Thyme, like other woody-stemmed herbs, tends to grow very slowly, and benefits from an early start if grown from seed. Unlike basil and other annual herbs, you shouldn’t count on harvesting thyme in the first (or even the second) year, except for very light picking of leaves. Follow along with this handy How to Grow Thyme from seed Guide and grow a kitchen garden.
Latin English or Common Thyme: Thymus vulgaris & Creeping Thyme: T. serpyllum Family: Lamiaceae
Difficulty Challenging and slow going
Season & Zone Season: spring through fall Exposure: full sun Zone: hardy to Zone 4
Timing Sow indoors late February to mid-April. Transplant out late April through May once soil begins to warm, or direct sow late May through June. Ideal soil temperature for germination: 15-21°C (60-70°F).
Starting Sow the dust-like seeds on the surface of dampened, sterilized seed starting mix under bright light with bottom heat. Keep watering to a minimum, as thyme seedlings are prone to damping off. When seedlings are large enough, harden them off and transplant to the garden or to containers spacing them at 23-38cm (9-15″) apart.
Growing Trim plants back after flowering to encourage bushy growth. Protect container-grown plants from cold as winter approaches, and water only as necessary. Damp, cold soil will kill thyme.
Harvest Fresh thyme leaves can be harvested at any time of the year as long as the plants are established. Prune back any dead branches. Whole stems/branches can be clipped and dried whole, or individual leaves can be left to dry in a dark, airy spot for long term storage.
Companion Planting An all around beneficial plant for the garden, thyme is particularly worth planting near Brassicas, as it repels cabbage moths, and strawberries, as it enhances flavour.