Growing wild thyme

This topic covers general and specific questions and requests about the wild flora of malta.

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michaelb
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Growing wild thyme

Post by michaelb » Tue Dec 20, 2005 9:20 pm

I wish to know if there is any method to grow wild thyme. I wish to grow some of it in my field so when I am growing a new bee colony the bees (I am a beekeeper) can find a source of nectar during the summer time. I know that there are some methods how to grow it, as it is used in the UK as a decorative shrub. I also noticede some wild thyme groving where there's plenty of soil and grows very well. can anyone help me :?:
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Post by jackpot » Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:34 am

It is my pleasure to meet a maltese beekeeper, the most important people to support the Flora of Malta! Furthermore, worldwide Maltese Thyme Honey and Maltese Capers are the best.
Unfortunately I am not an expert in growing wild thyme, but I am sure that Admin has something to say about....

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Post by MWP admin » Wed Dec 21, 2005 10:55 am

Yes I am undergoing research to help our Beekeeper friend. My books do not mention its cultivation but I have other sources.

Maybe we get a small vase of honey one day, but my greatest pleasure would be that such agri-business means more flowers to us green fingered.

I will reply within few days.
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Propagation and Cultivation - Part 1

Post by MWP admin » Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:24 am

Here are some propagation details I have found so far keeping in mind it was written for UK.

Propagation by Seeds or Cuttings.

1) Seeds

Sow in spring in a cold frame. (I would sow in January/February in Malta which is as cold) Seed can also be sown in autumn in a greenhouse.

Sow at the surface of soil with a thin layer of soil (1cm) and avoid heavy rain until germination. (thus Spray irrigation)

Germination not always successful or in time. (=late germination)

Germination in 10-14 days @ 55 Farh. degrees

When plantlets are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter.

The plant are placed into their permanent positions (assuming a field) in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts.(I would say March for Malta),

Do not place too much near each other - space them far way, say 80cm unless you are leaving them in pots. I do not know if they grow well in pots!!

One report says that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well.


Further personal observations. When planting in a permanent place, try and mimic the wild environment in your place. I would add rocks and stones to soil to mimic garigue (xaghri) environment. They like calcerous soil. I think reddish soil without clay content is better, but maybe not an important feature. Do not over-water !!


2) Cuttings:

Cuttings of young shoots, 5 - 8cm with a heel, May/June in a frame(I would do this in April for Malta). Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame (May for malta with regular watering). Layering.
Last edited by MWP admin on Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Cultivation Details part 2

Post by MWP admin » Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:26 am

These are some notes referring to adult plants once they are successfully propgated.

Requires a light well-drained preferably calcareous soil in a sunny position.

Grows well between stepping stones on paths, tolerating light treading

Succeeds on walls.

Thymes dislike wet conditions, especially in the winter.

A layer of gravel on the soil around them will help protect the foliage from wet soils

Plants resist temp to about -15° C (no problem for Malat!)

It makes a very good carpeting plant for the rockery or between paving stones and can also be grown in a short lawn.

The flowers are rich in nectar and are very attractive to honey bees and also attracts butterflies (well you are the expert here!)

Good luck


(PS I would buy seeds from nurseries, maybe they are stronger hybrids)
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Further Links

Post by MWP admin » Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:38 am

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Post by michaelb » Wed Dec 21, 2005 7:33 pm

Thanks very much for the information provided. Altough we heard that garrigue is barren land (golf course plans) as these people should know, bee colonies at the noth of Malta (Mellieha / Mgarr area) their only honey harvest is of wild thyme honey which of course grows in the 'barren land' while the rest of the year the bees pollinate other flowers and vegtables which we all know about their healty nutrients.
This method I should try it for next year. Anyone who wants more info about beekeeping can see my webpages.

:D :D
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Post by MWP admin » Wed Dec 21, 2005 9:27 pm

I browsed the website (one should view Micheal profile and clcik wesbite) and was very interesting. I was only disturbed by the maltese specific alphabet since on my PC they appeared as chinese instead Maltese ( I am referring to H,C, Z, GH, etc). Maybe better leave them as in English characters. Apart that it is very educative and easy to follow.


Here a direct link:
Website about Honey Making by Michael Buhagiar

Yes, the Golf course is very very stupid, and hope they Gov stays dreaming and planning only. I am sure that a golf course would not increase tourists as much as guided walks in the countryside.


If they will really starting digging the site for golf course, you can go with some friends and remove some Wild Thyme from the exact area going to be destroyed and try and replant at them to the south of Malta!


Being more serious, I would try both types of cultivataion - Seeds and cuttings. The cuttings are faster method but less chance of success.


Hope you dont mind ask you questions on the forum about honey making, and If Iwould know that there is interess in the subject I will open for you a new topic on the forum "Honey Making" where you will be mainly responsible to handle it. Would you like the idea or not?
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Post by michaelb » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:04 pm

Hi all,
Yes you can do that topic about bee keeping if you want and I would answer your questions. If you see the maltese fonts as chinese when you view my website, try to download and install the fonts provided on my home page. :D
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Post by wolf » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:37 pm

Welcome Michael - I guess you're new to this part of the planet.
My small piece of advise is talk to a woman I believe called Carmen at Gaia nursery at Ghajn Tuffieha ( between the two bays ) She is a true greenfingers and grows a variety of wild plants including saghtar. Last summer I had the pleasure to stumble in there quite by accident and spent an enjoyable half-hour talking to her. I also bought a sempreviva ta ghawdex for just lm2.50 and it is still doing well in spite of a very rough re-potting a couple of months back.

wolf

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Post by MarkG » Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:05 pm

:idea: If it helps marjoram cuttings are taken in November, maybe it will work for wild thyme

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Post by RB » Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:21 pm

Easiest is to layer first, but cuttings also work. They MUST be covered, or misted for those who enjoy the luxury.

Winter in general is fine, so November is good.

RB

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