The Backyard

The Backyard

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Time for Thyme

It's easy to take some plants for granted and not pay much attention to them until suddenly you realize you can't live without them. Thyme is the perfect example. I noticed today my thyme jar was near empty and when I went to the storage area -- none! And there are some herbs that are so easy to grow that when I run out, I can't possibly bring myself to buy it. Luckily, with the warm November we've been having, there was still "thyme" to harvest some and dry it. Thyme is a perennial herb that you plant once and you'll have it for years. But don't be surprised when you are ready to buy a plant, to find dozens of varieties. I've grown lemon, elf, variegated, vulgaris french (this is the cooking thyme), wooly, caraway, and silver. And from what I read, these are only a few of 100 varieties of thyme. I started growing it mainly for its looks and not the culinary uses for which thyme is famous for. Wooly thyme grows flat and yes, it's "wooly" with a grey, soft surface -- like petting a cat. Silver thyme is just what it says, a silver plant that contrasted nicely with other herbs. Elf thyme makes a beautiful small ornamental to stick in between plants to add some contrast. It has tiny leaves; thus "elf." And caraway thyme is also a creeper that made a nice edging plant. Thymes are wonderful herbs to have in the garden. Planted in a row, they can be trimmed into tiny little hedges which look lovely as a border. Left to bloom, they attract honey bees who enjoy the nectar. While they are perennial, they aren't long-lasting perennials. Thyme usually lasts about 5 years before needing replaced. Drying it is super simple like most herbs. At this time of the year though, my 110 drying room (top of garage) isn't warm enough, so the drying is done in my make-shift drying area above the refrigerator. Just cut your stems, lay them flat, and let them go until dry -- about two weeks will work. Sage was another herb that I recently ran short and dried the same way. Remove the leaves from the stem, and jar. Finally, some thyme.

1 comment:

The Wiser Weiser said...

Thanks! i need to do that with my thyme, sage, rosemary and oregano!! :)