It is said, the best way to learn how to grow thyme is to observe it in it's natural wild environment.
Here in the UK 3 wild varieties of the 356 estimated species are thriving. Do you know of any wild thymes where you live?
The following instructions are for all types whether for culinary, medicinal, household, aromatic, cosmetic or decoration.
Where does the herb grow in the wild? Mostly on sandy rocky chalky places. That means medium to poor alkaline soils.
Add a mix of sand, gravel and chalk to your compost for good drainage and perfect soil pH. But before you take this step.
if you live in a colder climate it's better to plant in pots so you can move them into a more sheltered spot or into the greenhouse during winter. Plant rooted cuttings in a sunny position in Spring or Autumn.
Sowing from seed can be difficult with poor results but if you insist sow from February if doing it indoors, or May for outdoors. Scatter the seeds over the surface of compost but do not cover them over with it.
The seeds need light to germinate, instead water and then cover them with a see-through lid or film and remove it when the seedlings appear.
Pick out the weak seedlings and later plant out the robust ones once the mild weather arrives.
Common Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris), Lemon Thyme (Thymus Citriodorus), and Broad-leaved Thyme (Thymus Pulegioides) are 3 most commonly used herbs for the kitchen garden.
If you have a small garden, plant thyme along with bay and parsley for a bouquet garni herb garden, or with rosemary, sage, and oregano for a herbes de Provence herb garden. Use pots and containers on a patio to group these herbs together.
Thymus serpyllum – English wild thyme. This particular thyme cultivar is a hardy tough plant and the best for medicinal purposes although it can be used in cooking.
The leaves are mildly scented so not a great choice for potpourri. The flowers though are bright rose pink to mauve which brings a flash of colour to the herb garden from May to August.
During June/July the flowers are at their zenith. It is the most showy thyme in my garden. The leaves taste the strongest when thyme is flowering.
Thyme is a creeping plant perfect for hanging baskets.
Plant it along with other prostrate herbs that like chalky, sandy alkaline soil. Oregano (wild marjoram) comes to mind.
Although not classed as a prostrate, it will drape nicely over the edge of a basket and it likes similar conditions to thyme.
It has a nice dark pink/burgundy flower and like thyme is a herb for the pot.
Nasturtium will tolerate the same conditions as it too thrives in poor soil, likes the sun, and grows long dangling stems with bright orange or yellow flowers, superb for a mixture of colour.
You can also add creeping (prostrate) rosemary to a thyme basket. It also likes chalky dry soil. But plant it in the side facing away from the sun. This will give it a little bit of shade and keep it happy.
Creeping rosemary has small stem-clinging light blue/mauve flowers which blossom as early as February to May after a mild winter.
Hint of Herbs is where you will get to know me a whole lot better as I busy about in my daily life. Read short snippets of herb garden related topics. Little interesting things that don`t normally find their way onto my pages.
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