Thyme is most known as a Mediterranean herb with medical purposes as well as a wonderful culinary addition to savory dishes. German Thyme is very similar, except it does very well in cold, harsh climates. I live in Colorado, where extreme temperatures are common and arid, rugged terrain is expected. I chose German Thyme in my garden instead of the traditional Common Thyme. Growing and harvesting thyme is really quite easy.
How to Grow Thyme
German thyme does best with a PH of 7.0. This herb desires excellent drainage and thrives in full sun. If you are choosing to grow this herb in a pot, place the plant in a well draining pot on a window sill. This plant is considered drought tolerant, and doesn’t like wet roots. Thyme is prone to root rot, which is why it does so well here in Colorado. With our dry, hardy climate, German Thyme thrives.
Trim back thyme during the fall and mulch around the roots of the plant. This protects thyme for deep freezes so that it will come back, thriving, year after year.
Thyme enjoys being planted near cabbage and tomatoes. Thyme repels tomato hornworms and cabbage worms, along with corn earworms and flea beetles. Thyme also flowers during the summer, attracting honey bees and additional pollinators. Planting lavender near thyme provides additional benefits, by attracting pollinators and providing additional protection for the vegetables in the garden. Lavender and thyme also have the same soil requirements.
Related: Why You Should Grow Lavender
If planting indoors in a container, plant thyme with rosemary. They both requirement similar soil and sun needs, making it easy to care for both plants.
Uses for Thyme
Thyme is one of the most common cooking herbs in western culture. Used in many savory dishes, dried and fresh thyme can be infused in oil, cooked in stews, soups, and with meat. Lemon thyme can be added to seafood and anything needing a lemony zing.
Aromatic and Health Benefits
Thyme is known to help with common cold symptoms. Use I a steam room or hot shower and the steam plus thyme essential oils are helpful in relieving cold symptoms. Thyme is also know to help with bone health, being high in vitamin K, iron, calcium and manganese. It is also said that consumption of the herb will help regulate digestion.
Thyme essential oil is said to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties as well, helping to relieve acne issues and muscle cramping.
Please note: I am not medical professional, and I am not giving medical advice.
Thyme is considered to have many more benefits, which you can find here.
Harvesting and Preserving
When and How to Harvest
There is no specific time of year to harvest thyme. Although you will want to harvest thyme before the plant flowers, cutting off the top six inches of growth, until you reach the woody part of the plant.
Depending on the growth, two to three harvests may happen during a season. However, if you are able to grow thyme all year, thyme can be harvested during the winter months as well.
When harvesting thyme, always leave at least fives inches of growth to ensure that your plant continues to thrive.
How to Preserve Thyme
Fresh Thyme – Store fresh thyme in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap, or placed in a Ziploc baggy. This method should keep your thyme fresh for two weeks. However, I prefer to just trim thyme directly from the plant whenever I need it.
Freezing Thyme – Fresh thyme can be frozen for one year. It can be placed in a plastic bag and put in the freezer, or, another popular method is to place the thyme leaves ice cube trays filled with olive oil, then freeze.
Drying Thyme – To dry thyme, hang bunches and sprigs of the herb in a warm, but dark place until leaves are dry. Drying can take a week or two. Once they are dry, remove leaves from the sprig and store in an airtight container. This method can preserve your thyme with excellent flavor for about two years.