CHOOSING: Sold in little bundles of stems with the small leaves attached, thyme should appear fresh, not wilted.Sign up for our new weekly newsletter, ThePrep, for inspiration and support for all your meal plan struggles.STORING: Place freshly cut thyme in a plastic produce bag in the refrigerator, preferably not in the vegetable bin. .

Growing Your Own

As thyme is evergreen, the leaves can be harvested all year round, but the soft new growth in summer has the best flavour. .

How to Grow Culinary Thyme

The challenge of growing these Med­iter­ranean herbs in Houston’s perpetual Turk­ish­-bath climate was just the kind of respite I needed after a day of testing intricate spacecraft systems.I’m pleased to say that over the years, I’ve had much better luck growing thymes, primarily by mimicking their native habitat as closely as possible, and by learning how to prune the plants correctly.Have you ever stroked a plant of French thyme and then smelled your hands and thought of Vicks VapoRub?That’s because thymol, the dominant essence in French thyme, is the ingredient that gives the Vicks ointment its characteristic pungent odor.I find that lemon thyme goes well with vegetables and meats that aren’t too strong in flavor, like chicken and pork, and is especially good with fish.Caraway thyme’s botanical name, T. herba-barona, stems from its use during the Middle Ages to flavor the huge roast called a baron of beef.Unlike the first three, caraway thyme forms a broad, low mound of dark green foliage only about 4 in.All four varieties have leaves that persist through the year, and summer blossoms ranging from pale lavender or pink to white.One of the single most helpful things I learned about growing thyme is to mulch it with light-colored gravel, preferably one of limestone composition.Clues to thyme’s natural affinity for limestone rocks and chalky soil are spelled out in the names of some of the ornamental species—graniticus, gypsicola, and dolomiticus.The stone-chip mulch has a therapeutic effect, reflecting ultraviolet rays onto the branches, helping the thyme to resist fungal diseases in my humid Virginia climate.Using rock also lends a sense of authenticity, of beauty and grace to the planting.If you don’t have gravel, sand also works well, but it doesn’t look quite as picturesque.Because the soil condition requirement isn’t what best suits vegetables, thymes are better off planted with sun-loving ornamentals or other herbs, rather than with the tomatoes and lettuces.A diet that isn’t too high in nitrogen, which promotes leaves instead of flowers, also will yield more flavor for your kitchen.Oregano-scented and caraway thymes are the hardiest of the four, thriving in areas where winter lows drop to the single digits.If your winter temperatures stay below freezing for extended periods, you should count on either protecting French thyme or replacing it come spring.Thymes are shallow rooted, so keep watch for frost-heaved plants in winter, pressing them back into the ground with your foot.In this case, though, I’ve found that by adding some clay soil to the potting mix, I could stretch the time between waterings, with no ill effects.A woody thyme plant, while attractive in a bonsai sort of way, is a weak structural specimen and has a much-reduced area of active growth.The cat litter absorbs about eight times its weight in moisture, and the spaces between the granules encourage air circulation and help prevent rot.I strip the leaves off the lower two-thirds of the cutting, and then stick the stems deep into a pot of clean, unscented, clay-based cat litter.If the container is shallow, like the one in the photograph above, I run the cuttings in at an angle to give the stems plenty of length for sending out roots.• Mulch with light-colored stone chips, pebbles, or sand, which reflect light and keep plants healthy and thriving. .

10 Herbs to Grow Inside Year-Round

Keep the harvest season going all winter long and flavor your favorite soups, veggies, roasts, and more with a never-ending supply of fresh-picked leaves.Get the full details on how to best start, care for, and use your indoor herb garden below with 10 great plant varieties for nurturing inside.As a general rule of (green) thumb, place your herbs in a spot that gets at least six hours of sun daily.If you're concerned that the drainage holes will ruin your tabletop or windowsill, use a to catch any excess water.Start basil from seeds and place the pots in a south-facing window; it likes lots of sun and warmth plus ample water, so keep the soil moist but not drenched.Use bay leaves to flavor stews, soups, and sauces — or try making a fragrant, fresh-smelling wreath with any extra sprigs.In early winter, move the pot to your coolest indoor spot (like your basement) for a few days.Go easy on the watering — oregano doesn't need as much as other herbs, so wait until the soil feels dry to the touch.Choose the flat-leaf variety for cooking and the curly kind for pretty garnishes on potatoes, rice, fish, lamb, steak and more.Prune regularly (up to a third of the plant) and dry any extra stems to flavor winter stews and soups.Expect your kitchen to smell fresh throughout the cooler seasons thanks to the pungent scent of this herb — it acts like a natural air freshener!Add your homegrown sage to poultry, pork, or sausage dishes, not to mention your Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing.A dormant period in late fall or early winter is essential for tarragon to grow indoors.Chop the leaves finely before adding to salad dressings, eggs, sauces, or meat.You can start thyme indoors by either rooting a soft tip that was cut from an outdoor plant or digging up and repotting the entire thing.Add fresh or dried leaves to roasts, sauces, soups, dressings, and more — or infuse them in honey or vinegar.This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. .

Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Thyme

Thyme is a wonderful herb with a pleasant, pungent, clover flavor.There are both fragrant ornamental types as well as culinary thyme varieties which add a savory note to summer soups, grilled meats, and vegetables.Originally from the Mediterranean area, this herb is drought-friendly so it doesn’t have high watering needs. .

10 easy to grow herbs: Best herbs for cooking and bees

So sit back, relax and let us guide you on how to grow these bee-friendly plants that will make your food taste delicious. .

Grow your own! Monty Don says there's never been a better thyme

For the price of a few bunches at the supermarket, you could grow endless supplies of fresh herbs at home, says Monty Don - and there's never been a better thyme!For the price of a small pot of spindly chives, coriander, basil or parsley you can buy a packet of seed that will easily give you scores of healthy plants.They should be used liberally, and growing your own will mean that you can add great handfuls to sauces, soups, roasts, pizzas, salads, egg dishes - anything and everything that you like to eat.Decorative and medicinal herbs such as lavender, santolina, artemisia and hyssop share the same growing conditions - full sun, very good drainage and - counterintuitively - poor soil.If you have rich garden soil, either grow them in pots or do as I have done, which is to make raised beds and then remove the topsoil and replace it with poor subsoil mixed with grit.Cut back hard to the lowest leaf buds in spring and keep picking enthusiastically to maintain a compact shrub with lots of fresh leaves.Its cousin, Russian tarragon (Artemisia dracunculoides) is much hardier and will survive outdoors all winter - but is not as good to eat.My favourite annual herbs are basil, parsley (in fact, a biennial as it produces seeds in its second year), coriander, borage, chervil and garlic, which you grow from a bulb.I sow mine in spring in plugs or seed trays, pricking the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle.It is, however, a very robust, strong-growing plant that needs plenty of space to develop properly so that it can be picked over all summer long to provide fresh leaves.I grow mine alongside tomatoes in the greenhouse from May onwards, and outside in the garden once the nights get reliably warm in July, allowing at least 6in space between each seedling.Garlic is always referred to as a herb, whereas, in fact, it is better thought of - and grown - as a member of the allium vegetable group, along with onions, shallots and leeks.Some herbs are herbaceous perennials that survive the winter by the top growth all dying back in autumn, with fresh foliage and flowers appearing in spring and summer.When I was a child, mint was only used at home as an invariable accompaniment to roast lamb, but it actually enhances many dishes and makes perhaps the best of all herb teas.Chives are an allium, like garlic, and are very easy to grow from seed, becoming long-lived perennials that can be chopped into sections with a spade to create new plants that will regrow with fresh vigour.The flowers are beautiful and edible, but cut them back right to the ground as soon as the blooms start to fade and they will very quickly grow new shoots.It grows very large with a giant flower head that should be cut back with older leaves at least once in summer to encourage fresh growth.Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is another shade- and damp-loving herb, with a distinct lemony astringency, especially good in early spring and with egg dishes of any kind.Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) grows most successfully in heavy, damp soil and the deep roots make a fresh sauce that is mild in summer but blisteringly hot in midwinter. .

How to grow and care for thyme

Thyme is a highly ornamental and colourful herb that deserves its place in the garden – let alone for its culinary uses.Lemon thyme has large, lemon-scented leaves and lilac pink flowers Thymus pulegioides Archer’s Gold: Lemon thyme with golden leaves and pink flowers.Lemon thyme with golden leaves and pink flowers Thymus Golden King: Lemon thyme with golden-edged leaves and lilac pink flowers.Thyme will rarely need watering apart from during very prolonged periods of dry or drought conditions in summer.Thyme doesn’t like rich soil, but will benefit from a light feeding of a high potash plant food in spring.Give plants a liquid feed during summer to improve growth, flavour and flowering.Trim plants after flowering with secateurs or shears to keep them compact and to promote fresh, new growth.Soft growth, promoted by rich soils or overfeeding with high nitrogen plant foods, may encourage aphids. .

How to grow thyme

Think shallow dishes and troughs, where the water can easily drain away, and make sure you add some sand or horticultural grit to the soil.This perennial herb is a wonderful ground- cover plant, so put it where you are going to brush against it, releasing the scent.Alternatively, plant it around the base of a fruit tree: this will increase your growing space, suppress weeds and help to retain moisture in the soil.To add to its virtues, thyme is one of the best plants for attracting bees to your container garden.But it is perhaps best added to dishes that are being roasted, grilled (broiled) or even barbecued because the intense heat will bring out the oils and maximize the flavour. .

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