Thyme is not always on our side

I love thyme. It’s my favorite herb and I cook with it as much as I can. The distinctive strong aroma and bold taste means it easily stands on its own as the star of a dish but the flavor profile also blends well with many other herbs and seasonings from warm climates, creating beautiful medleys on the stove top and in the salad bowl.  I always have some on hand in the spice cabinet and when in doubt with what to add to a meal I’ll usually give it a few shakes of thyme.  The only problem is that the dried version is nowhere near as flavorful as the growing plant and much to my chagrin I can never seem to keep a thyme plant alive! We’ve tried to grow a thyme plant in a container the last few years and all have kicked the bucket on us. An attempt or two directly in the garden failed as well. This year, instead of leaving the fate of our new thyme plant up to fate and our incapable hands, I’ve done some research and aim for better success for our humble plant this year.

Growing Thyme

Our thyme plant will be a primarily indoor plant with some time spent outside during the summer months, so most of my planting plan is built around that.  Thyme originates from the Mediterranean region and likes a well drained soil on the sandier side.  In retrospect, this was our most common mistake, as we have planted it in potting soil designed to retain moisture as well as garden beds heavy on clay in the past.  This year, I’ve mixed some cactus soil (heavy on sand and perlite) with potting soil to create a more hospitable environment for our thyme plant.

thyme_soil_pot.jpg

In addition to this, thyme requires mostly full to full sun to grow. Last year we had it on our back porch, which gets only a few hours of the morning sun. No wonder it died so quickly! Heavy potting soil and limited sunlight does not do a thyme good.  We will be keeping it in our front windows with the occasional trip up to our roof deck for the summer months. Hopefully the better sun and soil conditions will yield a healthy thyme plant whose leaves will impart their fragrance to our cooking this summer, instead of the usual dried out and dead mess we have by June.

thyme.jpg

(Here it is in its new home! Hopefully the more spacious confines will give it space to fill out over the next few weeks.)

Anybody have any other tips for growing thyme or other herbs? We’d love to hear them! Also, if you have a favorite recipe featuring thyme please feel free to share! We always love trying out new recipes in the kitchen.

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6 thoughts on “Thyme is not always on our side”

  1. I feel guilty that I have 3 thyme plants that I don’t look after! One is in a pot in the back yard, full sun year round. 2 are in the ground in a really tight spot between 2 bits of concrete. Mostly full sun. I think it was pretty good quality soil (probably potting mix) I put between the concrete. Maybe it is just the right climate (Melbourne)? I do use them all a fair bit as they all taste different. Just keep persevering, that is the fun part of gardening, observe, change, persevere. You are doing great! Good luck!

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  2. Hi! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. We have seven or eight different kinds of thyme bushes that we just planted in the ground with no special treatment here in Oregon and they’ve been doing fabulously. I tried to grow a little one in the pot in the kitchen over winter and it failed miserably, so who the heck knows other than they’re pretty hardy suckers once they get in the ground and our bees love them 🙂 maybe you need to be mean to them!

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