(See individual varieties for specific product information, but in general the growing information will be the same for all thyme.)
Average Days To Maturity: 70-90 days
Spacing Between Plants: 18-24 inches apart
When To Plant: Charley recommends planting Thyme in mid to late April after the threat of frost, but experienced gardeners can plant earlier and protect the young plants with buckets and milk jugs or start them out in a cold frame or small greenhouse.
Planting Tip: When growing Thyme in a pot or container, make sure there is good drainage. This can be achieved by putting a layer of gravel or small rocks in before the dirt.
Thyme is a tough plant and can be grown in a variety of locations. It likes to be on the dry side, so it would be at home in a rock garden or xeriscape. Use it between stepping stones or pavers for a fragrant pathway.
If the ground freezes in the winter, apply a fairly thick layer of mulch in the fall to insulate and protect your plants.
Preparation and Care: Thyme is easy to care for. Just make sure that you do not plant it in a soggy location. It prefers sandy soil that is on the lean side of fertile and drains well. As with other herbs, too much fertilize will hinder the flavor and aroma.
Fortunately, Thyme is not a fussy herb. The more you mess with it, the more damage you are actually doing. If grown in a warm climate, the plant may become shrubby. Prune it back pretty hard in the spring so that you will have tender new shoots.
If the plant becomes woody, prune it hard, divide it or replace it all together.
Make sure there is plenty of air flow around the plants to prevent rot and disease.
Watering: Thyme prefers to be kept on the drier side of things. Let the soil dry out a bit between watering. It may require more water in periods of drought. Never let your Thyme sit in the wet. This will rot the plant.
Fertilize: Thyme likes soil that is on the lean side. Too much fertilizer will hinder the flavor and aroma.
Harvesting: It seems that farming is definitely an early morning chore. It is best to harvest most herbs as soon as the dew has dried. If you wait until evening the sun tends to evaporate the oils that produce the flavor and aroma.
A little salt, a little pepper, some olive oil and thyme sprinkled over chicken, mmmm!
Thyme is a slow grower so harvest sparingly. Clip the stems just before the plant begins to bloom and wait for your plant to fill in more. Wash Thyme and gently shake off the water. You can dry the leaves on the stem (which makes it easier to remove them) or you can remove the leaves and then dry them. You can use a dehydrator or use the old fashioned method of hanging in bunches. Store the dried leaves in an air tight container in a dark, dry location.
Freezing is the best way to preserve the flavor of Thyme. Place on a cookie sheet and stick in the freezer. Remove and strip the leaves. You can place them back in the freezer in a container or bag or mix with a little bit of olive oil and freeze them in ice cube trays.
Common Insect Problems
Thyme is not usually bothered by insects but you may need to keep an eye out for these:
Common Disease Problems
Thyme is not bothered by many diseases. The following may occur if planted where conditions stay wet.