Thyme companion plants are salad burnet, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, shallots, strawberries, blueberries, and roses. The cultivation of this herb is also gaining popularity because of its high demand and easy maintenance. Let us take a look at how to grow thyme along with its companion plants successfully.
What Are Thyme Companion Plants
Salad burnet, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, shallots, strawberries, blueberries, and roses are the best companion plants for thyme. Thyme itself is one of the best companion plants for a majority of crops because it can repel pests.
In particular, thyme effectively repels crop pests such as flea beetles, tomato hornworms, cabbage worms, and corn earworms. This way, the plants we’ve mentioned can thrive and disease-free. But what is in thyme that makes it a pest repellant?
Thyme has a compound called thymol that offers insecticidal effects. Thymol is present in pesticides sold in the market. Thyme is also a useful neighbor for plants because it can attract beneficial insects that can feed on pests and help pollinate.
The aromatic qualities of thyme will attract honeybees to help with pollination. And the combination of pest repelling and predator attracting attributes of thyme will ensure a healthy garden. If you’re thinking of cultivating this multi-purpose herb, read below what plants will love to be its neighbor.
Salad burnet is a perennial plant that offers medicinal uses and aesthetic purposes. It enhances the look of the garden, but it also has astringent properties. It adds perfume to the garden, and in addition to thyme, creates a delightful scent in your yard or greenhouse.
The thymol found in thyme is beneficial for cabbage. It can deter cabbage worms, loopers, moths, flea beetles, and aphids from keeping your leafy greens hole-free. Thyme can also attract ladybugs that will consume aphids and pollinate your vegetables.
Create a diverse garden by planting potatoes with thyme. Thyme can attract parasitic wasps that will prey on Colorado potato beetles. At the same time, thyme improves the potatoes’ taste for a guaranteed quality harvest of these tubers.
Another crop that thyme enhances the flavour of is the tomato. You will also get disease-free fruits because pests like hornworms and whiteflies don’t like thyme. Therefore, you will get flavorful tomatoes free of pests that can affect their quality and growth.
Similar to potatoes and tomatoes, thyme enhances the flavour of shallots.
To keep garden moths away from eggplants, plant thyme as a companion for these crops. You can stay away from chemical pesticides by taking advantage of this natural pest repellent.
Berries such as strawberries are excellent companion plants for thyme because the latter deters worms. More so, thyme helps keep the soil moist because it provides ground cover. And because you’re planting thyme in between rows, you can prevent weeds more manageable.
The hardy characteristic of thyme makes it an ideal companion for crops that are picky about soil conditions. At the same time, you can help in pollinating them for effective yield since thyme attracts pollinators.
Keep your garden or greenhouse more beautiful and disease-free by planting roses with thyme. Thyme acts as a pesticide for blackflies and aphids that can affect the quality of your rose bushes.
What Is Thyme?
Now that you are interested in growing thyme with companion plants, the next step is to know more about this multi-purpose herb. Thyme or Thymus vulgaris is a woody perennial plant from the Lamiaceae family. It is an easy crop to cultivate because it thrives well in harsh environments, including dry and sandy conditions.
Therefore, if you live in a hot region and you want something very low maintenance to cultivate, thyme is the best choice. Thyme boosts the flavor of other crops, deters pests, and attracts pollinators and pest predators. One can assume that thyme is a multi-purpose crop that will benefit those who are cultivating multiple crops.
More than as a flavorful herb with antiseptic properties, thyme itself is an eye-pleaser. You can grow them in a greenhouse, and people will buy them for borders and walkways to enhance the look of those areas. This low-growing herb is aromatic and beautiful, with tiny flowers that are well-liked by bees and humans during spring.
Types Of Thyme
Successful cultivation of thyme requires knowledge in the types of thyme and varieties that will suit you. They have distinct qualities and include the golden lemon, creeping, woolly, caraway, Golden King, Annie Hall, Cilician, Silver Posie, and Bertram Anderson as the popular ones.
Golden lemon thyme
Golden lemon thyme, from the name itself, smells like lemon. It also has a minty taste that goes well in dishes that need both citrusy and refreshing kick. You can distinguish the golden lemon thyme by its multicolored golden leaves.
Thyme is a low-growing plant, but the creeping thyme is at the lowest height. It only reaches up to 3 inches tall, which makes it great as a ground cover to keep weeds at bay. It is also beautiful to look at with the varying colored flowers ranging from white, pink, magenta, and lavender.
Another low and very flat type of thyme is the woolly thyme. It is called woolly because it feels soft to touch, similar to wool carpets. Because it has no flavor and smell profile, this thyme is used as ornamental plants for patio cracks instead.
Named after the fragrant spice, caraway, caraway thyme offers the same scent of the herb. It grows with pale flowers and is used both ornamentally and spice in different dishes.
The Golden King thyme variety is Golden lemon thyme with pink flowers.
Annie Hall is a favorite thyme variety because of its green leaves and pale pink flowers.
Cilician thyme is a variety with lively green leaves and pink flowers.
Silver Posie is low-maintenance thyme with frosted-looking leaves and light pink flowers.
Similar to the Golden King, Bertram Anderson thyme has golden leaves and pink flowers.
How To Grow Thyme?
Thyme is a hardy crop, but you still need to educate yourself with the factors for growing it successfully. The soil, spacing, temperature, maintenance, and harvesting are the significant factors to consider to guarantee effective cultivation. Afterward, one can apply the knowledge into growing thyme in the greenhouse for easier farming alongside thyme’s companion plants.
Thyme grows well in a fertilized and well-drained soil. Ensure that it has a pH between 6.0 and 8.0. Remember that thyme tolerates drought, so the soil must drain well.
At the same time, the ground temperature should be at 70°F if you are planting thyme cuttings.
