My blogs are normally focused around my fruit and veg growing escapades but it’s not very often that I mention herbs. Fresh herbs from your own garden have a taste that is like no other. They are so easy to grow, they fill your garden with texture and height not to mention the fragrance when you brush past them. The most common herbs that are used in my garden are rosemary, bay and mint, but thyme takes the highest priority.
Thyme is a perennial herb that loves hot, dry conditions. One small plant of thyme, if looked after properly and regularly cut, can last for years. I have grown a few varieties of thyme over the years and my favourites are lemon thyme and the good old common thyme.
Thyme is a plant that is easy to cultivate from an established plant by way of cuttings in May or June. Place the heeled cuttings in a sand and compost based pot in a greenhouse or cold frame. Transplant into individual pots when roots have established and plant out in September. Thyme is also easy to grow from seed but this method may take much longer to establish a strong plant. Sow the seeds in March or April in some finely sieved seed compost in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. When the seedlings are large enough to handle pot on into 3″ pots. Plant them outside in September.
Being of West Indian descent, the leaves of the thyme plant are one of the most common herbs that we use in our cooking on a regular basis. I know that delicate pale blue flowers of the thyme plant are edible too but I’m yet to try those. Most West Indian households that I know of have a thyme plant or two growing somewhere in their garden, even if they are not green fingered!
My father has a well established thyme plant in his back garden and every time me and my sisters used to visit, we would come away with a lovely fresh bunch ready to use in our cooking. We all now have our own healthy and vigorous plants that if looked after will last us for years. As thyme doesn’t have many pests or diseases this could be a contributing factor to its success.
My Dad insists on covering some of the plant with soil every now and then to encourage more root growth and keep his plant in tip top health. As far back as I can remember, the corner of his garden has always been home to the healthiest thyme bush that I have ever seen so he must be doing something right.
Well, you can never have enough thyme!