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Thymian Deutscher Winter

Thyme "German Winter"

Jude Jude
27/05/2021 · 6 minutes reading time

Help your May plants grow bright and fragrant

Here’s what’s ahead:

Quick-Start Guide

Do you prefer to keep your garden a device-free zone? We get that. We’ve drawn up a cheat sheet with the most important information about sowing your thyme, so you can take it with you into the garden. Just print out our quick start guide:

Getting Started

You can sow your thyme outside from the end of May. We find it best to sow it in bowls, so that you can separate the fine seeds more easily later. Use potting soil mixed with some sand.

Eventually, you will put the small plants outdoors, or simply in a pot. You can also keep thyme on a bright windowsill, but it definitely prefers a sunny, airy spot outdoors.

Quick Tips at a Glance:

  • Pre-culture distance: 1 cm

  • Germination temperature: 16-20°C

  • Germination time: 10-15 days

  • Soil: potting soil with sand, later herb soil with sand

  • Transplant: 4-5 weeks after sowing

  • Repot: Approx. 4 weeks after pricking out outdoors (distance 25 cm) or individually in a large pot (25 cm diameter)

  • Location: sunny and dry

  • Soil: permeable and poor in nutrients

  • Pruning: in spring

  • Time of year: Perennial

Pre-Sowing

Here’s what you will need for growing your thyme outdoors or on a windowsill:

  • Seed trays

  • Potting soil, some sand

  • Spray bottle

  • Pricking Stick/Spoon

For growing on your balcony, terrace or window sill, use seed trays or other seed containers filled with a mixture of potting soil and sand.

You can also build your own container, if you’re feeling particularly artsy and creative. We like growing plants in old milk or egg cartons. "Where there’s a will there’s a…bed" – that's a thing, right? We're making it a thing.

Anyway, after tearing up the seed-paper, place the snippets face down on the soil 1cm apart and press lightly. Then just wet everything with a spray bottle.

Thymian auf Leinen

Things to consider:

  • Water the soil well, then press the seeds lightly and moisten them carefully.

  • Cover seed trays with clear film/glass pane until germination to retain moisture.

  • Remove foil/glass pane for a few minutes daily to prevent mould.

  • Avoid both water-logging and dehydration.

  • Remove cover after germination.

Transplanting

Here’s what you need:

  • Pricking stick, spoon or pen

  • Larger pots with drainage hole (important to avoid waterlogging)

  • Herb soil with sand

So about 4-5 weeks after sowing, you should prick out the thyme seedlings. Don't wait too long, because the little plants form very deep roots early on, which makes them difficult to separate.

To give them more space, carefully lift them out of the seed tray with your stick, shake off the soil a little and place them individually or in groups of about 4 plants in pots with fresh herbal soil.

Make sure the pots have drainage holes to prevent water-logging, and be sure not to plant the seedlings too deep.

Location

  • Sunny and warm, airy

  • Well-drained, dry, calcareous and nutrient-poor soil: Use nutrient-poor herb soil with some sand.

  • Thyme likes it dry

  • Don't plant too deep

For growing in a pot: If you don't want to transplant your thyme into a bed, you can plant it in a large pot with a diameter of about 25 cm either directly when transplanting or after another 4 weeks. A drainage layer of gravel or broken pottery prevents water-logging.

For growing in a bed: 4 weeks after transplanting, you can plant your plants outdoors. You should first loosen the soil, if necessary treat it with sand or gravel, and water a little after replanting.

So that your thyme can grow well, keep a distance of 25 cm. Thyme is perennial, so you can harvest it in your garden for many years – and provide your insect friends with a fragrant aroma as well.

Good and Bad Neighbours

Good: sage, rosemary or wild strawberries.

Bad: Since basil and marjoram need more water, don't plant drought-loving thyme next to them. Mint and watercress are also off the table (or out of the bed?) for the same reason.

Care

Watering

Keep everything moist until germination, after transplanting

Water the bed only when it is very dry

Water regularly and sparingly in the pot when the substrate has already dried slightly

Fertilising is not necessary.

Compost can be added to potted plants once a year.

Hibernation and pruning

As its name would indicate, the "Geran Winter" variety thyme is capable of handling freezing temperatures and can easily be overwintered if you pay attention to a few things:

Cover with brushwood protection in the first winter.

Overwinter potted plants in a bright and cool place in the stairwell or in a sheltered place outdoors. If necessary, place an insulating layer under the pot and cover with fleece.

Do not trim too aggressively in autumn – freshly exposed shoots are more sensitive to the cold and will not hold up as well during the frost.

Diseases and Pests

Pests are very rare with thyme. In fact, this plant is brilliant as a bed neighbour in a mixed culture, as it can even repel pests from other plants, such as cabbage.

If the nutrient supply is too high, aphids or other pests such as cicadas will occasionally appear, which you can spray with soapy water or nettle broth. Be on the lookout for soil that is poor in nutrients, and encourage beneficial insects in the garden that like to eat aphids (ladybugs, parasitic wasps, lacewings).

Waterlogging can lead to mould and fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. Dispose of infested plant parts in your household waste.

Harvest and Storge

Your thyme should bloom at the very least from June to July. It is best to harvest on dry days shortly before flowering, and to only cut off whole shoots with sharp scissors or a knife so as to avoid damaging the old wood.

If you want to dry out your thyme, hang them in bunches by the stems in an airy place. After drying, strip the leaves from the stalk and store in a screw-top jar.

Enjoy

Thyme can be used fresh or dried as a scent, spice or medicinal herb.

As a Mediterranean all-rounder, thyme goes perfectly with hearty dishes, soups and sauces. And there are some things that can’t do without thyme. We’re thinking of tomato sauce for pizza or pasta. Mangia, mangia!

Thyme has also seen a special healing effect attributed to it relating to respiratory diseases. A warm thyme tea with honey can work wonders, especially if you have a persistent cough. In addition, it provides relief from inflammation in the mouth, indigestion, liver and spleen.