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Growing Organic Thyme From Seeds, Cuttings In Pots

Introduction to Growing Organic Thyme in Pots/Containers

Thyme is a pungent herb of the mint family (Lamiaceae) known for the aroma and flavour of its dried leaves and flowering tops. It is the herb of some members of the genus Thymus of aromatic perennial evergreen herbs in the mint family Lamiaceae. It is a low-growing, woody perennial that performs especially well in somewhat dry, sunny conditions. Thyme is a wonderful herb with a pleasant, pungent, and clover flavour.

A Step by Step Guide to Growing Organic Thyme in Pots from Seed and Cuttings

Thyme is an ancient herb used in cooking. Thyme produces attractive, aromatic foliage and can thrive in almost any climate. This heat-loving plant requires full sun and well-drained soil to thrive. For optimal growth, try to keep the pH level of your soil between 6.0 and 8.0. It is best to fertilize your soil with plenty of organic compost in the early spring to ensure there are plenty of nutrients available for it to feed on. Growing organic Thyme is easier than growing organically other herbs, as the plant rarely suffers from diseases and minimum fertilization requirements. The organic essential oil from Thyme plant can be marketed at a higher price than regular. Growing Thyme indoors requires plenty of sunshine and well-drained soil. Growing Thyme inside is one of the easiest indoor herbs to cultivate.

Organic Soil Preparation for Growing Thyme

Thyme plant prefers full sun to light shade and well-drained soil amended with plenty of organic compost or well-rotted animal manure. Use a well-drained, gritty soil for growing Thyme. The pH should be about 7.0 or on the slightly alkaline side of the scale. Add lime well in advance if necessary to raise the pH level. Then, mix in lots of mature compost before planting or time-release organic fertilizer. Good drainage is key to growing Thyme. Adding a little sand is not a bad idea. Space Thyme plants 12 to 24 inches apart in a very sunny area with fertile, well-drained soil with a pH level close to 7.0.

Conditions Required for Growing Organic Thyme

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Conditions Required for Growing Organic Thyme.
Conditions Required for Growing Organic Thyme.
  • Thyme is both a culinary and aromatic herb. An excellent container for growing Thyme is a clay planter. Other types of pots will suffice, but a clay pot will allow the Thyme herb to dry out between watering and prevent overly wet roots as Thyme isn’t tolerant of soggy root conditions.
  • The container should have at least one large drainage hole. A good mix of sand, potting soil, peat moss and perlite will provide adequate nutrients and drainage.
  • Thyme can tolerate indirect light, which makes it perfect for the kitchen herb garden. The best results will be found when Thyme is planted where it receives 6 hours of daylight. Once the Thyme has been planted, place the container in a southern- or western-facing window if possible. Growing Thyme inside will require temperatures in the daytime around 16°C or more.
  • Thyme plant thrives in full sun and loves heat. If you are growing Thyme in a pot indoors, plant near a sunny window.
  • In early spring, you may fertilize with organic matter such as compost, but not much soil amendment is necessary.
  • Plant cuttings or young Thyme plants any time after the ground temperature reaches 21°C. This is usually 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost in well-drained soil about 9 inches apart.
  • Space young plants about 12 to 24 inches apart, depending upon the specific variety.

Growing Organic Thyme from Seeds

The Thyme plant can be grown from seed, but frequently people choose to avoid growing Thyme seeds. Thyme seeds are difficult to germinate and can take a long time to sprout. If you would like to grow Thyme from seeds, follow these steps for growing Thyme from seeds;

Step 1) Gently scatter seeds over the soil in the container you will be planting Thyme seeds.

Step 2) Next, gently scatter soil over the seeds.

Step 3) Water thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap.

Step 4) Place the container in a warm location.

Step 5) Seeds will germinate in 1 to 12 weeks.

Step 6) Once Thyme seedlings are 4 inches high, plant them where you will be growing Thyme in your garden.

Sowing Thyme Seed Indoors

  • Sow Thyme seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit
  • Sow seeds about ¼ inches deep in seed-starting formula.
  • Keep the soil moist at 21°C
  • Seedlings emerge in 14-21 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3 to 4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work well for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for about 24 hours.

Propagating Thyme from Cuttings

Thyme is easy to propagate from cuttings or plants from nursery stock. Space 6 to 12-inches apart in all directions.

Start Thyme seeds indoors, covering lightly with soil and keeping moist until seedlings appear. Then, transplant outside after all danger of frost has passed. If you prefer, direct-sow in prepared garden beds 2 weeks before the last frost.

The horizontal growth pattern of Thyme means it’s easy for side branches to root themselves in the soil. To start a new plant, clip off a 3-inch section from the tip of a mature one and apply a rooting hormone to the exposed stem pieces. Within 6 weeks, roots should start to form, at which point you can transfer the cutting into a small pot until it reaches transplanting size.

