Introduction to Thyme Herb:
You can find here, the infromation related to Thyme Farming.
It is one of the aromatic herbs and perennial in nature. It is considered as an evergreen plant which is mostly used in medicine and cuisines. The genus of the Thyme belongs to the thymus plant. The plant is a part of the mint family Lamiaceae. The Thyme is scientifically named as Thymus vulgaris. It is native to Eurasia, but now it is cultivated all over the world. The Thyme is a low – growing shrub and it is harvested annually. The leaves have a slightly pungent smell. These Thyme leaves are used to extract oil because of its huge demand in the market. The oil like Thymol and Thyme camphor is extracted from the leaves of the Thyme. It is widely used as a food flavouring herb for dishes made with eggs, fish meats, sauces, soups, vegetables, cheese and pastas.
Characteristics of Thyme plant:
- The plant can grow to a height of 40 cm.
- The stem is semi-green in colour.
- It grows horizontally and is also upright.
- The stem becomes strong and woody with the age of the plant.
- The leaves are small with length 2.5 -5 mm and the shape of leaves varies in each leaf. The leaves smell aromatic.
- The flowers are pale purple in colour and when the plant starts flowering, the herb can be harvested.
- The seeds are capable of germinating up to 3 years after harvesting them.
Properties of Thyme:
- The energy which is present in Thyme leaves is 101 kcal.
- Thyme leaves have 20.70 g of carbohydrates.
- The vitamins that are present in Thyme leaves are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron
- It contains sodium around 1 mg.
Read:Growing Pudina in Pots.
Cultivars/varieties of Thyme:
Basically the Thyme is of 30 varieties, but those 30 are categorized into two sub varieties.
Ground Covering Thyme Varieties
These contain 20 varieties of Thymes
- Lime Thyme
- Annie hall Thyme
- Lavender Thyme
- Mint Thyme
- Elfin Thyme
- Pink chintz Thyme
- White moss Thyme
- Heretus Thyme
- Highland cream Thyme
- Woodly Thyme
- Silver needle Thyme
- Hall’s wooly Thyme
- Coconut Thyme
- Reiter’s Thyme
- Lemon frost Thyme
- Creeping pink Thyme
- Done valley Thyme
- Loveyanus Thyme
- Caraway Thyme
- Leprechaun Thyme
Culinary Thyme Varieties
These contain 10 varieties of Thyme:
- Grey hill lemon Thyme
- Lemon Thyme
- Juniper Thyme
- Orange balsam Thyme
- Silver Thyme
- Hi-Ho silver Thyme
- Caraway Thyme
- Italian oregano Thyme
- Pennsylvania Dutch tea Thyme
- English Thyme
Soil and climate requirements for Thyme Farming:
The soil, which is most preferred for Thyme Farming is light and well drained soil. The pH level, which should be maintained for Thyme Farming plants is 5.0-8.0. The best yield of Thyme is obtained in soils which are coarse; rough soils don’t suit Thyme cultivation. Using heavy soils for cultivation can reduce the aroma of the herb.
The climate which is suitable for growing the Thyme is warm dry and sunny climate and the plantation should never be done in shaded areas. It needs lots of sunlight to grow, the rainfall which is required is 500-100 mm per year in the winter season. Excessive moisture is not good for the crop.
Land preparation and planting for Thyme Farming:
A land should be properly selected for Thyme Farming. If we select the land in hilly areas, then preparation should be as per the hilly land. The preparation of land should also be done according to the variety which has been selected for cultivation. The land should be ploughed couple of times to achieve smooth and fine tilth. Farmyard manure of appropriate amount should be supplied to the land. The construction of drainage channels is a must in the main field.
The seeds should be sown 15 – 30 cm apart and the width of the row should be maintained at 60 cm. Each row should have 20 – 30 cm of beds for sowing the seeds. On each bed 3 rows can be planted.
Propagation method for Thyme Farming:
The propagation of Thyme can be done in many ways. The propagation can be done by cuttings, seeds and by layering also. In spring the seed should be sown to a depth of 6 mm or less. The germination of seeds takes place in about 2 weeks. If they are planted in seed trays, then the seeds may take more time (6-8 weeks) for germination. The most preferred method of Thyme Farming is by cutting off stem as it is easy and fast.
