Updated: May 31, 2022
To be a tea grower, you quite honestly, have to like plants. Most plant people, start out with one plant they like, then get interested in another and then before they know it, they need a greenhouse to store all their plants. We are not a lot different here at Fleur De Lis Tea Company. When owner David Barron first purchased the 160 acres property it was for it's pine tree potential. But along the way, the course of his path was changed when his friend Buddy Lee from Transcend Nursery gave him some tea plants to use for landscaping.
"We become unexpected tea growers."
850 tea plants went into the ground, leading us to start our journey as tea growers and future tea makers.
Now, 5 years later we find ourselves adding more tea plants to our collection. This has resulted in the need for a larger plant nursery, as we have grown out of our greenhouse. So this year we are building two new hoop houses.
Each year we are creating new tea plants through cuttings. You can create new tea plants in two ways, through cuttings or through seed. With cuttings, they remain true to the plant.
"We are using cuttings to expand the number of tea plants we have in production".
All these new cuttings need a new home.
Our project has started with the clearing of the site and the addition of a new French Drain system.
In Louisiana when it rains, it pours. This heavy rain, rolling off a large green house needs a place to go or flooding issues can be created. In comes the French Drain drain system where the water will be collected underground and funneled through the pipes to a better location. It is the same idea as gutters on a house, except it is underground. There really isn't a spot on a high tunnel greenhouse for gutters. It will be mostly plastic.
"Our weeds are ferocious in the South."
Next, we have put down our landscape fabric. In the South, the weeds are ferocious. Grass will crawl, fly, leap and magically appear everywhere. We have a wonderful growing climate, but at the same time, non native plants get introduced and love it here too. Kudzu is a crazy example of this, literally eating up the landscape in some areas. Fortunately, we don't have Kudzu. But many other non native and even some native plants can become invasive quickly. So the landscape fabric should help slow it down and keep our greenhouse nice and neat.
An additional layer of gravel is added on top of the landscape fabric to further protect the cloth, prevent weeds and manage any moisture in the greenhouse.
We still have a ways to go on the development of the new greenhouse. But until then, we will continue to baby our much loved tea plants in the small greenhouse with much excitement for bigger spaces in the future. Stay tuned, plenty more to develop.