How to grow thyme, features of outdoor care in the garden
Gardeners have long liked the low, ground-cover grass, spreading out in a flowering carpet and exuding a unique aroma. However, growing thyme is not limited to the desire to decorate the landscape. This plant, commonly called thyme, has long attracted attention for its healing properties and the ability to give a fragrant hue to meat dishes, soups, salads, marinades. In ancient Egypt, thyme was used in ritual ceremonies.
- 1 Thyme: plant description
- 2 The main types of thyme
- 3 Growing methods in the country
- 4 Planting thyme
- 5 Thyme care rules
- 6 Diseases and pests
- 7 How does the plant winters?
- 8 Collection and storage
Thyme: plant description
Thyme belongs to an extensive genus of over 400 varieties and is a short perennial. Height of a semi-shrub: 5–35 cm. Lignified brown stems are covered with rigid, opposite leaves. The color, shape and size of which are determined by the type of plant. Adventitious roots. Erect, villous peduncles form inflorescences of small flowers of a wide range of colors. Thyme blooms from June to August, filling the air with a warm spicy aroma.
The main types of thyme
Among the huge number of thyme species, there are:
- Ordinary. He came to us from southern France and Spain. Differs in small, lanceolate leaves of dark green color and delicate purple flowers.
- Creeping. Mediterranean look with leathery leaves of various colors. Lilac flowers have a beautiful pink hue. This thyme is resistant to frost and drought and is considered an excellent honey plant.
- Lemon-smelling. The hybrid species from southern France is named so because of its tart lemon scent. The yellow leaves turn green over time. Nice pink flowers. Poorly tolerates frosts, requires shelter for the cold season and regular pruning.
- Vegetable Medoc. Strongly leafy, perennial hybrid resistant to drought, cold weather, produces high yields. Excellent honey plant and garden decoration. Used fresh and dried, in cooking and traditional medicine.
Growing methods in the country
Growing thyme in your garden is easy. To do this, prepare seeds, cuttings or divide a bush. It is necessary to take into account the active reproduction by self-seeding, as a result of which, over time, it will be necessary to deal with the limitation of space.
Sowing seed material is possible on a site thoroughly cleared of weeds. Since small seeds hatch within a month and develop very slowly, weeds interfere with the process. Therefore, it is preferable to grow thyme by seedling method.To do this, at the beginning of spring, a soil mixture of sand and peat is prepared, which is poured into boxes, trays or containers. The sown seeds are kept under polyethylene or glass until sprouts appear. Seedlings require regular, moderate watering and good lighting. After 3-4 weeks, plants that look strong are hardened in the open air for two weeks, after which they are planted in a permanent place of growth.
Thyme from cuttings
In summer, green cuttings are used for propagation of thyme. This method is distinguished by successful rooting. The procedure is carried out before flowering. Cut off the tops of the stems to a height of 10 cm, place them in river sand and cover with a piece of polyethylene. A month later, rooted specimens are planted in open ground.
When dividing the bush, the base is broken and the roots are carefully untangled.
It is recommended to cover the plots with a glass jar for a week in order to increase the survival rate.
Growing a hardy and unpretentious shrub will not cause trouble for the gardener. Bogorodskaya grass adapts to the proposed climatic conditions and, with a competent attitude, responds by forming a spherical bush and building up a useful mass.
Site and soil selection
To plant thyme, you need to choose a place in the garden that is open to the sun's rays, but without drafts. The soil should be neutral and well-drained. Heavy, clayey and highly moistened soils require the addition of sand. In order for the grass to feel good in the open field, acidification should not be allowed, for which chalk or lime is added.
It is necessary to take into account the general design of the garden so that the luxurious plexus of thyme harmoniously fits into the landscape.
When and how to plant thyme?
Planting of thyme seeds is carried out in autumn and spring after soaking in warm water for 12 hours. Seedlings are thinned out, maintaining an interval of 30 cm.
Seedlings are best planted at the end of the frost, on a warm, sunny day. A spacious hole is being equipped. The seedling is removed from the container and placed in a mixture of earth and sand. The soil surface is compacted, after which the plant is watered. When propagating by cuttings, planting is carried out in August.
When planting thyme in open ground with seeds, the flowering of the shrub will occur in the second year of life.
Thyme care rules
Due to the unpretentiousness of the plant, it is not necessary to create special conditions for cultivation. Agrotechnical measures include watering, weeding, loosening.
Thyme is easier to tolerate drought than waterlogging, which leads to root rot. Therefore, watering is shown only in the case of a prolonged dry period. On rainy days, the soil around the seedling is mulched with gravel, crushed stone, sawdust.
Growing thyme does not require a lot of fertilization. If the soil is seasoned with humus before planting, this will be enough for a whole year in advance. Then, annual fertilizing with liquid mineral fertilizers is carried out in late spring or early summer.
It is advisable to use wood ash, which enriches the soil with minerals and reduces acidity.
Pruning of thyme includes: shortening of shoots and removal of faded inflorescences. Shoots are trimmed two-thirds of the length of the stem, this will maintain an attractive appearance and provide the plant with solidity. It is not necessary to trim the bushes for the winter.
Pinching the stem will give the adult thyme thickness.
Diseases and pests
The aromatic substances secreted by thyme in large quantities serve as a good protection against pests. Violation of the rules of care can provoke an attack of insects.
Significant damage to the plant is caused by:
- Meadow moths affecting stems and leaves. Activated on warm nights.Treatment with insecticides helps.
- Sandy slugs completely destroy aerial organs. They fight them with poisoned baits.
- Weevils. They feed on young shoots, flower buds. You can secure planting by treating it with insecticides or installing baits with poisonous preparations.
- Aphids attack the stems and leaves of thyme. Does not tolerate insecticides.
Preventive measures to protect against pests and parasites are: regular loosening, timely removal of weeds, deep digging and the introduction of alkaline fertilizers.
How does the plant winters?
Wintering of thyme rarely brings problems to the owners of summer cottages, unless there is stagnation of melt water in the place of growth. The winter hardiness of the shrub is at a high level. But, if the gardener is afraid of planting fragrant grass and is thinking about how to shelter the plants from frost, it is suggested to use the foliage that has fallen from trees and shrubs, spruce branches or peat. This is done in the case of a winter with little snow.
Collection and storage
Thyme herb is cut for human consumption and medicinal use twice during the growing season. In June, flowering plants contain the maximum amount of flavoring and healing substances, at this time harvesting is especially valuable. Secondary cutting of green mass is appointed at the end of August.
The days of collecting herbs that fall on church holidays are especially revered: Trinity and the Assumption of the Virgin. There is a popular belief among the people that in these blanks the positive properties increase many times over.
Thyme's weak, shallow root system does not tolerate hand picking. The only correct method of harvesting aromatic herbs is cutting.
Dry raw materials should be tied in bundles, suspended in a dry place, protected from direct sunlight. A small amount of thyme can be dried by spreading it in a thin layer on paper sheets at home or indoors, sheltered from the sun and rain. An indispensable condition: the organization of ventilation.
For storage, the thyme is laid in a chopped or grated form, while the stems are removed. Ready to use, the powder is poured into hermetically sealed containers, such as a coffee can. The dishes should be placed in a dark place such as a kitchen cabinet. Thick paper bags and canvas bags are suitable for dried herbs, but they lose the aroma of essential oils. The properties of the plant are preserved for two years.
The cultivation of thyme is justified in several cases: for use in cooking, decoration and aromatization of the garden, for medicinal purposes. An unpretentious crop, it can grow in harsh conditions that are not suitable for other plants. It is not difficult to grow thyme due to its resistance to changing weather conditions, high survival rate. With proper care, the plant grows rapidly and pleases with abundant and long flowering.