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Herb Growing for Beginners: Thyme

By Emily Peagram
04th July 2023

Thyme is a perennial, aromatic herb that boasts a wonderful savoury flavour. Its taste makes a perfect match for many different dishes, making it a brilliant herb to grow in your garden or even on a sunny kitchen windowsill. Follow this guide to grow healthy, productive plants that will provide you with plenty of pickings.

Start Sowing
Seeds can be germinated indoors from February to April, or outside on the plot from April to May. These plants require well-drained soil with a neutral pH balance and a sunny sight to flourish. Sow thinly in seeds trays and cover lightly with compost. They need to be kept at a consistent temperature of around 16°C and the soil should be evenly moist.

Within a week germination should occur, and at this stage it is crucial that the little leaves receive regular watering and beneficial sunlight to grow on and flourish. Once the young crops reach 10cm tall they can be moved on into pots or planted outside if the risk of frost has passed.

Take Cuttings
For speedier results, you can also take cuttings from a mature plant that you have previously grown or from one belonging to a friend. It’s important to take pest-and-disease-free shoot tips for this, trim off the lower leaves and make a clean cut beneath a joint of the foliage. Dip the cut end into a rooting hormone and insert up to six of these snippings into a pot filled with compost. Taking several cuttings will increase your chances of success.

Continued Care
Thyme requires very little care after it has been established. If the soil feels dry then irrigate whenever necessary, and feed with a general-purpose fertiliser every couple of weeks to keep the foliage healthy. After three or four years your edibles may become less productive – this is a good time to dig up the plant and split the root ball into pieces. Using this method effectively increases your yields and makes multiple crops out of one.

Harvesting & Storage
Leaves can be taken using sharp garden scissors and used fresh in your cooking. They make an excellent flavour pairing for stews and omelettes. The yields can also be frozen into icecube trays, ready to be defrosted and used throughout the year. You could also try drying your thyme for a longer shelf life.

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