The common name for Thymus, a genus of aromatic herbs or shrubby plants of the Mint Family, a
must have herb for all types of culinary styles. Thyme will produce small lavender or pink flowers and make a lovely addition to any herb or rock garden. Low and sprawling growth habit makes thyme a wonderful border plant and a great selection for a kitchen garden.
Thyme is easy to grow and will creep out and multiply by the stems bending to the earth and rooting itself. Thyme will normally survive a Virginia winter to return every spring for a awesome fresh harvest throughout the summer. You can easily assure Thymes winter survival by covering it over with leaves. Here in Virginia if you make it a habit to cover your Thyme at or around Halloween you will be assured of it's spring return.
Growing the Herb Thyme.
Thyme is very hardy and will grow under most conditions. It prefers full sun and a soil that is light and sandy, or loamy. Thyme requires minimal fertilization unless the soil quality extremely poor. weed-control is essential. Don't let the weeds overshadow or crowd it out. Mulching with straw is helpful.
Thyme is harvested in mid-summer, just prior to flowering. Secondary growth will occur for the balance of the year, and this growth should be left to grow, after the end of August or winter hardiness will be sacrificed.
You can grow thyme indoors throughout the winter months if desired. After you have a good patch in your outside herb garden dig a pot full or two to bring into the house for winter use. If you do this be sure to shake the outdoor soil off of the roots (You will not harm the plant) and repot with a good but slightly porous potting soil. Don’t use a miracle grow or ready fertilized soil Thyme does not benefit from heavy fertilization in fact the flavor will diminish considerably. An inexpensive sterile soil like you would get from dollar general works great for potting Thyme. Do not use your garden soil or you will bring all kinds of critter eggs and plant diseases into your home. Be sure your pot drains well into a bottom plate and does not hold water for longer then a day or two. It is easier to kill Thyme by over watering then under watering. Thyme does not like it’s roots to stand in water.
Don’t hesitate to trim your Thyme plant back to 5 or 6 inches it will grow back quickly and much fuller, So use it often or it will thin out and get leggy and woody in your kitchen garden.
If you need to trim your Thyme plant but don’t have an immediate use for it, get some cheap ice trays chop up your Thyme to fit in the cube sections then fill with good drinking water (Do not use Tap water) set it in the freezer then pop the ice cubes out and defrost as you need it.
Thyme plants grow to a height of 12 to 18 inches. Plants should be spaced 18 to 24 inches apart outdoors.
Water on a regular schedule. Allow soil to go completely dry between watering, then soak thoroughly. However DO NOT use tap water for any of your house plants. Tap water will slowly but surely kill your plants. Unless you are on minimally treated well water. It is best to use bottled water spring or distilled. If you have to use tap water use the hot water tap and allow to cool to room temperature before watering. The hot water tap supplies boiled water which has removed many of the impurities and by letting it sit a day or so in an open container (Like a gallon milk jug with no cap) it will allow other harmful chemicals to dissipate.
Outdoors.. Thyme will usely do well being watered by God unless we go into a long weekly type drought periode, and or durring very hot periodes with no rain at all, Thyme does well rain to rain.
If your lawn starts to suffer from lack of water, you should check on your Thyme plants.