Creeping thyme (Thymus serpillum L.) (popularly - lemon scent, thyme, Bogorodskaya grass, bonnet, incense) a close relative of common thyme (Thymus vulgaris), a native of the Mediterranean coast, it is one of the oldest spicy-aromatic plants, and its name is consonant in many languages of the world.
The ancient Greeks revered him and gave him the name "thymus", which means "strength." They dedicated this plant to the goddess Aphrodite and burned the grass in a sacrificial fire, believing that it is capable of returning life to a person. Our ancestors, the Slavs, also threw this herb into the fire during sacrifices. When its fragrant smoke ascended to the sky, it meant the acceptance of the sacrifice by the gods.
Today thyme is, first of all, a popular spice with unusual taste and aroma characteristics. The variety of flavoring palette has provided widespread use of thyme in cooking. It is used both as an independent spice for certain foods, and in combination with other herbs. The most successful "companions" of thyme are: bay leaf, oregano, parsley, rosemary, marjoram, tarragon and lavender. Thyme goes especially well with the following foods: cheeses; meat: chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit; different types of fish; vegetables: eggplants, beans, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes; mushrooms; as well as honey, lentils, apples and pears.
There are more than 400 species of this plant in the world, but common thyme and creeping thyme are mainly used in cooking. Common thyme is less winter-hardy, it is grown in the southern regions.
Creeping thyme is a small branched subshrub of the Clay family with a gray-brown stem up to 40 cm high. Taproot, strongly developed. Leaves are small, sessile, elongated. On them are glands with essential oil. The flowering shoots of thyme are densely covered with short hairs. The flowers of this plant are small, mauve, of different shades, arranged in bunches in the axils of the leaves, on the branches of the stems, forming elongated paniculate inflorescences. Thyme blooms in June-August. Flowers attract bees well, for which they are highly valued by beekeepers.
Location... Thyme is quite picky about growing conditions. It grows well in areas that are lighted and protected from the cold wind, where water does not stagnate. Prefers light and fertile, well-drained soils with a neutral reaction, generally does not tolerate acidic soils. It is advisable to grow it after the predecessors fertilized with manure.
The soil... During the autumn preparation of the soil, it is dug up with a pitchfork, carefully choosing the weeds. Before digging, it is necessary to add 0.5 buckets of rotted compost per 1 square meter, 1-2 tbsp. tablespoons of superphosphate, 1 glass of ash. In the spring, the soil must be dug again with a pitchfork to a depth of 10 cm and at the same time add 1 teaspoon of urea per 1 sq. meter.
Sowing... In culture, thyme is bred by sowing seeds in the ground or through seedlings. For seedlings, seeds are sown in boxes, hotbeds or greenhouses 50-55 days before planting seedlings in the ground. In open ground, seeds are sown in early spring in grooves to a depth of 0.5 cm. It is even better not to cover the seeds with soil, but only to "powder" with sifted humus.
To obtain friendly seedlings, crops must be mulched with peat or covered with a film, because it is during this period that increased soil moisture is required. Seeds germinate at a temperature of 20 degrees in 3 weeks. At this time, care must be taken that the soil does not dry out and that a crust does not appear on it.
Transplanting... Seedlings are planted in open ground in May with a distance between rows of 30-40 cm, between plants in a row of 15-20 cm. At first, young plants grow very slowly. By the way, you can sow thyme along the edge of the flower garden, like a curb plant.
Care... It is necessary to carry out careful plant maintenance, keeping the garden bed clean from weeds, otherwise the weeds can easily drown them out. In the second and subsequent years, harrowing is performed across the rows and fertilizing with mineral fertilizers or mullein solution. Thyme is responsive to lime application.
In case of perennial cultivation of thyme, it is necessary to cover it with fallen leaves, spruce branches or peat crumbs for the winter and cover it well with snow. in cold winters, it can freeze out. That is why many gardeners prefer to grow it through seedlings as an annual crop. It is grown in one place for up to 5 years.
Collecting greens... Thyme greens are cut during flowering, leaving petioles 5-6 cm long above the ground. It is tied in bunches and dried under a canopy or in a dry, well-ventilated room. For current consumption, greens can be cut throughout the season.
With a perennial crop, the largest harvest of greens is harvested in the 2-3rd year. Then the yield decreases and the planting must be renewed, since the old plants significantly lose their aroma. Such a renewal of plantings can be done in the spring by dividing the bushes, using old plantings for this.
Seed collection... To get your seeds, you must leave at least one plant on which you do not cut greenery. In autumn, before frost, when the tops begin to acquire a brown color, the branches are cut off and dried in the attic for 5-7 days, spread on paper. Then the dry mass is ground and the seeds are separated through a fine sieve, which retain their germination for 2-3 years.
Based on materials from the newspaper "Ural Gardener"