Newest Review: ... friend to water! The plant will produce tiny green leaves on a thin woody stem. In the summer Thyme produces small delicate flowers that c... more
Member Name: Stewwydablue
Advantages: Very easy to care for
Disadvantages: Roots are slightly sensitive to wet winters
A kitchen garden favourite, thyme is easy to grow, maintain and has a place in a variety of recipes, with some mecidinal properties thrown in for good measure. In this review, I swear on the dooyoo oath that there will be no play on words/puns/or bad jokes using the herb's similarity to another word - I just simply haven't got the thyme for it. (oops!)
I'll try to break down the review into sections, each containing some hopefuly useful facts about thyme.
If starting indoors, I've managed to grow thyme from seed all year round on my kitchen windowsill. For outdoor seed planting, a few different sources I've consulted (seed packets, various books) suggest springtime (March onwards or April if, like me, you live in the frozen north).
Thyme plants which were started indoors can handle being planted also around spring, and once established are hardy perennials.
CARING FOR THYME
Thyme will tolerate both full sun and partial shade. For a gold standard of protection, I'd recommend adding some grit or gravel as a mulch around established plants to protect from wet winters. Other than that, most types of thyme (in my experience) are quite happily left lone to creep or form low woody bushes, depending on the type of thyme you have. Also, as with quite a few types of herbs, thyme doesn't seem to mind being picked on a fairly regularly basis during the growing season - just ease off in winter when growth almost stops.
USING THYME - GENERAL
Thyme can be used freshly picked, or after being picked, hung up to dry then stored in airtight tubs for later use. My attempts at drying thyme have been successful in the sense that it will preserve and keep quite well when processed in this manner, but I am yet to dry thyme (or a number of other herbs) without drastically losing the colour of the leaf. The thyme which I dry and store seems to be a lot darker than shop bought dried thyme. I'd be grateful for any preserving tips.....
USING THYME - OTHER THAN FOR EATING
Thyme is thought to be a useful companion plant for more tender crops which are prone to attack from whitefly and caterpillars. Also, thyme is well known to grandmothers and members of the Ray Mears Fan Club as having antiseptic properties. Thyme can also be added to pot pourri.
USING THYME - CULLINARY
Thyme is one of the components of a bouqet garni - that fragrant teabag-resembling essential ingredient of many soups and stews, the herb also works well with apples - try it!
Overall, thyme is an easy plant to grow, doesn't have much in the way of special care requirements and will tolerate both neglect and harvesting pretty well. Also, legend has it that if you take a needle and thread and sew a pattern into one leaf of a thyme plant, then upto ten thyme plants elswhere in the world will survive global warming - a stitch in thyme saves nine! Groan.....
Thanks for reading.
Summary: An easy plant and very useful in the kitchen