Oct 23 2019

Outdoor Tea Growing Will Require Security Cameras Without Internet

I mentioned previously that I had started my own indoor tea garden. I thought it was time for an update. It has been going so well, that I’ve decided I want to expand. I now want to grow tea outdoors as well, so that I can increase production by a large magnitude.

Of course this presents a number of problems. One is the climate. Outdoors I can’t control it, while indoors I have full control over it. The other is security. Anyone can come in and just steal my tea plants. I’m going to need a full security system.

However, the land on which I want to grow my tea is in the middle of nowhere. There is no Wi-Fi there, so I need a security system that works without Internet. I wasn’t sure if that was even possible, but it turns out it is. I just have to sacrifice a few things. Security systems that run without Wi-Fi record to a hard drive locally, but you cannot look at the feed from a remote location.

Security camera running without internet connection

What this means is that I can’t simply view the cameras on my phone or computer at home, whenever one of my motion sensors goes off. I have to trust that my fake security cameras and my floodlights will scare the intruders away. Or I have to call the cops to go investigate. Because there is no Wi-Fi, I can’t view it in real-time myself. I would have to wait until I can get on site and review the recordings.

There is a way around this and that is to wire the system into cable or to use cell phone signals. There is no cell reception out there, however, so that won’t work either. It’s a bit of a conundrum, so I will definitely have to think about the security situation.

Other problems are just the difference between growing indoors and outdoors. Indoors I was growing using LED grow lights and I had full control over everything. This ensured that I got great results every time. Outdoors, the weather will have a huge effect on my results. There will also be many days when the plants don’t get enough light. I can’t use grow lights outdoors, after all.

From these reasons, I’m afraid that my tea will not turn out that great when I grow it outdoors. The other reason, of course, is it the climate in my area is not as conducive to growing tea as it is in locations where it is grown currently, like China or Japan or Taiwan or India or Kenya.

These countries have high humidity and many of the locations where the tea is grown also get a lot of cloud cover. These conditions are important for the tea. It also needs a decent amount of sunlight too, though this is not quite as important. The main thing you need is the humidity. And it’s just not that humid where I live.

Nevertheless, I think I’m going to move forward. This means that I’m currently researching security systems. I found a number of companies that offer do-it-yourself systems, like Lorex, and I think that’s actually who I will go with. They are a bit more expensive, but they seem to be high-quality and the cameras work with or without Wi-Fi.

I will have to get power out there to keep the security cameras and the hard drives running, but I need to get power out there anyways for a lot of the equipment I need for the tea.

In order to get good distinguished leaves, I’m going to need to process it on site and that will definitely require some power. I don’t want to use the old-school processing techniques, at least not the completely old-school ones. The processing I will do will be based on old-school methods, but it will involve some technology to speed the process up. The result will hopefully be some wonderful distinguished tea leaves.

Mar 11 2018

What Makes An Oolong Tea Distinguished?

This is a question we get a lot on this site. Probably more than any other question. We’re constantly being asked what, exactly, makes oolong tea distinguished. We also get asked why we focus specifically on oolong teas and not on other teas. Can’t other tea types be distinguished as well? We will answer some of these frequently asked questions today.

distinguished loose tea leaves

Let’s get to the last one first. Yes, other tea types can be distinguished as well. There are distinguished black teas and green teas and white tees and yellow tees and pu-erh, just like there are distinguished oolong tees.

The reason we focus on oolong on the site is that it is, apart from pu’er, the most delicate and expensive of all the tea types. There are oolong tees that come from one of four famous bushes. Those bushes have since been cloned and are grown in a lot of places in China, but they are also just clones of the same four famous bushes. And tea from on of those special four bushes is insanely pricey. As the bushes are used to grow only oolong tea, no other tea has this distinction.

Oolong tea is also the variety with the most depth of flavor. The flavor profile is much more complex than the other tees. This is due to the fact that oolong tea is kind of in the middle between green tea and black tea. It combines qualities of both.

And because it is in the middle, there are a lot of different varieties of oolong tea in terms of flavor. Much more so than with the other teas. Some oolong teas can be very close to the black tea end of the spectrum, while others are much closer to the green tea end. We’ve covered this before when we talked about greenish teas like tie guan yin and very black oolong tees like da hong pao.

In fact, we have a whole separate article just on big red robe tea (dahongpao). The reason for that is that it is perhaps the most distinguished of all the oolong teas. Read the article to find out why that is.

Tea growing region, of course, plays a large role in how famous and distinguished a tea becomes. Tea from the more famous regions is naturally much more sought after and much more expensive.

And when I mentioned growing my own tea in an indoor garden using artificial grow lighting, as I did in the past few articles, this is the kind of tea I intend to grow. I don’t just want to grow some generic tea. I want to take all the advantages of growing indoors, where you can control basically everything, and use them to grow an extremely distinguished tea. I want to eventually grow the best tea in the world. Wouldn’t that be something? If tea snobs all over the world were drinking a tea that was grown under my LED grow lights? That would be hilarious.

Feb 14 2017

What Type Of Grow Light Is Best For My Tea Garden?

In my previous post, I talked about growing your own tea. Specifically I talked about growing tea indoors in a small grow tent. I know it’s been a really long time since that post, so let’s begin this one with a quick recap.

tea leaves after being harvested from a garden

Basically, I had gotten a lot of questions from people about whether it was possible to grow tea indoors. I figured it was, but I did research and found that there are actually quite a few people doing this already.

I recommended a smaller grow tent, because I assumed most of my readers would be starting out small with only a few plants. If you’re making a larger garden, you would use a much larger tent or you could just use a room in your home. Naturally you could grow it outdoors, too, but only if you have the appropriate climate in your area.

