I adore the smell of thyme in the Organic Herb garden. I can’t help but pick it when I am out there pottering about. French and lemon thyme, also dot my Organic herb garden and grace my annual dried herb blend. As you can see I am a fan and I love growing it and thankfully it is an easy herb to care for.
Growing Thyme In the Organic Herb Garden
Thyme plants are low-growing, woody perennials which grow especially well in somewhat dry, sunny conditions. It is also another herb that grows well in a pot. The pink, lavender or white tubular flowers of thyme plants are very popular with bees. The tiny grey-green leaves remain evergreen and most can even be harvested in winter.
How to grow Thyme
Like Rosemary, thyme can prove challenging to start from seed. I’ve found the best results is by getting plants from a reliable source and then when they are 3-4 years old divide them by Root Division for more plants. I bought mine from a local garden centre and have Lemon, Variegated and Culinary Thyme.
How to Divide Thyme for more plants
- Roots can be divided in April, using plants three or four years old.
- Dig up the plant, clear away as much soil as possible from the roots and gently tear the plant into three or four pieces.
- The pieces (each should have a portion of root and foliage) can then simply be planted in the ground and left to grow.
- Plants should be ready for moderate harvesting in early July time.
Looking after your Thyme Plants
Thyme loves sunny, dry conditions. It doesn’t like soggy roots which is why you might need to plant it in a pot if you have clay soil like me.
Thyme requires very little attention, thankfully. Water it only in very dry conditions and feed sparingly. You can give it good mulch with organic matter in October time will help protect them from severe frost and will also provide most of their feeding needs. If organic matter is not available, a handful of bonemeal per plant in mid-May and July will meet their needs.
Thyme will start to become woody and produce fewer leaves after three or four years, and at this stage, the plant should be separated (as described by dividing which is described above) and replanted.
You can harvest your Thyme all year round, although the best flavour is in the mid-summer months. In winter the plants stop growing, so harvest only lightly. The thyme sprigs can be frozen or dried – see how I preserve my herbs here.
It loves a good haircut, the more you trim your thyme, the more it grows. Cut fresh stems in the morning, leaving behind tough, woody portions. Leave behind at least five inches of growth, so that the plant can still flourish. Regular pruning not only encourages more growth but also promotes a more rounded shape.
Thyme is virtually free of pests and disease. I have found to my horror, they can be attacked by greenfly which happened on my kitchen windowsill. In the garden, they are perfectly fine though.
Varieties of Thyme to Grow
Golden-scented Thyme (Thymus pulegioides) – slightly lemon-scented thyme, great for cooking and with lavender coloured flowers. This smells divine.
Garden Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)- the original thyme used for flavouring. Grown for hundreds of years.
Creeping Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) – ground cover thyme, great for cooking and great for ground cover.And has fabulous red flowers
Get my Quick Grow Guide to Thyme in the Organic Herb Garden Here
I love growing herbs and you can find my other herb growing guides
- Growing Rosemary in the Herb garden
- Parsley in the herb garden
- The Herb guides – Growing Chives
- Sage in the Organic Herb garden
- Growing Garlic the Right and the wrong way!
You can find out more about my Organic Kitchen Garden here – Organic Vegetable Gardening Posts on Snapshot and Snippets
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