Of course, there are other good reasons to get involved in growing your own herbal teas. It is a wonderfully rewarding way to start your edible garden adventure, make the most of small spaces, and share the joys of home-grown produce. As we discussed during the workshop, growing, propagating, and harvesting some of the basics to kick-start your herb garden is very easy, and perhaps one of the simplest and cheapest ways to grow something edible under tricky conditions. If you don’t have much time to devote to maintaining plants, or else don’t have the space or conditions for much gardening, then a few choice herbs could be a fantastic option. Moreover, in addition to cooking, herbal tea is a rewarding way to enjoy and experiment with your edible plants.
Ticking all the boxes for looks, taste, smell, maintenance and growing conditions, mint is a go-to choice for tea. We began our workshop by talking a bit about the herb spiral which is a major feature of the garden, and mint was one of the first plants recognised by participants. Our herb spiral allows us to position different plants according to their needs. For example, plants like Vietnamese mint, which are used to a warmer climate and regular rainfall, work well higher up and against the black rocks which give shape to the bed and capture the heat well. Other mint varieties have spread around the spiral, and can be found amongst some of the other herbal tea favourites like thyme and lemon balm (helpful tip: if you’re growing mint at home, think about keeping it in a pot, as it can easily spread).
This time at the coop was a great way to finish our herbal tea workshop, and emphasise the creative ways you can put garden produce to use. Hopefully all our volunteers were able to take their chosen herb home, tend to it, and will soon be enjoying their own tea.
Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Food and Nutrients, 2011-12