Challenges of growing tea in the US
Aloha all, I have been spending the summer meeting potential tea growers and current tea growers across the country and I have put my initial observations in this article: http://www.tching.com/2013/08/growing-tea-in-the-us
Over all I see a lot of opportunity and energy from the growers that are getting their farms started now. I have also tasted a lot of great teas from Hawaii, Oregon, and Alabama and I am sure that many more growers will develop their own quality and character. Growers are learning though that there is much groundwork that needs to be done to make a healthy industry. These issues deal with cultivars, patent protection, and industry infrastructure.
Does anyone have experience with tea in the US and would like to chime in?
I am growing some tea plants in Central Florida. Right now they are just babies (Only a few months old). The problems I have encountered so far are: Spiraling White flies, thrips, soft bodied scale, and fire ants.
I initially attempted an organic growing system, but since fire ants have found the plants I have had to switch to strong pesticides.
I am growing for my own personal enjoyment and hope to have my own harvest some time in the next few years.