Lemongrass is an easy to grow plant that delights when used in fresh teas. Fast growing, lemongrass is frost tender, but can be brought in come winter in the lower numbered freeze zones.

Lemongrass is a tropical grass. In zones below 9, (higher up in the country) you will need to dig up a clump of it to overwinter indoors. Since it grows quickly, this should not be a problem. Buying just a small clump of lemongrass will have you with enough in just one growing season to have a continuous source of it. Lemongrass is excellent in teas and Asian culinary dishes.

The care of lemongrass is fairly simple. Like any other grass, it spreads underground, so choose an area to plant it out where it has room to do that. If you don't want it taking over a large area, consider planting it in a planter or other contained space. The shoots (which swell slightly not unlike chives) grow right under the surface, and the roots extend about 1 to 2 feet down, depending upon the time you decide to pull them up.

Give them a rich, loamy and sandy soil, with full sun. Use organic fertilizer like fish emulsion every couple of months. Lemongrass loves water, so water frequently for the most tender shoots.

Lemongrass can grow as tall as you are, so you may want to cut it with the lawnmower blade on high the day before you plan to harvest it. Or you can use a sickle if you want a little more of the pale green growth for cooking use.

A month before you expect the first frost, plan to bring in a small clump for overwintering in lower zones, as mentioned earlier. To harvest, wet the ground completely, soaking several times if needed, the day before. You can use a hoe or shovel to break the ground up slightly. Then bend down and pull them with your hands as close to the ground as possible. They can hold aggressively, so be patient.

Rinse them off in cold water and clean off any dirt that remains inbetween the shoots. Cut off the root section from each shoot before storing. The white, underground part of the shoots are what is used in culinary, but I also use a little bit of the creamy yellow∼green grass too.

They can be crushed with mortar and pestle, cut up, diced, dried, and frozen for later use. Whatever your heart desires, fresh lemongrass is something that once you've tried it, you will never want to be without.

Here is a recipe for using it in your own homemade tea: Asian Ginger Cinnamon Tea.

Take the

Tags: ,