Friday, February 3, 2012


Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, is actually an evergreen plant that normally grows in tropical and sub-tropical climates. There are some varieties that can grow in marine climates and are grown as far as Pembrokeshire in the British mainland and Washington state in the United States.

The tea plant is native to East and South Asia. The first recorded consumption of tea as a beverage was in China dating back to the 10th century BC. It became very popular during the Qin Dynasty, 3rd century BC, and spread to Korea and Japan during the Tang Dynasty. The 16th century saw the importation of tea to Europe and in the 19th century, the Chinese began trading tea with the Western world, spreading tea and the tea plant to locations around the world.

It is the leaves that are the product that we purchase for our consumption. After picking, the leaves begin to wilt and oxidize unless they are dried. Without going into a lot of detail, depending on when the leaves are dried determines the type of tea:

White tea - wilted and unoxidized
Yellow tea - unwilted and unoxidized, but allowed to yellow
Green tea - unwilted and unoxidized
Oolong - wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized
Black tea - wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized
Post-fermented tea: Green tea that has been allowed to ferment/compost

The white, green and black teas are the more popular teas, here in the states and some are blended with various flavors for a more enjoyable beverage. The white and green have more antioxidants than that of the black tea due to the processing of the leaves.

Myself, I love a good white tea. This is enjoyable anytime of day and is very refreshing. Try to avoid the off brand names unless you have prior experience with it or someone you know has personally recommended it. White teas are a little more expensive but well worth it.

For summertime drinks, nothing tastes as good as a cold glass of iced tea. I like sun tea. Take a few orange pekoe (used in the Western region to describe a genre of black teas) tea bags and plop them in a gallon jar with cold water, stick on the lid and set it out in the sun for an hour or so. Add ice, lemon, a little sugar for the sweet tooth, maybe a sprig of mint and voilĂ !! Refreshment!!

Well, I started all this because I love old teapots! I have several Hall teapots, one that was my mothers, a beautiful blue moriage teapot, a couple of little individual teapots and one from Currier & Ives. All are special because they were given to me by my family and I would have many more if I had the room. In fact, I was drooling when I was browsing through the ads!! Just take a look!!

Vintage PURINTON Teapot 4 cup IVY & RED BLOSSOM from MoreRivetHead84! Resembles my cookie jar, just a little different!!

Vintage Shawnee Pottery Teapot With Purple Flowers from RoundPrairie2! I think this matches my cookie jar and pitcher!!

So, if you're looking for a nice, old teapot to serve that tea, or even a new one, check out! Great prices, great deals, great sellers! You won't be disappointed!!

Thank you!

Veggie planting part 2..

Sowing seeds directly in your garden
"Unless you live in an area where summers are really short, you're better off sowing some types of vegetables directly in a garden. Large-seeded, fast-growing vegetables, such as corn, melons, squash, beans, and peas, usually languish if they're grown in containers for even a day or two too long.
Before direct seeding, make sure that the soil has dried out sufficiently before you work it, and be sure that the soil is warm enough for the seeds that you want to plant. Pea seeds, for example, germinate in soil as cool as 40°F (4°C), and you can plant them as soon as you can work the soil in spring. Squash seeds, on the other hand, need warmth. If your soil temperature is much below 65°F (18°C), the seeds are likely to rot in the ground before they sprout. The best way to determine the temperature of your soil is to use a soil thermometer, which you can buy at a garden store.
You can plant seeds in a variety of patterns. The method that you choose depends on your climate, your tools, and your taste:
  • Row planting: Mark the placement of a row within your garden, and then make a furrow at the correct depth along the row. Some seeds may not sprout, so sow seeds more thickly than you want the final spacing of the crops to be. Thinning rows is less of a chore if you space seeds as evenly as possible. Cover the seeds with fine soil and then firm them in with the back of a hoe to make sure that all the seeds are in contact with the soil. Water gently. If you plan to use furrow irrigation, fill the furrows with water first and then push the large seeds into the top of raised beds.
  • Wide row planting: This method allows you to plant more seeds in less space by concentrating watering, weeding, and fertilizing in a smaller area. Rows are generally 10 to 16 inches (25 to 41 cm) wide. Sprinkle seeds over the entire row — with most crops, try to land the seeds about 1/2 to 1 inch (1 to 2 cm) apart. For peas and beans, space them 1-1/2 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm). Cover small seeds with a thin layer of potting soil. Lightly pat the potting soil down again to bring the added soil into firm contact with the seeds.
  • Bed planting: Planting in beds is essentially the same as planting wide rows.
  • Hill planting: Plant seeds for vining crops that spread out, such as squash, melons, or cucumbers, in hills or circular groups. Loosen the soil in a 1-foot-diameter (30 cm) area, level the area, and then plant five to six seeds close together. Thin out all but the two strongest seedlings.
    If your soil is heavy, you may want to plant in a raised hill, or mound. The raised soil warms up more quickly than the surrounding soil and drains better. Just don't let the mound dry out!
Soon after seedlings grow their second set of true leaves, you need to thin them out to avoid overcrowding. (The first set of leaves that a seedling produces are called seed leaves or cotyledon,which are followed by the true leaves.) When you thin plants, either discard the extra seedlings or move them to another part of your garden.
Newly transplanted seedlings need extra attention until they get established. Shade them from the hot sun for a day or two and be sure to keep them well watered."
I think my problem the most last year was the soil temp. Of the many seeds we planted, very few sprouted..and it was quite cold and damp during the spring and early summer.. Gotta get them started early this year!

Here's a few more interesting things I've found at!

From bizebee this great dehydrator! 

Make money from your gardening! Awesome Salad Bar from  nyminuteman

Yummy glass fruit from curiocache!