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Are you a fan of oregano like me? This delicious herb adds so much flavor to your cooking and it’s also packed with health benefits.
And what’s better than having a fresh batch of oregano right at your fingertips? Growing it at the home of course! Not only will you save money on buying it at the store, but you’ll also have control over the quality of the herbs you use. Plus, it’s pretty easy to grow and maintain.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through the process of growing oregano at home. We’ll cover everything from choosing the right variety, preparing to grow it, maintaining and harvesting it, and tips for preserving it.
So if you have no idea how to grow oregano in your garden, this post is definitely for you.
So without further ado, let’s begin…
Choosing the right variety of oregano:
With so many varieties of oregano available, it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your needs.
Before choosing the correct type of oregano to plant in your garden or in containers around the house, you need to understand the differences between the various types.
The two main types of oregano are Greek Oregano and Italian Oregano.
Greek Oregano (Origanum vulgare) has a robust flavor and grows into a low-growing bush that can reach 3 feet in height. This variety does well in hot, dry climates and prefers sandy soils with good drainage.
Italian Oregano (Origanum x majoricum) has a milder flavor than Greek Oregano. It is more like the taste of both Greek oregano and marjoram.
There are a few factors you should consider when selecting the best oregano variety for your home garden.
First and foremost, consider the climate in your area. Some oregano varieties, such as Greek oregano, thrive in hot and dry climates, whereas others, such as Italian oregano, prefer cooler climates. Choose a variety that is appropriate for the conditions in your area.
Second, consider the oregano’s flavor and aroma. Oregano flavors can range from mild and sweet to pungent and spicy. Greek oregano, Italian oregano, and wild marjoram are among the most popular varieties. Try a few different types to see which one you prefer.
Finally, consider the plant’s size and growth habits. Some oregano varieties can grow to be quite large, whereas others remain small and compact.
If you have limited space, you might want to go with a smaller variety.
Preparing to grow oregano:
Planting oregano is a great way to have a constant supply of fresh herbs for your cooking. The best time to plant oregano is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and there is less stress on the plants. Oregano can be grown in a garden bed or in pots, making it a versatile herb to grow.
How to Select a location for your oregano plants:
When it comes to growing oregano, the location is key!
First things first, oregano needs plenty of sunlight to thrive. So, make sure you pick a spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, ideally all day.
Ensure that there are no overhanging trees or structures that might block out light in major parts of the day. But, don’t worry if it gets a little bit of afternoon shade, it will still do well.
The next thing to consider is the soil. Oregano likes well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. If your soil has heavy clay in it or doesn’t drain well, you can add compost and other soil mediums to increase its drainage capacity.
And just to remind you, oregano is drought-tolerant, but it doesn’t like to be waterlogged, so make sure the soil drains well.
Also, keep in mind that oregano can be invasive, so you’ll want to choose a spot where it won’t spread to other areas of your garden. And if you’re growing it in a container, make sure the container has drainage holes so the soil doesn’t get waterlogged.
In short, A perfect spot for your oregano plants is a place where it gets plenty of sunlight and has well-draining soil. Also, consider the growth habits of the plant, and whether the spot will be suitable for the plant’s needs.
How to Start Growing Oregano
There are mainly three ways you can grow oregano,
- From the seeds.
- Buy seedlings from nursery shops.
- From cuttings.
Starting from seed:
Growing oregano from seed is quite simple. Although you can directly sow the seeds I prefer to grow seedlings first.
Start with oregano seeds indoors about eight weeks before the first frost of the season in your area. You will find the exact steps on how to do this in this post.
Once the last frost date is over and seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant them into the soil or larger containers.
Buy seedlings from nursery shops:
Buy from a shop that has a good reputation, and also use transplants that are 3 inches in length.
Starting from cuttings:
This is another way to propagate oregano. Take a cutting of a healthy stem, about 10cm (4in) long, with a pair of sharp scissors. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem.
Insert the cutting into a pot filled with moist sand after dipping it in root growing solution. Keep the pot in a warm area and out of direct sunlight.
Once roots have developed, you can now safely transplant them to a container or to your backyard.
Starting from seeds will require a bit more time to produce a mature plant while starting from cuttings will give you a mature plant faster. Both methods are easy to do, it just depends on your preference and the availability of the plants.
How much spacing is required to grow oregano:
When planting oregano, it’s important to consider the spacing of the plants. Proper spacing will ensure that the plants have enough room to grow and develop properly.
For garden beds, plant oregano is about 20-30 cm (8-12 inches) apart, with rows spaced 30-45 cm (12-18 inches) apart. This will give the plants enough space to grow and spread out without overcrowding.
