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 Montana and chose German Thyme in my garden instead of the traditional Common Thyme. Growing and harvesting thyme is really quite easy.
Growing and Harvesting Thyme for Beginners
If you’re searching for an easy to grow plant, that is also edible, make sure to add thyme to your list. This hardy herb can grow in many climates, is versatile in use and is great as a companion plant too.
Soil and Sun Growing Conditions
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.
Do not allow the roots of the plant to sit in water and only water once the soil has become dry. It’s very important that thyme is planted in well drained soil as too much water will cause root rot.
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 in dry climates.
Trim back thyme during the fall before the first frost. Thyme should be trimmed back right before you reach the wooded area of the plant. Once pruned, mulch around the roots of the plant. I usually use crushed leaves. This protects thyme for deep freezes so that it will come back, thriving, year after year.
Thyme enjoys being planted near cabbage and tomatoes. This versatile herb 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.
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.
Related: Why You Should Grow Lavender
Culinary 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.
This herb is also known 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. It is considered to have many more benefits, which you can find here.
When and How to Harvest Thyme
There is no specific time of year to harvest thyme. This herb takes 2-3 years to really mature, so do not harvest the first year of growth. 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 of your plant, two to three harvests may happen during a season. However, if you are able to grow thyme all year, in your garden or home, 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.
Want more herb growing guide? Be sure to check out How to Grow and Harvest Basil. You may also like Growing and Harvesting Oregano.
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Cheri Mello says
Thank You For Sharing 👍🏼♥️👏🏼G-d♥️Bless😊
Cherise Baker says
Thank you very much,your sight is very informative. Now I understand why mine is not striving, too much water and cutting way to low.
I’m happy to be of some help. Hopefully we can get your thyme thriving in no time!
What do I do if my thyme is flowering?
I just let it flower. Thyme attracts many pollinators which is great for your garden.