Tea needs high humidity and a lot of rain to grow properly. The weather can’t be too cold either, but it can be high altitude weather in a subtropical climate. All of the world’s good oolong teas are grown in such areas: Darjeeling in India, Fujian in China and the mountains of Taiwan.

Growing indoors, the two main things you need to worry about are water and light. Plants need both to grow and when they are outdoors they get that naturally. But indoors they either get no light at all or insufficient light, so you will have to give them some artificial lighting to make up for the lack of natural sunlight. They don’t get any water, so you have to provide all of that.

In the previous post I mentioned two types of lights. I mentioned LED grow lights and fluorescent lights. Both are great for tea. The other options like ceramic metal halide or regular metal halide are probably not worth dealing with for a small grower. They give off a lot of heat and use a lot of energy. Plus, if you use them, someone might notice your high energy usage and you could have the police knocking on your door, thinking you are growing marijuana. You don’t want that.

High-pressure sodium bulbs make no sense, because they are mainly for flowering, with a reddish spectrum. Tea plants don’t need to flower. They only need to grow, so you would want a light with more blue spectrum light. LEDs are great because you can get them with any spectrum you want and they use less power and they give off less heat. Much less actually than metal halide lights. The drawback is that they cost a lot. That said, it is possible to get quite reasonably priced ones. Check out Grow Light Info for great reviews of the best inexpensive grow lights on the market.

Since tea plants don’t need to flower, however, fluorescent lights might actually make a lot of sense. For a small garden that is. For larger garden, you have to buy a lot of them in they end up using a lot of power and giving off a lot of heat. They are actually less efficient than metal halide lights in this regard, but because they are generally weaker, you will notice until you have a lot of them.

They also needs to have their bulbs changed often, so that adds to the expense. LEDs do not need these bulb changes. You can grow with them for 7 to 10 years without ever having to change the bulbs. At least for quality ones. If you buy a really cheap one from China, you might be changing the bulbs much more quickly. More likely, it simply won’t grow.

In conclusion, I stick by my recommendation from last time. I made that one hastily, but I’ve done a lot of research since. I still think LED grow lights are the way to go. Check out Grow Light Info and get one of the lights they recommend. That is probably the best way to spend your money on these things. They are much less expensive than the highest quality lights, but they are still high-quality enough to do the job. And that’s really all you need for a small tea garden, isn’t it?

Sep 25 2016

Grow Your Own Tea In A Small Grow Tent

Have you ever wanted to grow your own tea? Well, now you can.

First, let me ask you what you’re picturing when I mentioned growing your own tea. Is it one of those huge plantations you see in photos from China or India? Or are you picturing a smaller version of that in your backyard?

It really doesn’t need to be either of them. In fact, you can grow tea even if you don’t have a backyard. How is that possible? Indoor growing.

That’s right, just like some people grow herbs indoors or their own vegetables, you can also grow tea in a little indoor grow tent. Not many people know this.

freshly grown tea leaves

Fresh tea leaves after harvesting

And it’s not all that hard to grow, really. You just need to keep the temperature and the humidity fairly consistent, but there isn’t one specific “tea growing environment”.

Famous teas around the world come from all different climates. There are teas from hot and humid low lands in India and China and there also teas that come from the Highlands. They grow in the mountains in China or India or Nepal.

One thing they do have in common is a lot of humidity and a lot of rainfall. So you’d want to keep your grow space humid, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be hot. It can be pretty cool, in fact. You want to make sure that it stays about the same all the time, so you would have to control it somehow.

Apart from that you just need some pots to put the tea plants in and then a nice growing space. An ideal growing space would be isolated from the environment. A greenhouse would work, but even better is a grow tent especially if you’re growing in your home.

For growing the tea in a closet or your basement, you can use a small grow tent to keep your plants protected from the environment. These types of growing tents are often used by marijuana growers, but they work for any plants. For your purposes you really just need a small grow tent. If you need help selecting the best one for your needs, here’s a post that can help you.

top small grow tents

This post details the top small grow tents available today.

Once you’ve got your tent, you’ll need to put some grow lights in it. They don’t need to be especially strong for tea. I would go with some LED grow lights, but you can use fluorescent lights as well. And you need some kind of climate control like an AC unit and some kind of ventilation. You can even grow tea hydroponically, but I would just use soil. It’s easier and that’s the way it grows naturally.

When it comes time to harvest, I’d do it like in the wild. Harvest the first flush, by taking the small leaves from the very tips. These will produce the highest quality teas. You can take them as is for white tea or you can let them ferment slightly to make oolong tea or ferment them for longer periods of time and make black tea. You could even try to make some pu-erh tea, but that’s a bit more difficult. Basically you can make any tea you want from your tea leaves

Probably the biggest decision overall you need to make is which type of tea plant you’ll use. Teas in the wild come from specific types of plants and each of those plants have an ideal growing environment. So you’ll either need to match your growing environment to the plant you’ve chosen, or the plant needs to be selected based on the environment you will create. Either way, you want the right plant for the right environment.

So there you have it. You can grow your own tea now. To recap, you need a grow tent, some ventilation system, some pots, you’ll need nutrients and water and that’s about it. Of course, you’ll also need the plant. Once you’ve got all those things, give it a shot. See if you can grow your own tea. Who knows, if it ends up tasting great, you might even be of the sell it for a lot of money.

You can also find little grow tents here:

  1. https://growagromax.com/products/small-grow-tent/
  2. https://www.aliexpress.com/cheap/cheap-small-grow-tent.html