If you’re planting oregano in pots, be sure to choose a container that is big enough for the variety of oregano you are planting. As a general rule, the container should be at least 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) deep and wide for one oregano plant.
Oregano can be invasive, so choose a spot where it won’t interfere with other areas of your garden. Plant it in a suitable location and keep an eye on its growth.
Caring for young oregano plants
Caring for young oregano plants is simple and rewarding. Just follow these simple points and you shouldn’t have any problem with your oregano plant.
Generally, oregano plants do not require any additional fertilizer if you have provided compost at the time of planting. They are not that voracious eaters like many other vegetables.
If you have planted oregano in a container, you would need to fertilize it from time to time. Use a balanced fertilizer that is high in phosphorous and potassium, but low in nitrogen. A fertilizer with a ratio such as 5-10-10 is ideal for oregano plants.
Watering oregano plants properly is an important aspect of their care. Oregano is drought-tolerant, but young plants need water regularly, especially during dry spells.
Water deeply, making sure the water reaches down to the roots. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
Before watering, check the soil to see if it is dry. If the top inch of soil is dry, it’s time to water.
Oregano As a Companion Plant:
Oregano is a fantastic companion plant. You can grow oregano with a variety of other plants in the garden. Some examples include tomatoes, basil, marigolds, rosemary, and chives.
Companion planting can help to repel pests and improve the growth and flavor of oregano and other plants. It’s also worth noting that oregano can also be companion planted with vegetables like beans, broccoli, and cabbage.
Oregano is also a good option for herbs like thyme, sage, and parsley. It not only boosts the growth and health of the plants but also creates a beautiful and diverse garden.
Maintainance of the plant:
Here are a few tips on maintaining a good oregano harvest:
- Pinching out the tips: Pinching out the tips of the oregano plants will encourage bushier growth. This can be done throughout the growing season.
- Deadheading: Removing spent flowers will help to promote new growth and prolong the harvest.
- Pruning: Prune back the oregano plants to control their size and shape. You can also remove any yellow or dead leaves.
With proper care, your oregano plants will thrive, and you will be able to enjoy a bountiful harvest.
You can harvest oregano anytime during its growing time. But the best time is just before the plant flowers.
It is most flavorous when oregano flowers start to bloom. You can also choose to remove the flowers. It will add extra flavor to the leaves.
You can either harvest the entire stem or just a few leaves. If you want to harvest the entire stem, cut the stem just above a pair of leaves. If you want to harvest just a few leaves, pinch them off with your fingers. Harvest the leaves from outside of the plant to inwards and from top to downwards.
Regular harvests will encourage new growth and prolong the harvest.
Common Pests and diseases:
Growing oregano can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to be aware of potential pests and diseases that can affect the plants.
Some common examples are Aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, powdery mildew, root rot, and Fusarium.
For prevention and control it’s important to monitor the plants regularly, provide good air circulation, practice good sanitation, avoid overcrowding, and keep the soil pH between 6 and 7.
If you notice any signs of pests or diseases, take action immediately to prevent them from spreading.
How to store oregano:
Preserving oregano is a great way to ensure that you have a steady supply of fresh herbs for your cooking throughout the year. Here are a few tips for preserving oregano:
- Drying: Drying is one of the most popular methods for preserving oregano. Simply harvest the leaves, wash and dry them, and then hang them in bunches or lay them out on a screen in a warm, dry place. Once dried, the leaves can be stored in an airtight container.
- Freezing: Another option for preserving oregano is freezing. Simply wash, dry, chop the leaves and place them in a plastic bag or container, and freeze. Frozen oregano can be used in cooking just like fresh oregano.
- Dehydrating: You can also dehydrate oregano using a dehydrator or oven. Simply lay out the leaves on a tray and dry them at low heat. Once dried, the leaves can be stored in an airtight container.
- Oil infusion: Oregano oil infusion is a great way to preserve the herb. Simply infuse fresh oregano leaves in oil, such as olive oil, and store them in a cool dark place.
- Vinegar infusion: Oregano can also be infused in vinegar, such as white wine vinegar, and stored in a cool dark place.
- Pesto: You can make a pesto with oregano and freeze it for later use.
Choose the method that works best for you and enjoy the fresh taste of oregano all year round.
Growing and caring for oregano plants is relatively easy if you follow a few simple steps. Give them plenty of sunlight, water them regularly, harvest the leaves when they are ample, and prune the plants to keep them healthy.
Once you mastered these few steps, you will be sure to have a thriving oregano plant in no time! So go ahead, give it a try and watch your oregano plant thrive!
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