The severe drought situation in the Western Cape had tea farmers very concerned during the planting season but the miracle of Rooibos tea way exceeds its health benefits. The rooibos plant is also unbelievably hardy!
The little plant is under stress before it even gets planted. Apart from long travelling distances to the farm, they literally lie in a huge heap for a day or two before they get planted. This season they were planted in soil that was certainly not as well drenched as it should be. Not only did the small plants have to get by with continued insufficient rainfall to successfully settle, but they had to face the damaging force of the Sept/Oct south east winds.
At Carmién Tea we practice preservation farming which means we do not plough our fields, so where some farmers had fields almost obliterated by the Sept/Oct south east winds, we had almost no ground movement. We are more than delighted to report that the majority of our plants are also doing well despite this being the lowest rainfall year in the history (1932) of the farm.
There are still many factors that can influence the young plants until their first cropping in March/April. Our more mature plants are flowering excessively at the moment due to the dry conditions. This means the plant may drop its leaves and without sufficient water the resultant poor growth recovery could lead to inferior quality tea so this quarter is crucial for both young and older plants.
It is interesting to note that, despite the possible negative effects (we are trusting for rain), this is actually nature’s way of preserving plant propagation. It flowers in excess so that more seeds can be produced to ensure future survival.