Share your love for Chai with your garden
Gardening season is in full swing. As the temperature is rising, ruby red strawberries are ripening in our berry bed. All the Roses are budding, and the mammoth elephant ears are finally emerging from their bulbs.
Summer is the perfect time to garden under the cool shade of a large maple tree, enjoying the sweet summer breeze on your face. Summer is also the ideal time to eat cooling foods like melons, fennel, and ginger. Yes, ginger root, despite its spicy taste, is a cooling food.
Speaking of ginger and cooling foods, did you know, The Chai Bar's Sugrisma Summer Masala Chai is made with cooling spices to help you "chill" from within. Packed with good-for-you stuff like pepper, ginger, and fennel, this Chilled Chai Brew is the perfect summer pick-me-up.
Stock up; this seasonal blend won't last long.
This month we are all set to launch another limited edition seasonal blend. Arunima, our Citrus Chai, is a refreshing clear black brew. Made using beautiful Kumaon Black Teal Leaves, Lemon and Orange Peels, Ginger, and Marigold. This Chai is for those of us who prefer a crisp drink with a brisk finish. This blend has earthy flavors from Chai, zing from the citrus fruit, saffrony notes from Marigold, and a little bit of cooling heat from the spices. This easy to brew blend is a breeze to make. Simply pop it into a steeper, plop it into a jar of chilled water, refrigerate and enjoy. To add a bit of extra taste and flavor, use this recipe for citrus simple syrup.
We drink about 2 cups of Chai a day, and at The Chai Bar, we try our very best to be a low to no waste brand. This means we want all our packaging to be reusable, recyclable, and eco-friendly. Did you know our blends are packed in beautifully designed tins featuring Warli / Varli folk art? A traditional tribal painting from the Indian state of Maharashtra. Our smaller quantity blends are packed in eco-friendly brown paper bags perfect for retaining freshness without exposing the Chai to bright light.
Since we are trying to be zero waste, we share many DIY with Chai ideas with you guys for fun ways to re-use strained Tea leaves as well as tea tins. Find more DIY with Chai ideas HERE.
This week we are talking about making soil amendments, compost, and other garden-friendly uses for Strained Tea Leaves and other strained Chai.
First things first, we would recommend using strained leaves from Milk free Chai for garden use. Milk and heat do not mix well and can cause mold in your garden soil.
Black Tea has several health benefits. Apart from being a source of caffeine, our blends are full of beneficial botanicals, herbs, and spices. The Chai Bar's blends are free from added colors and flavors. These 100% natural blends are perfect for garden use.
Toss the Tea into your compost pile. If you haven't tried it already, try using your kitchen scraps for composting. It is a great way to fertilize your garden and reduce your waste output. Chai can even speed up composting. Simply make a strong chai (no milk), re-using strained chai leaves, and let this cool; add this drink to your soil dressing compost pile to help speed up the composting process with a nitrogen boost.
Bug Bye Brew:
Did you know, most pesticides harm our friendly neighborhood bees? And while spider mites suck (trust me, I know), it isn't worth it to harm beneficial insects by using strong and harmful chemicals on our green friends.
If you are looking for a cleaner, milder way to repel pests, your strained Tea can help you. You can use the Tea as a "dust" for outdoor plants or a spray/ in soil gnat eliminator. We have a recipe for this HERE.
If you want to perk up your outdoor garden bed, toss Tea into the soil and mix it in. It improves soil structure; earthworms love it. Adding strained Chai to your garden will increase nitrogen levels in the soil every time you water, making your plants lush green.
We love Astrakadir rose Chai, and roses love Chai too. Sprinkle your strained black Tea around the dripline of your rose bush and work it into the soil.
Ferns are all the thing right now, and I have a small army of houseplants from fiddle leaf figs to ficus elastica. Ferns are one houseplant that loves acidic soil. You can use strained Tea to lower the pH level and provide your plants with nutrients. First things first, find out if your indoor/ outdoor plants are acid-loving. If so, use Tea. If not, don't. Using wrong soil amendments can hurt plants.
Here is a shortlist of acid-loving plants to get you started.
Some Acid-loving plants:
sweet corn, cucumbers, beans, broccoli, turnips, squash, onions.
cranberries, blueberries, huckleberries.
evergreens, beech, willow, oak, dogwood.
azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, camellias, daffodils.
Always make sure to do your own research.
For indoor use, brew a mild tea with used strained tea leaves. Add this Tea to your plant pot.
Green Tea leaves can also be used similarly, in compost, to amend outdoor soil or as an indoor tree tea. Some gardeners recommend steeping strained green Tea in a watering can for up to a week, then tossing the leaves in the trash and using the Tea to water plants. We aren't quite as adventurous and have not tried this yet, but if you have, let us know in the comments below.
As for our Herbal Immuni'tea boosters, they can all be tossed into compost or used to amend the soil. Did you know that turmeric is a natural remedy for plant wounds due to its natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties? If you make large cuts or trim your rose bushes, trees, etc., slather on some turmeric paste to help the plant heal and keep out bacteria.
We hope you enjoyed our summer gardening insights. Have a wonderful weekend.
Sargam & Madura.