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Growing Thyme Herb – A Beginners Guide

Growing Thyme Herb – A Beginners Guide

Growing Thyme Herb:

Introduction of Growing Thyme Herb:- Thyme is an aromatic low growing, woody perennial evergreen Mediterranean herb which can be used in culinary, medicinal, and ornamental purposes. Basically, Thyme herb is native to Southern Europe, and now it is spread across the globe. Wild thyme herb is perhaps the most common type of this strong aromatic herb, even though there are many other varieties of this native Mediterranean herb. It is often grown in the herb garden, and its leaves are widely used in salads as garnishes and as a flavoring for chicken, fish, beef, lamb, chevon, soups, legumes, and vegetables. Thyme is usually blended with other herbs when used in meat dishes, poultry, stuffing, and soups. There are several different species and varieties that vary in shape, color, and aroma. A number of the herbs grow fairly thick, which makes for an aromatic groundcover. The parsley herb and thyme herb is a nice combination in the kitchen garden.

The oil can be extracted from thyme herb which contains the essential oil of 20 to 55% thymol. This essential oil can be used as an antiseptic and is an active ingredient in various commercial products such as mouthwashes. The most common variety of this herb is “Thymus vulgaris”.

Thyme herb is an excellent option to grow in any herb gardens because it can be grown very easily without any difficulty. Thyme herb foliage is very attractive and its flowers are long-lasting flowers. This herb bushes are a compact and easy to care plants.  Thyme plant can reach a height of 25 to 30 cm and is best suited either to the rock garden or the front of a border. Thyme herb and other herbs are best suited and ideal to grow in high yield gardening.

Thyme herb can be grown in pots, containers, backyards, greenhouse, polyhouse even in the hydroponic system.

Scientific Name of Thyme Herb:- Thymus vulgaris.

Family Name of Thyme Herb:- Mint family (Lamiaceae).

Genus of Thyme Herb:- Thymus.

Common Names of Thyme Herb:- Common Thyme, Garden Thyme, and Rubbed Thyme.

Health Benefits of Thyme Herb:- The following are some of the medicinal uses of Thyme Herb. Theme flowers, Thyme leaves, and Thyme oil are used treat diarrhea, stomach ache, cough, arthritis, colic, sore throat, bronchitis, and flatulence. This herb also works as a diuretic for increasing urination. Thyme herb oil has an excellent antiseptic property. Fresh leaves, flowers, dried leaves, and an oil extracted from thyme herb are usable parts of the thyme plant.

Thyme Health Benefits.
Thyme Health Benefits.

Varieties of Thyme Herb:- Creeping Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Golden-scented Thyme,

Garden Thyme, St.Louis, and Common Thyme are some of the commonly grown in herb gardens. Locally, you can inquire for high yielding and suitable variety for your climate and soil.

Climate Requirement for Growing Thyme Herb:- Thyme herb thrives well in a mild climatic condition but can be grown even in temperatures below freezing. This wonderful herb can tolerate the cold conditions better in well-drained soils. This herb required full sun in your garden for better plant growth and yield.

Soil Requirement for Growing Thyme Herb:- Soil is one of the major parts of any crop growing. Thyme herb grows well in low-fertile well-drained soils. Avoid too much of humus or fertile soils as this can result in less aroma. However, sandy loam soils with good drainage having pH of 5.5 to 8.0 are ideal for growing thyme herb. This bush requires full sun to partial shade conditions. In case, if you are planting this amazing herb on large scale, consider getting a soil test kit for finding fertility and other factors such as soil pH.

Propagation in Growing Thyme Herb:- Propagation of Thyme can be done by seeds, cuttings, and root divisions. Thyme herb is hard to grow from seeds as it takes a long time of germination (usually, it takes up to 4 weeks to germinate). The seeds can be directly sown or seedling grown indoors can be transplanted. This can also cause uneven germination of the seed. It is advised to plant the seeds or cuttings indoors 7 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. You can buy seedlings of thyme from local nurseries to transplant your herb garden.

