Yesterday I noticed my French thyme was in bud. Most herbs taste best at this stage. It would be a perfect time to harvest and dry, but I decided against it. French thyme is a slow grower compared to it's neighbor English thyme. It hadn't quite filled out its spot so I left it alone. The bully English thyme on the other hand was starting to invade the French thyme. I hacked a big section out between the two (which is hard to see in the photo but it is there) to give the French thyme some breathing and spreading room.
Since I had a handful of thyme, it was certainly time to bring out the dehydrator. But just a handful of thyme isn't enough. I often cut back my oregano in the spring since it seems to get the same disease that my tomatoes get later in the year. Right now the leaves are beautiful and disease free. So I cut some nice bunches of oregano too. Sometimes I'm careful not to dry certain herbs together because their flavors get a little mixed, but thyme and oregano together really aren't an issue. If I were drying mint I would do it separately.
I often don't wash my herbs before drying if they are clean. Today they were not in the least clean. We have caterpillar poop raining down in my back yard. It is so bad I always wear a hat outside so my hair won't be disgusting. An occasional gust of wind can blow it to the side yard. And it obviously had recently. So they were all well washed before drying.
I use a dehydrator. If I lived in my native state, Colorado, I wouldn't. The air there is dry. The air here in the Northeast is very humid. Yesterday it was drizzily. To dry something in this kind of weather a dehydrator is very useful if you don't want moldy herbs. My dehydrator is a cheapy one. I would love one of those dehydrators that you can set the temperatures. It would make life easier, but I've gotten used to drying things. If I want it cooler I keep the bottom tray empty and adjust for greater airflow. It doesn't dry very evenly either and is getting worse with age. I have to turn the trays to make sure everything dries. But it works. My 2008 leftover dried thyme and oregano were tossed and now I have some fresh in its place. I'll need some more before the end of the year, but probably just one more batch for each.