Growing your own herbs Thyme, Oregano
How to grow thyme
Thyme is an evergreen dwarf shrub and a huge range of varieties is available in garden centres. Buy in spring for planting in beds or containers.
How to care for thyme
Whether you're growing the twiggy bush types or the carpeting mat forms, all like a warm sunny site in well-drained soil that's low in nutrients. Add grit to the planting hole or container. Thyme thrives in chalky soils.
Trim plants after flowering to keep them neat and encourage new growth. Thymes are best treated as short-lived herbs that will need replacing every three years or so. Either buy new plants or take cuttings from new shoots in early spring or summer.
How to harvest
Snip off twiggy stems as you need them and strip off the leaves. Or hang in bunches to dry and then store in an airtight container.
Recommended thyme varieties
The most popular culinary type is the Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris); try the variegated 'Silver Posie' or lemon thyme, T. citriodorus, which goes particularly well with fish.
Oregano, also known as marjoram
How to grow oregano
Although dried oregano is widely available, you'll struggle to find fresh leaves in the shops so it's well worth growing your own. Buy small plants of named varieties from the garden centre in March.
How to care for oregano
Oregano likes a warm sunny spot with light, well-drained soil. It's perfect for containers. Be sure not to over water and give variegated types some shade at midday. Cut back after flowering and feed with a liquid fertiliser.
How to harvest
Pick the leaves whenever you need them for using fresh, and dry some for later use. Tie cut stems in a bunch and hang in the kitchen to dry. Crumble the dried leaves off the stalks and store in an airtight container.
Recommended oregano varieties
Try wild marjoram (Origanum vulgare) in the green-leafed form. Also try golden oregano (O. vulgare 'Aureum') and compact oregano (O. vulgare 'Compactum') with its golden-green foliage. 'Country Cream' has cream and green leaves.
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