The best way to speed up the thyme herb growing is to propagate from root divisions. Usually, cuttings are not really recommended. Roots should be prepared or divided in April using plants three or four years old. Dig the plant up, clear away as much soil as possible from the roots and gently tear the plant into 3 or 4 pieces. The pieces (each needs to have a portion of root and foliage) can then simply be planted in the ground and left to grow.

Growing Thyme Herb in Containers:- This wonderful herb is the best option to grown in containers as it does not require much attention. The only thing is to keep the soil compost moist and feed the plants with liquid food at 12 to 15 days interval. Normal potting soil mix can be used for growing this.

Thyme Growing in a container.
Thyme Growing in a container.

Land Preparation in Growing Thyme Herb:- Make the soil friable and remove any weeds from previous crops. Ensure proper water drainage in the soil.

Spacing and Planting/Sowing in Growing Thyme Herb:- In case of seed sowing, thyme seeds have to be sown indoors at 24°C for best germination rate and should be transplanted to your garden. It is recommended to plant seeds in early spring, 2 to 3 weeks before your average last frost date or Thyme herb seeds have to be sown indoors 9 to 10 weeks before transplanting the seedlings in the main area of growing after the threat of frost has passed.

Planting of seeds should be done at quarter inch (1/4″) depth in rows 17 to 25 inches apart. Thinning should be carried out when the seedlings are about 3 inches tall.

In case of root divisions or cuttings, you can plant them at the same time, and maintain the distance/space of 1 feet.

Irrigation in Growing Thyme Herb:- Water requirement is less in growing thyme herb. This plant thrives best in dry conditions. It does not require any fertilizers/nutrients during its growth period. Water the plants in extremely dry conditions.

Manures and Fertilizers in Growing Thyme Herb:- As this is a herb and medicinal plants, don’t use any chemical fertilizers. Use any organic fertilizer and garden compost. Basically thyme herbs are grown organically.

Intercultural Operations in Growing Thyme Herb:- Weed free field is important for any herb growing garden. Remove any weeds manually and give light shallow cultivation to remove the weeds. Mulching can be done to control the weed growth as well.

Pests and Diseases in Growing Thyme Herb:- There are no serious pests and diseases are observed in Thyme herb garden. However, if you observe anything like greenfly, please contact your local department of horticulture department for control measures. Only use organic pest controls, if needed.

Note: Your local horticulture department is a good source of finding information about pests and diseases in growing Thyme herb.

Harvesting and Yield in Growing Thyme Herb:- You can start picking thyme leaves as per your requirement and when needed. They are available to pick throughout the year. In case of large quantities for drying, it is advised to harvest the leaves just before flowering. You can cut off the branch tops with 4 to 5 inches of flowering stems from the plant. You can dry these harvested leaves and crumble them and store in a tight jar. Usually, the growth of the plant in winter is not much, so avoid too much of harvesting.  Yield depends on the season, plant age, soil, and variety apart from other garden management practices. You can store thyme leaves in a plastic bag in a cool place like the refrigerator. When you want to be stored as frozen. chop the thyme leaves and mix with little amount olive oil.

Tips for Growing Thyme Herb:- Some quick tips in growing thyme herb.

  1. Even though this herb can be grown by seed, for quick plantation, buy plants in the spring from local garden centers or nurseries.
  2. Harvest the leaves frequently so that it helps to keep the plants compact and prevent leggy growth.
  3. Make sure to stop harvesting the leaves 4 weeks before the first expected frost.
  4. In case of dead stems, cut the entire plant close to the crown to encourage new growth of stems.
  5. Harvest leaves less frequently in winter season as there won’t be much growth in the season.
  6. To increase the thyme yield, divide growing plants every few years to renew vigorous growth.
  7. You can grow thyme herb as intercrop in ornamental and dwarf tree bases.

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Last Updated: April 7, 2018
Author: Jagdish

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