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Growing The Culinary Herbs; Thyme

Updated on January 4, 2012


Thyme is an ancient herb. This easy to grow plant offers over 300 varieties for the gardener to choose from. Which one you pick will depend upon what you plan to use it for; as thyme is not only an excellent culinary herb; it is ideal for the fragrant garden and makes a great ground cover for low traffic areas.

Thyme can be used between bricks, for example, in garden pathways. Low creeping thyme is the best choice for ground cover. It does not take a lot to cover the ground fairly quickly.

I have used in a lawn seed mix when a client is seeking to reduce yard maintenance but still retain that green look. It is hardy and does not get tall enough to need frequent cutting.

I mix in as follow one part thyme plus three parts of grass seed. The grass seed depends upon your location. I usually combine a fescue and a perennial ryegrass for the best effect.

When it comes to cooking there are more options again; the three that I use the most are:

Common or garden thyme (Thymus vulgaris) which I add to soups, stews and tomato sauces. This is the one thyme I would grow if I could only grow one thyme.

For roasted meat dishes, there is a caraway thyme (Thymus herba-barona).

Last but most certainly not least is lemon thyme (Thymus citridorus) that adds flavour to cookies and muffins and can be used in breads.

If you can only grow one thyme, I would opt for the common garden thyme (Thymus vulgaris). This is a hardy and versatile plant that can be used fresh, dried or frozen.

Fresh is still my personal preference but in order to have it fresh all year round I need to grow it indoors, which can be done with lights or in a bright kitchen window.

Growing Thyme:

Thyme can be grown as part of your herbal kitchen garden and growing this way is most convenient.

For growing outdoors, in order to get a good jump on the gardening season, plant the seed indoors in early spring. Thyme is very hardy and will grow under most conditions, although it does prefer full sun and a soil that is light and sandy, or loamy.

Spring Soup


Eight small new potatoes

1/2 Stick unsalted butter

3/4 Cup chopped spring onions (include 1/2 the green)

2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

l Sprig fresh garden thyme

2 1/2 Cups milk

1 Teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

Sea Salt and Pepper to taste.


Quarter potatoes, do not peel.

In a heavy saucepan, melt butter, and then toss potatoes and onion in the butter.

Add broth and thyme sprig and simmer until potatoes are very soft, about 15 minutes.

Discard sprig and puree to a soup.

Transfer to a saucepan,

Stir in milk and minced thyme leaves.

Add salt and pepper, and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.

This is an excellent dish for those early to mid spring evening when the air is still cool but the days are warm.

Thyme is an essential ingredient in tomato sauce and can be used fresh, frozen or dried when making a batch.


courtesy mezuni/flickr
courtesy mezuni/flickr

organic thyme


Submit a Comment

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    good one :)


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