Now, I plant thyme in one or two corners of each of my raised beds. It drops over the edges of the bed and can be easily prevented from spreading throughout the bed by regular trimming. Planting a diverse range of flowering plants, herbs, and vegetables creates a welcoming environment for beneficial insects and pollinators in your garden and results in a healthier garden. Planting thyme with vegetables can be beneficial for pest control due to thyme’s natural properties. Thyme contains essential oils, such as thymol, which have insect-repelling qualities. When planted alongside vegetables, thyme can help deter pests that may harm the crops. Additionally, thyme has antimicrobial properties that may contribute to overall plant health.
Ladybugs are attracted to gardens with a variety of plants, including thyme. Ladybugs will help will control aphids.
Getting Started Growing Thyme:
1. Choose the Right Variety:
Thyme comes in various varieties, each with its unique flavor profile. Common varieties include English Thyme, Lemon Thyme, and Creeping Thyme. Choose the one that suits your culinary preferences and garden conditions. I have both English and lemon thyme in my raised beds.
2. Select the Ideal Location:
Thyme thrives in well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Choose a location in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Ensure the soil is well-draining to prevent waterlogged roots. Growing in raised beds allows you to control the soil, and the beds drain faster.
3. Seed or Seedling?
You can grow thyme from seeds or purchase seedlings from a local nursery. If starting from seeds, sow them indoors 6-1O weeks before the last expected frost. Transplant the seedlings outdoors after danger of frost has passed.
Plant thyme seedlings or seeds about 12 inches apart. Thyme tends to spread, so giving each plant enough space ensures proper growth.
5. Soil Preparation:
Amend the soil with well-rotted compost before planting to improve drainage and fertility.
Care and Maintenance
Thyme is drought-tolerant once established. Water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot.
Regular pruning encourages bushier growth and helps maintain the plant’s shape. Trim the tips of the stems to promote new growth.
Thyme doesn’t require much fertilizer. A balanced, all-purpose fertilizer applied in the spring is usually sufficient.
9. Timing is Key:
Harvest thyme when the plant is actively growing, usually in the morning after the dew has dried. The leaves are most flavorful just before the plant flowers.
Trim the stems with sharp scissors or shears, leaving at least a few inches of growth. Thyme can be used fresh or dried for later use.