Thyme is a wonderful herb, which is antiviral, meaning it works just as well as a protection to the common cold and flu as it does to flavour food. Thyme helps to elevate a family roast, with traditional pairings of chicken, turkey and beef as well as potato dishes helping to bring out the flavour of the ingredients.
Thyme grows best in dry soil, as if the soil is too moist, the root can begin to rot. To ensure that you’re soil is ready to grow, insert a plain wooden chopstick into the soil about 1-2 inches deep, avoiding the root. Leave for ten minutes and then lift it out to examine it. If the chopstick has darkened in colour or has a water mark, your soil is moist. If it is completely dry, it is ready to plant your thyme.
How to plant
Although it is possible to grow thyme from seeds, usually thyme is grown from cuttings or existing plants.
If growing with seeds, Thyme should be sown in March indoors, with a gentle sprinkling of normal potting compost. They should then be kept in a warm place indoors so that the seeds are sheltered. Once the seeds reach up to 10cm, you can move them outside and follow the steps below.
If using a cutting or plant, you can simply place in the ground and watch it grow. The plant should then be ready for harvesting late June or early July.
The thyme plant should be ready for harvesting late June or early July, although it will produce some leaves throughout the year. It is necessary to be careful of over pruning the plant during the winter as this will hamper growth for the following year.
Any other tips
Thyme is a great starter herb, that needs little attention and thrives in dry conditions. After about 4 years, it is best to separate the roots of the plant to ensure that the leaves don’t loose their flavour.
Keep some thyme in the freezer to ensure you have the freshest taste, even in winter months. Or put some leaves in your ice cube holders to create lovely seasonal ice cubes for your summer’s drinks and cocktails.