Thyme and sage are part of the Lamiaceae family, as is also the case of basil and rosemary. They are grown as aromatic plants, but they are also ornamental plants. Some varieties of thyme and sage are sought for their therapeutic properties, while others are used in the manufacturing process of cosmetics. Easy to grow, thyme and sage all have their place in a vegetable garden.

Thyme is an excellent companion plant for tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. However, it does not like the company of oregano and marjoram. Sage is a prime choice companion plant for cabbage and rosemary.

Enjoying the beneficial effects of thyme

Thyme is a very robust perennial that can be grown as ground cover. It thrives in a sunny spot, on well-drained rocky ground. Thyme can’t stand stagnant humidity. To grow it, you can choose between young seedlings made available in the trade and sowing. Regarding the seedlings, they must be planted from October to March. Although thyme is able to live many years, it is advisable to uproot it after three years, to divide it up and to transplant it to prevent the leaves from losing their specific flavour. For indoor growing, use a good soil made up of compost, limestone and sand. Never water while the soil is still damp. Ensure that thyme can enjoy at least 5 hours of sunshine daily.

Sowing thyme is carried out towards the end of the periods of severe frost, that is to say, around April-May. It may be done directly outdoors, on open ground. Make small shallow trenches, sow the seeds and then cover everything with a mixture of soil and organic fertilizer. Germination takes two to three weeks. Once the shoots emerge, we must proceed to thinning, with one seedling planted every foot. Harvesting is done throughout the year according to the gardener’s desires and needs, taking special care to avoid damaging the branches (use very sharp shears). Every spring, trim the plant to half its height to accelerate the emergence of young shoots. Take this opportunity to amend the soil with organic fertilizers.

Appreciating the qualities of sage

Also known for its therapeutic properties, sage is an aromatic plantĀ  that enjoys light or rocky soil. Proper soil drainage is critical because sage , like thyme, fears stagnant moisture. If you choose to grow thyme by sowing, the best time do do so is in the spring. When the cold begins to dissipate, it is possible sow directly on the ground. The seeds should be planted at depth of less than 5mm. Germination takes no more than four weeks and the seedlings need to be transplanted once they have four leaves, remembering to keep a distance of 20 inches (50 cm) between plants. When they reach 6 inches (15 cm), it is necessary to top them so that they may grow in width. The young seedlings available in the trade must be planted in spring. You can choose a spot that receives plenty of sunshine since watering is only recommended in cases of persistent drought. In case of a particularly harsh winter, a layer of mulch must be set up. You must prune them the following spring to get new very tasty leaves.

The taking of cuttings is a somewhat difficult practice for amateur gardeners because the branches rot very easily. They must be put in a pot of sand to which a little earth will be added. Subsequently, the branches must be set in place, and the whole installed in a shady spot. The winter that follows the taking of cuttings consists of putting the container in a cool dry place sheltered from the frost. Also remember that it is best to use the same substrate for growing sage indoors. Do not put any receptacle under the pot (risk of stagnant moisture) and water only when the substrate is dry. On a balcony or outdoors, harvesting can be performed year-round but is particularly recommended in summer.

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Published in Aromatic plants by Alexander on 26 Jul 2011