Thyme, a perennial hardy to Zone 4, can be grown from seed in a flat kept at about 55 degrees F. Germination takes three to four weeks. The first year plants will be small and not flower, growing more robust and flowering the second year. Thyme needs good drainage for its deep roots. Plants should not be set too close together (12 inches apart) and should be hardened off before planting in the garden (a week or more of several hours of sunlight and then returned to shade before evening). Divide established plants in the spring. Fall transplanting can invite winterkill. Dry thyme by hanging bunches in a warm place out of direct sunlight.
Thyme is frequently used fresh or dried in soups, stews, and sauces. Fresh thyme added to rice is a flavorful treat. Lemon-scented thymes are good for tea and potpourri.