How much tea would a tea bush yield, if a tea bush could yield tea? That’s the way the nursery rhyme goes, right?
A few days ago, we had an interesting conversation about tea bush yield on our USLTG Facebook page and we thought that since we have so many new tea growers, this information might be great to get out to everyone!
Nicole: I was considering growing tea and am having difficulty finding out just how much 1 bush would yield?
USLTG (Jason McDonald): I am not an expert, but, if a typical acre yields 900 kg of tea a year, and there are roughly 4500 plants per acre, then the average yield of a plant is 200 grams or nearly half a pound per year. This, of course, depends on multiple factors like soil pH, climate, variety, vigor, husbandry, etc. So, it is not easily determinable how much per plant is produced as around the world, tea is usually grown from small gardens to huge plantations, not just single plants. The USLTG recently set the lowest number of plants to be considered a “grower” at 25. If grown in traditional commercial spacing, 26 plants will only need 180 sq ft (6′ x 30′).
USLTG (Nigel Melican): I once managed 500 bushes in a greenhouse in England . We achieved about 150 grams of tea from each plant. As Jason says, it varies a great deal depending on conditions and bush size. Making an accurate estimate for a particular location without knowing all the growth determining factors is like looking at your two year old child and guessing how tall he or she will grow at maturity.
So there you have it! A little nugget to start the conversation for our tea growing pals. How much tea are your bushes yielding and how are you increasing the quantity/quality of that yield?
I am taking orders now for cold hardy Georgian (Russian) tea seed parented by famous Soviet cultivar, Kokhida. Our first batch of 70,000 seeds sold out before it arrived in the USA. To confirm your order, please email Nigel Melican at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minimum order is 100 seeds.
100 to 900 is $26 per 100
1000 to 4,900 is $22 per 100
5,000+ seed is $19 per 100
**Packing/shipping costs are additional and based on quantity of seeds purchased. All orders subject to release by USDA inspection at port of entry.
A letter to our growers, retailers, supporters, and enthusiasts:
We are in the process of writing a federal grant that if funded will provide 5 years of research at three different institutions. The title is: A systems approach to improve production, germplasm, and economic return for growing tea, an emerging specialty crop industry in the U.S. This is a great opportunity to get research goals, that we determined at the Round-up, funded. If funded, it would include 3 institutions with around 14 researchers! For this grant the funding agency has requested letters of support from industry stake holders. It would be great if each of you could write a letter stating that you support tea research and a little information on the industry.
Here are some key points that we would like to have in the letters:
-Impact tea has nationally and regionally
-Your role in the tea industry
-Potential market that tea is/could be in the US
-Need for research
-Specifically production, cultivar development, economic analysis, environmental benefit
-How research, that would develop the industry, could benefit you as producers/retailer
-Social benefits of tea for producers and consumers
-Involvement of USLTG and researchers in identifying and developing research goals
–The title: A systems approach to improve production, germplasm, and economic return for growing tea, an emerging
specialty crop industry in the U.S. Letters must state the title.
The goal is to show that the industry is viable and should be researched. We would really like to have letters from vendors as well as growers to show that there is an industry.
Letters should be addressed to: Dr. Guihong Bi. Letters can be emailed to me and we will compile them to be submitted with the pre-application. I know it is short notice but please email them to me by Monday March 23 at 5pm central time.
I’m sure people thought we were off our rockers when they noticed on the schedule that the final day of our Tea Grower’s Round-up would take us to a blueberry farm. But everything has a rhyme and reason! So, we hopped in our cars and made the trek to Poplarville, MS, home of J&D Blueberry Farm. Jeff and Don, owners of the farm, decided to experiment 5-6 years ago and planted tea plants on their farm. The thriving plants have reached maturity and are a really great example of how tea can be grown in Mississippi successfully and a pleasant reminder of why growing tea is an excellent calculated risk in this area!
Final day of the Tea Growers Round-up!
We’d like to take a second to thank every single one of our farmers that attended and continue to share the message of tea growing in the US. Your collaboration and enthusiasm continues to strengthen tea growing across America. A huge thank you to our presenters for the information they diligently gathered and shared. May we use it wisely! Thank you to all of the supporters that sent us swag for the bags! Lisa Boalt Richardson, Buddy Lee and PDSI, Camellia Shop Nursery, Tealet, MSU, SerendipiTEA, and Joy’s Teaspoon. A giant thank you to Josephie Dean Jackson, East Texas Tea Company, for her hospitality in Texas. Ya’ll are the best. And a whopping thank you to Jason McDonald, of The Great Mississippi Tea Company, and current President of the USLTG, for unleashing this Round-up idea and then putting the wheels into motion!
We look forward to seeing many of you at the next meeting of the USLTG. Mark your calendars for May 7, 2015, at the World Tea Expo in Long Beach, CA. The meeting will be held from 1:30PM – 2:30PM in a room TBD. An official meeting announcement with the location details will be sent out closer to the date.
Also, if you missed our earlier treks through Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, you can read about them here: Texas, MS (Day 1), and MS (Day 2)!
Our time in East Texas and Day 1 in Mississippi were packed with information, but Day 2 in Mississippi wasn’t a walk in the tea field! Actually, it was. Bad analogy.
Day 2 in Mississippi allowed us to continue/wrap-up some of our previous discussions in prior meetings. A nominating committee was formed and election dates were chosen. We finalized what the membership structure will look like and created a “Founders Level”. Details regarding both will be going out to members soon. Once the business was wrapped, we ventured back out into the wilds of Mississippi.
What Is a County Extension Agent by Rebecca Bates
Limited Liability Law by Senator Sally Doty
Researcher Roundtable with representatives from MSU, LSU, Teacraft, Ltd. (Brookhaven, MS)
After the Researcher Roundtable, we then went on a tour of MSU’s Truck Crops Experiment Station, located in Crystal Springs, MS. This facility is a research site for the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funded Tea Field Trial.
To wrap up the business portion of the day, there was also an extensive discussion held regarding what is being done with tea here in the US and progress around the world.