Garden · Week in Review

In Review: Why I Save Spent Tea Bags


IMG_20170423_162438.jpgOver the years, I’ve slowly started to gravitate towards a bit more of a live and let live mentality when it comes to my garden. I’m not 100% organic yet because its a hard transition to make but I do find myself fussing less with certain things. I’m not manic about weeding anymore (plant a good groundcover) and I don’t obsess about the birds eating some of my blueberries. But I do try to be considerate about the kitchen waste we produce and find ways to re-use it.

We drink a lot of tea. A lot. Daily, I’ll probably make at least three cups. My S.O. is big on iced tea (because he doesn’t spend all day in a freezing office) so we’ll make a giant container on the weekends for him to take to work. Add St. Louis summertime heat to the mix, and we go through tons of tea bags.

So I started researching ways to reduce all that waste. We don’t currently have a compost bin (working on it) but, as it turns out, you don’t need one to re-use your tea leaves. The tannins in tea make it suitable for acid-loving plants like ferns, roses, hydrangeas, viburnums and blueberries. I let my tea bags dry out (it’s easier to sprinkle them), cut them open and then mulch around my plants as needed. You can also sprinkle them on houseplants or turn them into the soil when planting with a mix of compost. If you don’t want to open up used bags, you can also use them to line the bottom of newly potted plants for drainage. In any case, watering will leach their nutrients into the soil for the roots to soak up.


P.S. These tips also work for coffee grounds- if you’re a coffee drinker, turn them into your soil or sprinkle around your acid-loving plants for an added boost!

For a list of edibles that enjoy acid soils, check out this handy list.


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