Unusual Vegetable Plants

Pages.

Introduction
About The Author
Aloe Vera
Angelica
Artemesia
Asparagus
Asparagus Pea
Aubergine
Bay Tree
Caraway
Cardoons
Chicory
Chili Peppers
Celeriac
Chives
Cinamon Vine
Coffee
Courgette
Elephant Garlic
Fennel
Florence Fennel
Garlic
Garlic Chives
Ginger
Globe Artichoke
Hamburg Parsley
Hops
Horseradish
Jerusalem Artichoke
Kale
Kohl Rabi
Lemon Balm
Licorice
Marjoram
Marrows
Mushrooms
Nasturtiums
Oca
Okra
Pak Choi
Pumpkin
Radish Mooli
Salsify
Scorzonera
Sea Kale
Squash
Soya Beans
Stevia
Sweet Peppers
Sweet Corn
Sweet Potatoes
Tea
Tobacco
Tomatillo
Tree Onions
Verbena
Vine Leaves
Wasabi
Water Cress
Welsh Onion
Winter Savory
Yacon
Yams         

 

 

Tea

Tea leaves are of course used to make one of the UK's favourite drinks, but until fairly recently there was no possibility of drinking tea made from plants grown in England. Tea actually comes from a Camellia plant called Camellia Sinensis and as we all know Camellias do grow in this country (Camellia Japonica).

As far back as the Second World War Churchill considered trying to grow tea to help the war effort, but the idea was rejected as it takes several years for young plants to reach a suitable size for picking. However, Tea is now being grown commercially on the Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall where the climate is particularly suitable. 

As long ago as two hundred years, tea had been grown in a very small way on the estate, but in 1996, Jonathon Jones, a gardener at Tregothnan, realised that the climate in Cornwall was very similar to Darjeeling as it had lots of rain and a narrow range of temperatures. In 1999 a 20 acre valley was planted and after six years the first commercial crop of 50 kilos was picked in 2005. Tea plants are attacked by a number of pests and diseases in warmer climates, but Cornwall does not have most of them, however it does have plenty of hungry, rabbits, deer and pheasants who appear to love the tender new tea leaf buds!

The Cornish project is undoubtedly a long term one and with a useful production life of 25 - 50 years for tea plants, they have many years harvesting ahead of them and will gain much useful knowledge that may encourage others to try growing tea plants in England as our climate changes and perhaps becomes more suitable.

If left to its own devices evergreen tea plants will grow into a 15 to 30 feet high bush/tree, but to enable the expected harvest, of 1/4 lb of tea leaves per plant to be easily collected, they are usually pruned to keep them down to a height of only 3 - 5 feet. Traditionally grown in a damp climate that is frost free around the Tropics, tea is now also being grown commercially all round the World in countries like Argentina, to parts of Africa and even as far North as parts of the former U.S.S.R.

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