Thyme Plant Care in the Chef Garden

Thyme Plant Care in the Chef Garden

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Growing a thyme plant is easy! It more or less takes care of itself as an unpretentious and powerful herb and is ideal for the beginner gardener.

Thyme has a long and varied history. Derived from the Greek word thymus, which means courage, spirit and self-sacrifice, it was put into action by medieval knights as a symbol of their courage. It has been used for centuries, from envelopes to plague postures and the Victorians who believed that wild thyme carpets served as midnight dance areas for garden fairies!

Thyme is known for its culinary virtues and its health benefits. It contains the chemical compound thymol, a powerful antiseptic commonly used in personal care products such as mouthwash, toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizers, perfumes and skin care products. Most often, thyme is used, of course, to flavor food, and there are several specific varieties that are best suited for this purpose.

Thyme herbs belong to the mint family (Lamiaceae), although they have a markedly different taste and aroma. They are mainly associated with Mediterranean cuisine to give flavor to meat and vegetable dishes such as stews, casseroles, soups and even scrambled eggs.

All about thyme

Thyme is a low-growing evergreen perennial plant native to the southern Mediterranean. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant, and creeping thyme grows along cracks in sidewalks and stone walls, as well as as a kitchen herb in pots and in an aromatic herb garden.

Young fragrant leaves grow on tender stems, and as they grow older, they acquire a characteristic woody character. The leaves are small, from 5 to 10 mm, oval to linear. They range from medium gray to green, sometimes white or golden. Thyme grows from 4 inches to 1 foot in height and from 8 to 16 inches in diameter, depending on the variety.

The flowers are edible and bear fruit in summer with shades of pink, purple and white. They attract bees and their nectar produces honey.

Varieties of thyme

There are three main culinary species of thyme plants: thymus vulgaris, known as garden, German or common thyme; thymus citriodorus, known as lemon thyme; and thymus herba-barona, known as cumin thyme.

Common thyme is readily available in supermarkets and garden centers and provides us with our most famous thyme fragrance. It is a compact plant with gray-green leaves and purple-white flowers. A popular variety of ordinary thyme is “silver pose”, the leaves of which are covered with a white border.

Thymus citriodorus gets its name from its delicious lemon-scented leaves. Add leafy vegetables or fruit salads to give spice and a perfect complement to chicken, fish and potatoes. A dense shrub with medium green or golden leaves, such as the “Archer Gold” and “Golden Queen” varieties, which makes lemon thyme plants indispensable in an aromatic herb garden.

Thymus herba-barona, also called cumin thyme, is native to Corsica and Sardinia. It is a creeping thyme, prone to loose and draining rocky soils that reflect the island landscapes blown by all the winds from which it comes.

Planting thyme

Grow thyme from seeds, vegetative cuttings or plants for a garden center. Seeds are best sown in early spring and planted from April. Cuttings can be taken and planted from mid to after spring, when they develop a healthy root system. The thyme Garden Center can be planted in your garden at any time between the last spring frosts and at least a month before the first frosts in autumn/ winter.

Plant the thyme in well-drained soil, in the sun and about 12 inches apart. Where the garden soil is heavy, thyme can be grown in pots filled with a good sandy compost mixture. Plant thyme alone or with herbs that require the same growing conditions as rosemary.

Care

Water and humidity

Planting thyme in the ground reduces the need for watering, except during dry periods. Periodic watering in particularly hot climates can be carried out with immersion hoses, but their roots go deep to find water.

Growing thyme in pots requires periodic watering when the soil is completely dry. The pots should be raised above the ground or saucers so that the water can flow freely.

Moisture and thyme do not mix at all! In zone 10, thyme is grown every year due to the high humidity.

Floor

Thyme grows best on sandy sandy soils with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0. A well-drained soil is the key to growing thyme, the more debris the better!

Plant the thyme in pots with a good mixture of garden grains in a ratio of 30: 70, such as sand with large particles or perlite in a general-purpose compost to ensure the best drainage conditions.

Fertilizers

An excess of nutrients can actually slow down the growth of long plant stems and have a negative impact on plant health. Liquid fertilizing with algae can be done every few weeks if you harvest regularly.

If you lightly mulch the soil with compost or mold after the fall, enough nutrients will be released throughout the year. No additional fertilizers are needed.

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