Growing Thyme in Containers Organically

  • Not only does Thyme grow great in containers, keeping a pot on the kitchen windowsill makes it easily accessible for when you need it most. Growing Thyme in a container that’s at least 6 inches deep and makes sure it gets plenty of sunlight to ensure you always have a constant supply handy.
  • Thyme requires little care, and will only need to be watered during dry spells.  If you’re growing it as a perennial, make sure you mulch heavily during harsh winters. If the weather is too harsh, you can bring the Thyme plant indoors and grow it throughout winter there. Always prune back stems in the spring for the new growth to emerge.
  • Add some pebbles or sand into the soil mixture and some lime for growing Thyme in containers. Thyme can be planted into window boxes or bowls together with other herbs or flowers. The plants that you combine it with have to be able to stand dry conditions because this is what this plant loves.
  • Thyme needs little feeding. Use a liquid organic fertilizer for it once or twice a month during the growing season.
  • Potted plants must be taken indoors in the winter if you have severe frost over a longer period. You can propagate Thyme with cuttings take during the summer season or from seed. The cultivated forms though have to be propagated from cuttings.
  • Keep your plants bushy and compact by cutting a third of them in early autumn.

Planting Thyme from Divisions

Normally, a Thyme plant is grown from a division. Thyme is easy to divide. In the fall or spring, find a mature Thyme plant. Use a spade to gently lift the clump of Thyme up from the ground. Tear or cut a smaller clump of Thyme from the main plant, making sure there is a root ball intact on the division. Replant the mother plant and plant the division where you would like to grow the Thyme.

Watering and Mulching Requirements for Growing Organic Thyme in Containers

Thyme is extremely well-behaved and spreads slowly. It requires plenty of water throughout the first season to help it get established enough to thrive. Once Thyme is established, it only needs to be watered when the soil below is completely dry. Pruning off dead and dying stems in the spring and fall will help keep each plant healthy for the coming season.

To help your Thyme survive a rough winter, add a thick layer of mulch to the plants to prevent them from freezing.

Thyme plant likes dry soil. Water only when the soil has dried out or in hot, dry weather. Keep the soil evenly moist until plants are well-rooted. Thyme plant requires little watering once established; once established Thyme grows best in soil that is on the dry side.

Mulch with limestone gravel after planting. This has many purported benefits, including improving drainage, soil pH level, and therapeutic benefits obtained from reflecting sunlight onto the vines.

Thyme plants should not need fertilizing if planted in fertile soil. If growing Thyme in a container, you may want to give it a light feeding a couple of times during the growing season. Use organic liquid fertilizer or compost tea. Avoid high nitrogen solutions.

Organic mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For herbs, an organic mulch of shredded leaves or aged bark lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off stems to prevent possible rot.

Organic Fertilizers for Growing Thyme in Containers/Pots

Herb care for plants indoors is much the identical as for those outdoors. Water each time but allow the pot to dry before watering again. Fertilize Thyme with a weak solution of fish emulsion or liquid seaweed, diluted by half every 2 weeks. Cut back overly woody stems on the Thyme to force fresh new growth. Removal of flowers increases foliage production.

Organic Pest and Disease Control in Growing Thyme

Pests – Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites may attack Thyme; knock insect pests off of plants with a strong stream of water or spray pests with insecticidal soap.

Diseases – Thyme plant is susceptible to fungal diseases and root rot. Avoid root rot by keeping Thyme plants out of wet areas. Botrytis rot can be treated with a fungicide; avoid planting plants too close together.

Because Thyme usually does a good job of attracting beneficial insects, it doesn’t have any problems with harmful pests. Thyme doesn’t have any serious disease problems; it occasionally suffers from root rot in too wet conditions. Allow your Thyme bed’s soil to dry out completely before watering to avoid this condition.

Thyme is susceptible to botrytis rot, root rot, and other plant diseases. Choose planting locations with good drainage and plenty of air circulation to prevent problems.

Common insect pests attacking this Thyme plant include aphids and spider mites. Watch closely and take the following points to pest control;

  • Discard severely infested plants by securely bagging and putting in the trash.
  • Release commercially available beneficial insects to attack and destroy insect pests.
  • Spot treat pest problem areas with neem oil, diatomaceous earth, or another organic pesticide.

When and How to Harvest Thyme

When and How to Harvest Thyme.
When and How to Harvest Thyme

Harvest Thyme just before the plant flowers by cutting off the top 5 to 6 inches of growth. Leave the tough, woody parts. It is best to harvest Thyme in the morning after the dew has dried. Clean plant leaves should not be washed, because it removes some of the essential oils.

When to harvest – Snip leaves as needed once plants are 6 to 8 inches tall. The flavour of leaves will be most intense before flowers open. For drying, harvest Thyme plants when they begin to bloom.

How to harvest – Snip leaves with scissors or garden snip. Trim back the tops of woody branches with a pruner. Cut back Thyme to about 3 inches high twice during the growing season to encourage vigorous growth. Harvest Thyme throughout the summer season. Try drying the sprigs in a warm, well-ventilated area and then store them in an airtight container. Thyme also freezes very well.

You can use the above information for growing organic thyme on the terrace, in the backyard, in the balcony, or indoors. In case if you are interested in this: Hydroponic Cucumber Farming.

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