bergamot orange plant (Citrus bergamia) being infused into the Camellia sinensis leaves. The plants are not related.

There are many different types of Monarda to grow, so ask a quality seed company to recommend a variety most suited to your climate and location. It is not a difficult plant to grow from seed. It belongs to the Lamaiceae or mint family, so bear this in mind as it can take over a small garden if not contained. Sow the seeds thinly into a tray of seed sowing compost and cover them with a thin layer of compost. Keep moist at all times and make sure there is good ventilation. Keep the seed tray somewhere warm and light. Pot up the seedlings once the roots have just started to show through the bottom of the tray. Mix in some perlite or fine grit to help improve drainage if you are planting it into a container. If you have lots of space in your garden you can plant your bergamot outside in a part shaded position, but remember the flowers can reach 3ft tall so plant towards the back of a border.

By the late summer your plants should be large enough to harvest your first bergamot tea. You can use bergamot fresh or dried. Put five leaves and a few broken flowers into a teabag or teapot and pour on boiled water. Cover with a lid and infuse for three minutes. Then enjoy this flavoursome and relaxing herbal tea. Find more information on bergamot, and all the other teas in my tea blog, in my book Homegrown Tea, available 3/25/14 everywhere books are sold.

~Cassie Liversidge

 

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CASSIE LIVERSIDGE was born in the UK and studied fine art at Plymouth University. She grew up on her parents’ plant nursery, where her love of gardening began. Her debut book, Pasta Sauce! Grow Your Own Ingredients, came from a desire to share her passion for eating homegrown food and living in a more sustainable way. She lives and works in London with her husband and two sons, but spends time in New York each year.
Cassie is author of Homegrown Tea, released March 2014. Visit her website at cassieliversidge.com

 

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