This is a leafing herb that adds great beauty and fragrance to any vegetable garden or urban farm. Considering its unacceptably high prices at upmarket stores, why not try your hand and just growing some yourself?
: Thyme is a perennial plant, but usually lasts 2 to 3 years only. It is a hot weather plant and does not like wetness. It is best planted after the monsoons by September, so it has a full year’s run before having to face the onslaught of the rain again.
: This plant is propagated from seed or cuttings. It is difficult to propagate from seed, and easier to do so from cuttings.
GERMINATING: Germinate directly in the ground or in germinating dishes/seeding baskets that are prepared with a mixture of compost and peat moss. Seeds can be shown in shallow, 1/4 inch deep holes or scattered on the surface with a sprinkling of soil above. Place in semi-shade and spray water evenly. Spray your sown seeds daily until seedlings emerge in 7-15 days
PLANTING OUT: Plant out your thyme seedlings when they are at least 1 month old and have grown sturdy stems. Choose very well-drained, gritty or sandy soil that could be neutral to highly acidic (but not alkaline). If you are using cuttings then plant out small bunches of sturdy, de-leafed stalks of freshly cut thyme a few inches into the soil. You can use stalks obtained from the grocery store, if they are fresh and have not been refrigerated. Your cuttings should be bunched together in clumps for sturdiness, about 6 inches apart as this will help them catch root more easily. Thyme will grow well on open plots or in containers.
NURTURING: Once your seedlings set root, or your cuttings catch in the new soil, they will replicate quickly and spread across the container. Thyme is a sun-worshipper that does very well in summer, and can get quite demoralized during our Mumbai monsoons. Shelter it from intense rainfall, and even in summer, do not water it too frequently. Other than this precaution, thyme will prove to be quite self-sustaining, as it does not get preyed on by insects or other pests.
HARVESTING: Harvest tender, newer leaves/stems as the plant grows and spreads across the container. After a couple of year’s harvest, or when stems turn black and woody, uproot, compost, replenish the soil and use that space for growing rooting or fruiting veggies next.
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