Thyme is the number one herb. Who could argue about the versatility of thyme? It is a great herb to add to a lot of different recipes, and in many cultures is used as a medicinal herb.
Civilizations of long ago such as the ancient Egyptians used Thyme as an embalming agent and the Greeks added it to their baths and burned it as incense. I am sure we have come a long way since those times and simply add it to our soups, stews and other foods to enhance flavor. Don’t worry there are no scientific studies that show consuming thyme will “embalm” you (or at least none that I could find).
Thyme has a strong pungent odor due to the Thymol (which happens to be the active ingredient in Listerine), which is a natural monoterpene phenol (a class of chemical compounds bonding to an aromatic hydrocarbon group) derivative of cymene. (source Wikipedia)
Thyme grows best in a location that receives full sun light throughout the day where the soil drains well. So if you have soil that is heavy in clay and wish to grow Thyme, consider building some raised beds which will allow for better drainage of excess water.
It also grows best when the soil’s pH level is more neutral. That is 7.0 on the pH scale. The pH scale reads 0 being the most acidic to 14 being the most alkaline. Take a pH reading of your soil prior to planting to make sure you are close to 7.0. Do not worry if it is slightly above or slightly below as your Thyme will do fine. If the reading gets below 5.5 or above 8.5 then consider following the instructions on your soil pH tester to raise and lower your level as needed.
Thyme will survive deep freezes in most cases so it makes for a decent cooler weather item to add to your home vegetable garden. It also grows well in pots indoors, just make sure your thyme is near a window that receives ample amounts of sunlight.
This herb adds great flavor to a lot of recipes that include meats and fish. Even better is how easy it is to grow right at home which translates to saving some money. A recent price search on Thyme in my area shows, depending on how it comes (ground or whole) can run anywhere from $2.49 per ounce to $8.00 per ounce. One thyme seed will produce, under optimal conditions, about 3 to 5 ounces of thyme. How is that for savings right at home!
Mike Podlesny is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC