Quite a few posts back, I mentioned that I had this wild dream of starting a tea farm on Canada’s west coast. At that time, I was searching for suitable land to plant tea, which for the most part, thrives in warm damp climates. The west coast of Canada is definitely moist and, compared with the rest of the country, quite warm as well, but will tea actually grow and prosper here? I am embarking on a path to find out.
Yesterday, my first kilogram of Camellia assamica seeds arrived fresh from the upper Assam valley. P126 – as it is called, with the P representing the small city of Panitola and the 126 representing the specific hybrid – is a cultivar of the assamica variety known to produce an incredible cup of classic Assam tea, which at some point in the next three to five years I am hoping to share with my local market and fellow tea lovers.
Apparently, the first two years are the hardest to keep the young shoots alive and healthy. The kilo of seeds that arrived contained 455 brown hazelnut-sized balls. If I get them in the ground in the next week or so, the success rate will be much higher than if I wait until spring.
So with that knowledge, our downstairs rec room is turning into a nursery these holidays and through until spring, at which point we will move them to a greenhouse. We’ll make it a family thing – setting up the cups of soil and carefully placing each seed, eye down, into the fresh organic soil.
Then we will wait, and wait some more. And then finally, after about five to six weeks, we should see a sprout breaking the soil surface. Would anyone care to throw out a guess or two as to what my germination success rate will be?
These future tea-producing shrubs will forever be my Christmas trees. They arrived during the onset of this hectic season, and as my gift to them, they will be given a small patch of fresh earth and lots and lots of TLC. My hope is that they will nestle in and begin the cycle of life that we all still find a miracle each and every time it happens.
As I close out this tumultuous year, and look forward to 2011, I would like to thank you – all the readers of T Ching and my fellow posters – for allowing me to share my thoughts and experiences, my deep anguish, and my elation for the leaf through a few simple monthly paragraphs.
We have a great community here at T Ching, and I look forward to sharing a cup of tea (preferably mine ;-)) sometime in the near future with each and every one of you.