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harvesting thyme?

Posted by leslie_c 7, harrisonburg (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 8, 07 at 9:19

I planted my new thyme plant about 2 weeks ago and it is doing fine. this is my first time with thyme and I was wondering when I can begin harvesting some leaves from it? Its only about 3 inches tall so far, :)Same with my rosemary plant?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: harvesting thyme?

If your rosemary is only 3 inches tall, I'd say no, give it some time to grow. The thyme, if it's your basic cooking thyme won't get any taller.... but it will spread! :) Personally, I'd give it another week... it's probably just getting started.


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RE: harvesting thyme?

In theory you can start harvesting at any time, but will it be enough to do anything with? Take no more than one third of total growth at any one time. If that means one leaf/sprig out of three, then go for it!

My common thyme gets about 30cm tall AND it spreads, but not much because it grows more upright than other thymes. When I'm able to give it some water, that is. Every now and then I tip a half-bucket or so of potting mix over it, and it renews itself by layering.


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RE: harvesting thyme? (and rosemary, and oregano)

  • Posted by tanama z7a, southern DE (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 16, 07 at 16:45

If I may tag onto your thread... I have several thyme, rosemary and oregano plants that are doing very well, but I'm not sure if there is some "best" way to harvest them. I'm used to harvesting basil from the top down, but not sure if there is a "best" way for these perennial herbs to keep them healthy year to year. All I've been doing so far is randomly cutting the longest shoots of the thyme and oregano, which since they're so all over the place anyway seems to do well enough (though I want to know if there's a better way). But I want to encourage the rosemary to grow as bushy as possible, and I'm just not sure if I should try and vary where I cut, or work on one "branch" and cut that all the way down before moving to another.

Hints and directions as to how to do this best are most appreciated!

And a quick note to the original poster: It made me smile to see your screen name as the person asking the question I came here to ask -- my first name is Leslie and my middle initial is C.!


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RE: harvesting thyme?

My thyme is beginning to get little flower buds on it. It is about 8-9 inches tall now. Should I clip off the flowers and harvest some of it or just continue letting it grow? Here's a picture of my plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: thyme plant


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RE: harvesting thyme?

Depending on the size of the plant, you can snip off a few short stems, provided its about 6 inches or more in length. Snipping off a few stems will encourage more branching.


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RE: harvesting thyme?

So thyme is not like other herbs(basil)? Its okay to harvest when it has buds?
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RE: harvesting thyme?

Do I cut the stems at a node the same as with basil plants?


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RE: harvesting thyme?

YOu can cut a thyme stem any place on the stem. Doing so, will encourage more branching. I didn't bother touching any of mine until I harvest all of it for an herbs butter. I spent about 3 hours removing all the tiny leaves from all the stems. Each stem had maybe 10 short branches of each. Plucking off each leaf would have taken forever, so I just slid each stem through my fingers and pull off as much as I could.


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RE: harvesting thyme?

If you let thyme dry for a few days before use the leaves will strip off the stem easily. I believe that the woody herbs like rosemary, sage, bay, oregano, marjoram and thyme all taste better dry, as the flavour is more concentrated.


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RE: harvesting thyme?

Leslie, that's a nice looking little thyme plant you have there! Flora UK says to let thyme dry before use, but I just use it fresh out of the garden. Like any woody shrub thyme will branch out when you cut it and, at least to my taste, the flavor doesn't change when it blooms. (Which it seems to do most of the year down here.) I'd be gentle with it until it gets a wee bit bigger, but you won't kill it if you snip off a branch or two. Mine thrive in full sun down here in Savannah, so don't worry about heat. I'm not sure about winters where you are, but I had some in a planter that survived 3 hard frosts here last winter without dropping a leaf. You may have to mulch and/or cover yours in the winter to protect the roots, but you should have it coming back. Good luck!


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RE: harvesting thyme?

Thanks for admiring my little plant, lol. Anyway the winters here get maybe slightly below freezing a few days in jaqn and feb and thats about it.Mine are planted in the ground so I guess I will be mulching them? Any suggestions on what to use to mulch/cover them with and how much of the plant do I cover?
ps...hey your from Paula's area, LOL!


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RE: harvesting thyme?

You might want to mulch with a white plastic, non woven fabric, the apply a few inches of straw over that for the winter months. The fabric will let water through and also air. The straw will insulate a little. Then lift off the fabric the next spring. These white fabric come in various thicknesses, and a heavy one would do well. This same approach for overwintering June bearing strawberries works well too. Do not use salt marsh hay!


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