Growing thyme in the home garden is a must if you love adding this popular herb to your cooking. Fresh thyme has a better flavor than dried and once planted this herb will last many years saving you money.
Thyme is a perennial evergreen herb with a spreading habit. There are many different varieties available from lemon thyme which is wonderful with chicken and fish dishes to the traditional common thyme.
Dainty flowers form in the late spring to summer along stems in whites to pale blue and pale pink.
Thyme has been used throughout history from Ancient times when the Egyptians used it in embalming. The Roman’s spread this popular herb throughout Europe using it in cheeses and liqueurs.
Choosing Plants to Buy
Always look for healthy thyme plants with a good color and which isn’t rootbound. Simply check the bottom of the pot for roots growing out the bottom. If there are many matted together then it has been in that pot too long. Avoid plants with yellowing leaves.
Growing Thyme in Pots and Planters
For small backyards or apartment living growing thyme in pots is a must to save space. It’s also fun to choose pots which suit your décor.
Choosing Pots and Planters
Find a pot or planter with a reservoir or which is self-watering. These will hold the excess water in the bottom which is then drawn up through the soil when needed. These are also a great option if you go away a lot or are forgetful at watering plants.
Thyme can be grown in hanging pots and floor pots. When choosing floor pots, it is a good idea to go with one which is slightly raised above the floor. This will prevent water marks forming on your floor.
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Find a position which gets at least half a day’s sun and has good air circulation such as near an outside doorway. It is a good idea to pot up the plant to a larger pot when you get the plant home and then once a year.
Fertilize every month with liquid fertilizer. Simply mix up the fertilizer in a measuring jug if you don’t have the space for a watering can. Prune back any old branches in the winter.
Growing Thyme in the Home Garden
Thyme is a hardy plant which will tolerate drought and extreme cold. Consider growing with sage, rosemary or oregano which are all hardy perennial herbs.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Compost or Dolomite for Heavy Soils
- Aged Manure
- Thyme Plant
- Liquid Fertilizer – This liquid kelp extract is organic and promotes strong root growth. (Paid link)
How to Grow Thyme in the Home Garden
Plant thyme in a sunny position in free draining soil. It will tolerate many soil types however heavy soils will benefit from the addition of compost or dolomite.
Consider planting in rockeries or along garden edges. It will creep attractively over rocks and edging.
- Planting Out
Dig a hole twice the size of the pot then add a handful of aged manure to the soil. Mix in well.
Water the pot then gently remove the plant. Place in the hole then backfill the soil. Create a well around the plant by making a ridge of soil at least 8 inches (20cm) from the plant to keep water where it is needed especially if you live in a warm climate.
Apply an inch of mulch then water in well.
- Plant Care
Water regularly especially during hot weather. Fertilize with a liquid fertilizer once a month. Top up the mulch every winter then prune back any old branches.
- Harvesting Thyme
Cut thyme stems with either kitchen scissors or pruners. Leave an inch (2.5cm) of the stem. Cut between two sets of leaves or nodes where the new growth will appear.
One thyme plant will give you many years of fresh herbs. There is no need to spend money on buying thyme from the store when growing thyme in the home garden is so easy. Thyme may not grow much during the cooler months depending on your climate. It is a good idea to dry thyme during the summer to have for the winter months. See this guide to Drying Thyme for more information.
For more information on growing and preserving food, see this Homesteading guide to get more out of your home and garden.
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