Stevia

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Stevia rebaudiana

Stevia originated in South America where it was widely used as a sugar substitute. It is an herbaceous perennial growing to 1 m high. It is suitable for temperate and subtropical areas. It is easy to grow. Sow the seed in warm conditions, the best germination soil temperature is 22°C. Germination will take 7 - 14 days. Sow into seedling trays filled with moist seed raising mix. Seedlings grow slowly, so allow 7 to 8 weeks from seed to transplanting. Plant the seedlings out into a position in full sun with a fertile, well-drained soil. Improve the soil before planting by adding compost; the pH range should be between 5 - 7.5. Space plants 30 cm apart. The plant should be tip-pruned regularly to increase bushiness. Harvest leafy stems before flowering occurs in late summer and dry upside down in bunches. Stevioside, the chemical which is extracted from the leaves of the plant, is said to be 300 times sweeter than sugar but contains no calories. The leaves can be dried and used in cooking or made into a syrup.

Grown using organic heirloom open pollinated seed, no sprays, no chemicals in organic nutrient rich soil with gypsum, volcanic rock, minerals and compost in trays. No blood and bone no fish.