Growing tea is a very long term project but it’s been a while since we have updated on the progress of our SUKI tea garden located in the grounds of ‘Just Live A Little’ farm and granola factory on the shores of Strangford Lough on the Ards Peninsula, Northern Ireland.
The tea planting guru, Nigel Mellican, who helped with the initial phase of the ‘Grow Tea NI’ project, once told me that, ‘the best thing to put on the land is the farmer’s boots’. Annie and I, and the good folk at Just Live A little had been putting in our hours, but we soon realised we needed an expert eye on the job. We live a long distance from the tea garden and frequent monitoring of progress and hands on approach was always going to be the key to its success.
On reaching out for a few local keen gardeners, we found some and immediately we knew that the tea garden would be in safe hands!
Our gardening team has helped with nurturing and caring for the seedlings and nursery plants under polytunnel, and with providing the ideal conditions for these to flourish, and with transplanting these out into the Tea Garden. Maintaining correct temperature, light intensity, humidity, airing of plants and watering is key to successful tea nursery management. Active growth requires night temperatures to remain above 10°C and day temperatures to remain below 30°C. we have now worked to harden the plants for planting out, prepping the ground, and planting out over 500 plants, keeping them irrigated and recently creating a protective wind shield for imminent wintry days.
History in the making or a bonkers idea?
SUKI Tea Garden Update 2021: Our little Camellia sinensis tea plants, grown from Nepalese seed in Portaferry, Northern Ireland are growing fast and well on their way to becoming cups of tea. We’ve had a great summer and with the support of the team at @justlive_little they’re all very healthy.
Did you know you can now stay on the tea garden! Check out @the_hideaway_portaferry on Instagram for the ultimate Staycation!