The Benefits of Growing Thyme

Gardeners, put your shovels aside: it's time to pot your thyme seeds and herb up your life

Credit: Carol Pope

Thyme is a hearty herb full of flavour and nutritional benefits

Plant, grow, and eat thyme

It’s that time of year when I thank myself once again for planting thyme.

A few years ago a good garden friend gave me some Thymus vulgaris seeds, which I promptly planted in a deep-root seed-starter tray. I didn’t expect much; after all, thyme seems like such an exotic herb and maybe best grown in Italy.

Lo and behold, virtually every seed burst into an adorable little seedling and they grew so quickly that I had to scurry to get them outside before their little roots became bound up.

Thyme: From Garden Bed to Serving Plate

Now in my garden, carpets of thyme line the front of rockeries, hug the trunks of trees in a weed-free expanse, and spill over the sides of raised food beds – it essentially loves any sunny, well-drained situation.

Thyme withstands drought, doesn’t mind the rain and holds its own through the winter. I trim it regularly to keep it tidy and am motivated to do so with most meals, as thyme is one of the must-have ingredients in a bouquet garni and a delicious addition to soups, pizza, casseroles, pasta, and egg, bean, chicken and fish dishes. Just run your fingers up the stem to roll off the flavour-filled little leaves.

If you’re thinking of the taste of dried thyme purchased in the supermarket, don’t; fresh thyme is more aromatic but in a subtler simpler way. Use three times as much as you would dried in any recipe.

And here’s good news for those in deer country: this is a wonderful groundcover, resplendent in pastel-pink blossoms that throb with happy bees through the early summer – and it is absolutely deer-proof. I’m not going to be a wuss here and say deer-resistant. They simply don’t eat this.

Happily I do – and so should you, because thyme is a nutritional gem.