How to Grow Thyme
The thyme herb (Thymus vulgaris) is frequently used for both culinary and decorative uses. The thyme plant is a versatile and lovely plant to grow both in an herb garden and in your garden in general. Growing thyme isn’t hard, and with the correct knowledge, this herb will flourish in your yard.
Growing Thyme Seeds
The thyme plant can be grown from seed, but frequently people choose to avoid growing thyme seeds. Thyme seeds are difficult to germinate and can take a long time to sprout.
If you would like to grow thyme from seeds, follow these steps for growing thyme seeds:
Planting Thyme from Divisions
Normally, a thyme plant is grown from a division. Thyme is easy to divide. In the spring or fall, find a mature thyme plant. Use a spade to gently lift the clump of thyme up from the ground. Tear or cut a smaller clump of thyme from the main plant, making sure there is a root ball intact on the division. Replant the mother plant and plant the division where you would like to grow the thyme herb.
Tips for Growing Thyme
The flavor of the thyme plant benefits from active neglect. Growing thyme in poor soil with little water will actually cause the thyme to grow better. For this reason, thyme herb is an excellent choice for xeriscaping or low water landscapes. In the late fall, if you live in an area that freezes, you’ll want to mulch the thyme plant. Be sure to remove the mulch in the spring.
How to Harvest
Thyme Knowing when and how to harvest thyme will garner the best results when drying. Woody stemmed herbs are best harvested just before blooming for peak flavor. Cut the stems for drying fresh thyme, just before a growth node. This will increase bushing and ensure a constant supply of the tasty leaves. Morning is the best time of day for harvesting thyme.
How to Dry Thyme
After harvesting thyme, wash it and shake off the excess water. You can choose to dry the entire stem or remove the tiny leaves. The leaves will dry more quickly off the stem but they will remove more easily from an already dried piece of the herb.
To remove the leaves, pinch the end of the stem with your thumb and forefinger and pull up the stalk. The leaves will fall off. Remove any of the peripheral twigs and proceed with drying fresh thyme.
Drying Fresh Thyme in a Dehydrator
There are several ways you can dry your herbs. Drying fresh thyme in a food dehydrator is fast and protects against possible mold. The moisture in herbs that are drying in the necessary warm conditions may cause the formation of mold if too much humidity is in the area. To dry thyme in a dehydrator, lay the stems in a single layer on the racks that come with the unit. The stems will dry in under two days and can be stripped of the leaves.
How to Dry Thyme by Hanging
Traditionally, many herbs were dried by hanging. This is still a useful practice today and requires no special equipment. Take stems and bundle them together. Tie the bundles and hang them where the temperatures are at least 50 F. (10 C.) and humidity is low. Stems may take a week or more to dry .
Other Methods of Drying Fresh Thyme
Drying the leaves is the quickest method of preserving the herb. Once the leaves are separated from the stem, you can just lay them on a cookie sheet. Stir them up after half a day. The leaves will be completely dry in just a couple of days.
Storing thyme correctly will preserve its essence and flavor. Put the dried herb in an airtight container in a dim to dark area. Light and moisture will degrade the herb’s flavor.
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