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Thyme is one of those herbs that I just love having in my garden. I get such pleasure from running my hands through it and taking a deep breath of the wonderful minty, lemony fragrance. It also comes in many different varieties. Lemon, orange, and lime are just a few. Creeping thyme can be used as a ground cover and honey bees just love it!
Thyme comes from the Mediterranean, and it likes hot, sunny locations with good drainage. Which is good for me. Cuz Oklahoma is plenty hot and sunny! 🙂 You can plant seeds, cuttings, or root divisions equally well. And of course, you can just purchase a start to plant into the garden.
Thyme grows well in USDA zones 6 through 9. It likes to be planted in full sun although it will tolerate some shade. It really hates wet feet, though, so make sure that the drainage is really good.
If you are starting it from seed, plant more than you need. Some varieties are harder to germinate than others. And if you are going to keep it indoors in a pot, make sure it gets lots of sun and infrequent waterings. The soil should be dry to the touch before you water it again.
Thyme is a perennial, so it will come back every year even after hard freezes. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere without freezes, you can harvest it all year long and it will grow into a lovely evergreen shrub with pretty white or purple flowers. So even if you never harvest it, it makes a pretty ornamental plant.
The flowers are edible and make a lovely addition to a salad, but if you are harvesting thyme to dry for later, it’s better to harvest it before it flowers.
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Cooking with Thyme
Of course, it is used a lot in Mediterranean cuisine but it also pairs well with egg dishes and vegetable dishes like my Thyme Roasted Vegetables and Pumpkin~Thyme Soup. I use it in marinades (like the one for my Herbed Lamb Chops) and I throw a few sprigs in when I’m making Beef Bone Broth.
It’s great in dishes with quinoa or rice, like my Brown Rice Pilaf and Easy Italian Sausage, Peppers, and Rice. And goes with pretty much any protein, so I use it in my Chicken & Broccoli in Wine Sauce and Crockpot Venison Goulash. I also use it in Italian seasoning mixes and in my Italian Bread Crumbs.
You can see why I love it so much! It’s so versatile and I use it a lot! It can be used fresh, as whole sprigs or just the leaves, and also dried. It dries very easily and quickly in a home dehydrator.
Medicinal uses of Thyme
And it gets better. Thyme has medicinal uses as well! It contains the compound thymol which is antimicrobial and anti-fungal. You can read more about that here.
A tea made from the leaves was once used to soak bandages before being applied to wounds to decrease the chance of infection. The tea has also been used for hundreds of years to treat coughs and bronchitis. And I read that the tea can also be used in the garden as a pesticide. Who knew?
There are a lot of reasons to plant this one! Thyme is equally at home in the garden or in a pot on the window sill. So even if you have limited space I would encourage you to try it.
What are your favorite uses for thyme?