Thyme is low-growing, but this herb still needs space as it grows well and easily. The spacing between each plant can range from 12 to 24 inches. If you aim to use thyme as a cover, you can use 6-inch spacing for the new plants.
Compared to other herbs, thyme thrives well in hot and sunny weather. Therefore, growing it in a region with warm, dry, and sunny climates is optimal for a successful harvest. In particular, they aim to grow thyme between 68 to 86°F.
These temperatures are usually during spring to early summer. But if you’re growing your thyme indoors, choose a sunny spot. Doing so will help the herb achieve better flavor because the heat will affect the essential oils on the leaves.
One of the reasons why many people are looking into growing thyme is because it is low maintenance. In fact, you don’t need to do much in watering and feeding. And after you have harvested, you only have to remove the areas that died.
This is also one reason you need to ensure that you planted thyme in free-draining soil. It is not picky in nutrient requirements, and it can even thrive with minimal soil nutrients. However, you also have to consider the needs of the companion plants you’ve chosen with thyme.
If you’re growing thyme for aesthetic purposes, you can reshape it after flowering. You can also trim it to have a higher leaf harvest through autumn. Otherwise, thyme can turn woody and tough.
When should you harvest thyme? You can harvest up to ⅓ of the leaves right before thyme starts flowering. Ensuring regular harvesting will give you continuous yield, and the number of harvesting sessions will only depend on your region’s condition.
For example, you can harvest once a year when half of the flowers have bloomed in the summer. On the other hand, you can also have up to 3 harvesting sessions from late spring to early autumn. Overall, it will take the personal experience to know how many harvesting sessions you can have with your crops.
It is worth noting that experienced farmers recommend starting harvesting on the plant’s second year onwards instead of the first year. However, studies have shown that the weather conditions before harvest are influential as well. Therefore, you can also harvest thyme during the first year or 160 days after you sowed the seeds.
The main takeaway here is that the more you harvest and trim thyme, the more it flourishes. Remember to leave the woody portions or 5 inches of the plant to encourage growth. This will also create a neater look of the herbs.
How To Grow Thyme In A Greenhouse?
Thyme is an herb that is frustration-free when it comes to growing it. In the greenhouse, the steps are as straightforward as planting, maintenance, and harvesting. But why should one consider the greenhouse for the cultivation of an easy crop?
Using a greenhouse will allow farmers with limitations in agricultural limitations to harvest thyme and companions plants as effectively. Thyme is a hardy plant, but studies have shown diminishing quality if you let them dry outside after harvesting. You can avoid this by cultivating them in a greenhouse and refer to Krostrade.com about effective greenhouse farming.
You can opt to grow thyme in the soil bed of the greenhouse. You’ll only need a small amount of fertilizer or organic matter in the soil for the conditions. It will take the seeds up to 28 days to fully germinate, and the ideal temperature should be at 70°F.
The seeds can grow in shallow rows without covering. Afterward, you can transplant them when they reach a height of 3 inches. Depending on how big your greenhouse is, you can plant thyme plants 9 inches apart or 18 inches apart.
Another reason why thyme grows excellently in the greenhouse is that the latter offers protection against harsh winds and rains. In fact, thyme can grow well in gravel gardens or grit-filled containers with free-draining soil. As for the maintenance, thyme tolerates drought and only requires a 10-10-10 ratio fertilizer every spring.
You can start harvesting during the first year before the flowering for better flavor. Cut the thyme plants 2 inches above the ground and avoid cutting the stems at their base. Another good indication that it’s good to harvest is when the plants’ softwood is still green.
Once you harvested the plants, dry them in a warm shade over sheets of newspaper. It can take up to 4 years for the plants to become woody. Once that happens, you can plant new thyme seeds.
How To Use Thyme?
Both fresh and dried thyme is useful for cooking. You can also preserve this herb in oil or vinegar as flavorful and more concentrated additions to different dishes. Thyme goes well with butter, mayonnaise, cabbage, beans, green vegetables, potatoes, meat, fish, and eggs.
If you’re using fresh thyme, you have the option to add it with the stem or just the leaves. Some recipes require intact thyme, while the leaves also work as a garnish. The leaves are tiny, which means you don’t have to chop them.
Dried thyme is an excellent substitute for fresh thyme because of its shelf life. But if you’re using it as a substitute, remember that its flavor is stronger. It’s best to add dried herbs at the beginning of the recipe for a much more incorporated harmony of flavors.
Medicinal uses and benefits
Thyme also has a wide range of medicinal uses. The compound found in thyme, thymol, has shown its potential in treating respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous disorders. You can also use it as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and antimicrobial.
Some medicinal uses of thyme include dental varnish, germ-killing mouthwash, and soothing the skin and scalp. Thyme works as treatment of bronchitis, sore throat, diarrhea, flatulence, diuretic, appetite stimulant, and anti-parasitic as well. The plant can be applied directly to the skin, but thyme oil and extract are also popular remedies.
Thyme is an herb that is loved by a lot of crops because it enhances their flavors, deters parasites, and attracts predators that feed on pests. Salad burnet, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, shallots, strawberries, blueberries, and roses are excellent thyme companion plants. Thyme is also alluring for honeybees that help with pollination, and the way this herb grows can keep weeds at bay.
Growing thyme is stress-free because it is a hardy plant. It thrives well in drought, and it has minimal soil requirements in terms of fertilization. If you live in an area where agricultural resources are limited, you can still harvest this multi-purpose herb without any greenhouse problems.
Overall, thyme is not just a useful flavor enhancer in different dishes. It also offers natural pesticidal benefits to other crops, enhances the look of an area, and acts as an herbal medicine for various medical conditions. Take advantage of companion plant cultivation with thyme and reap these multiple benefits without high levels of effort.