Transplant outside when all danger of frost has passed. Space plants 12″ apart, in rows at least 12″ apart in well-drained but relatively poor soil in a location that receives full sun to partial shade. Once plants are established they will require little care. To avoid legginess, pinch off growing tips to make a bushier plant. Plant height 12-18”.
Thyme plants are susceptible to fungal diseases, avoid over watering. Wetting their leaves, while watering, also reduces their fragrance. Once established it is a drought tolerant. Deer and rabbit resistant.
To keep plants from becoming too woody, cut back plants by one half after flowering, to encourage new growth. To overwinter – keep sheltered from cold winds by mulching. In climates where the temperatures regularly go below 10 degrees F, plants should be heavily mulched or potted and brought inside during the winter months.
Thyme, English thymus vulgaris
English Thyme, of all the old-fashioned herbs, is one of the most beloved. Its many varieties are consistently lovely and easy to grow, alone or in combination with other flowers or herbs. Both the foliage and the clusters of tiny flowers are beautiful, varying widely in color depending on the cultivar.
The flavor of this plant is essential in many herbal combinations, especially in meat and tomato-based dishes, and is excellent with mushrooms, cheeses, and soups. Honey made by bees feasting from thyme flowers is delicious.
Harvest leaves as needed, in the morning after dew has dried, before flowering in midsummer. The entire plant may be harvested by cutting plant leaving about 2 inches above the ground. The plant will recover before the end of the season; however, the plant may not be as winter hardy. Plants generally become woody after 2-3 years and should be replaced.
Storage – to dry, hang in small bunches – hanging upside down in a warm, dry, dark place. Once dried remove the leaves from the stem and keep whole. Do not crush or grind leaves until ready to use. Store in airtight containers. The ice cube method can be used to store fresh Thyme for use throughout the winter.