Marian Carcache: Warm tea on cool days helps the flowers grow in Spring

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All my life I’ve heard of the “Easter snap,” the cold snap that hits right before Easter, usually after a false spring of beautiful blooms and a run of warm days. Last week I wore sleeveless dresses, and here I am again wearing sweaters during the day and flannel pajamas to keep warm at night. But a weekend trip to Lowe’s assured me that hope is alive, and that I am not the only person with a hankering for warm weather and to start planting flowers, herbs, and vegetables.

Almost like a sign, when I opened my email this morning, I had a timely message from Bigelow Tea Company explaining how to start seeds in used tea bags. So in spite of the cold snap, I decided to start some seeds inside to transplant when warm weather is here to stay.

For best results, place moist tea bags (that have been prepared as usual with boiling water) on a tray lined with unbleached paper towels. Make a slit in each bag large enough to push 2-3 seeds into, slightly covering seeds with the tea leaves. Place the tea bags with seeds in a sunny area and wait for the seeds to sprout. Be sure to keep the paper towel under the tea bags moist. Don’t pour water directly onto bag, but rather onto the paper towel under it. Depending on temperature, water, and exposure to sun, the seeds should start to sprout in 10-15 days. When the sprouts appear, plant the entire tea bag in a container or raised bed. As the plants grow, the tea bags become compost.

Tea adds nitrogen to the soil, and supposedly, acid-loving plants thrive when watered with weak tea. Also the word on the street is that earthworms find used tea bags to be a special treat. 

Enjoy a lovely cup of tea during the chilly Easter snap, but keep in mind that the garden will be growing soon.

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