A new plant can be produced by removing the cuttings from evergreen plants. The stems of 2 inches long with 2 or 3 leaves on them should be removed. The cuttings should be placed in the mixture of perlite and peat moss and water should be sprayed from the top till the roots start to grow. When the roots develop they are ready to be planted in the main area.
Manure and fertilization methods in Thyme Farming:
The land should be supplied with farmyard manure while preparing the land. The land should also be fertilized with N: P: K mixture @ 20: 40: 40 kg per hectare. Within a year the dose of the mixture should be increased. Organic manure should also be applied to the land along with the chemical fertilizers, but more chemical fertilizers used in the soil can make it dry and barren. After every fertilization process, irrigation must be given.
Irrigation methods in Thyme Farming:
The most critical part while growing the Thyme is irrigation. During the preliminary stages of planting and after sowing, irrigation should be supplied. They can survive hot climatic conditions, but they can’t tolerate water-logging. When required, water must be supplied as it gives a good outcome from the fields. When there is more water quantity available in the rainy season then heavy irrigation is not required. By using drip or sprinkler irrigation water can be saved. Water should be drained out of the field when there is over-logging of water near the plants. During the flowering stage, irrigation is most essential thing. Excess moisture should never be maintained as it can harm the plant and its roots.
Intercultural methods in Thyme Farming:
Weed control: Weed control around the field helps in deterring the pests in the field. The following measures can be used for the weed control.
- Before planting seedlings to kill the emerging weeds, we must use the pre-emergence herbicides.
- The grass which is around the crop should be killed, but it shouldn’t harm the crop. We should select the herbicides in that way.
- The weeds can also be removed manually.
- Before the plant starts to spread using the contact herbicides if necessary.
Pest and disease control measures in Thyme Farming:
The pests which affect the Thyme plant are Whiteflies and Spider mites.
Control of the pests:
- The first choice is to spray natural pest control
- A pest control program should be followed
- The crop should be regularly scouted
- The problem can be controlled by early detection and management of pest problem.
- The natural products can be used like neem oil, insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils.
The diseases which affect the Thyme plants are Rhizoctonia, root rot, rust, Alternaria blight and Botrytis.
- Diseases can be controlled by following a disease management programme.
- The crop should be regularly scouted.
- The problem can be controlled by early detection and management of diseases.
- The natural organic disease control measures can be used.
Harvesting techniques in Thyme Farming:
The leaves can be harvested when the plant starts flowering. The plant starts flowering during the summer season. The leaves can be harvested once in a year. In subsequent years after the first harvest, the plant’s leaves can be harvested twice a year. While harvesting the leaves, the stems can be cut up to 10-15 cm above the ground. It is critical to manage the harvest of the Thyme crop. Cutting of plants should be done by the sharp instruments as it prevents the plants from splitting.
Post harvesting techniques in Thyme Farming:
Cleaning: The leaves should be cleaned and dried after harvesting them. They should be dried in the sun for 10 – 15 days.
Storing: The Thyme is an herb and as any herb can survive good in cool and dark location, Thyme should also be stored accordingly.
Grading: As per International Standard Organization (ISO), the grading should be done based on the quality of dried Thyme. The oils which are extracted from the leaves are Thymol and Carvacol.
Packing: They should be kept in airtight glass bottles and should not be exposed it to heat or heavy metals.
Sorting and distillation: For extracting the oil, the leaves and the stems should be stored and distilled. The leaves should be removed from the stems. By sieving the dirt is removed from the leaves and they can produce uniform product. The leaves which are used for extracting the oil should be dried by artificial drying, but not by sun – drying methods as it can result to bad quality of product. By artificial drying the quality of oil would be good in quality.
Extraction of oil: The oil can be extracted from the stem and leaves, for extracting the oil the leaves and stem should go through the steam distillation process.
Marketing: As per the demand, Thyme can be sold. For aromatherapy the oil is used and can be sold. In local and international markets Thyme fetches a good rate.
Yield in Thyme Farming:
The main factors of good yield are variety, soil, climate, and crop management practices. The average yield of the dried material is 2 tonnes per hectare in a year.