You can grow Oregano easily by planting it in the ground or in a pot.It will surely perform well for you as it is a savory herb which pairs well with other herbs like Basil and Thyme.
[ READ MORE ABOUT : Oregano ]
Planting Oregano Seeds or Clippings
Oregano grows both from clippings as well as seeds but it grows quicker when planted from seedlings instead of seeds. If you already have some oregano plant then you can use clippings instead of buying new seeds.
When you plant seeds , 1/4th of them won’t grow, thus you have to plant several seeds. Clippings should only be taken from established plants.Wait until the roots of your plants are well developed and new growth begins to develop, before taking off the clippings.
Planting location to grow Oregano
Oregano is a sunshine loving plant, so choose a sunny area as it grows quickly in a warm environment. You should choose a planting location with sun spot and soil that drains well.If you live in a colder parts then you should plant them indoors and transfer them outside when the weather warms up. Oregano grows better in moderately fertilized soil so you don’t need to add compost or fertilizer for it to grow well.A natural environment will give the best results.
You can plan to plant your Oregano from seeds / clippings/ seedlings as early as 6 to 10 weeks before the last predicted frost of spring. In colder regions you need to protect your plants with a layer of hay during a cold snap. You can also use bed sheets, blankets or plastic sheets in place of hay. Remember to prop up your coverings by stakes to prevent damage to the budding plants.
Plant oregano in pots
You can grow Oregano in pots as well.It is because oregano likes to spill over the sides and trail out of the pot which looks beautiful. While planting Oregano in pots you have to be sure to use loose ,nutrient rich soil that drains well as Oregano don’t like soggy roots. The pot should have proper drainage, if you lack a constantly sunny spot.
Oregano plant can grow up to 2 – 2 1/2 feet tall and up to 2 feet wide so you should give your Oregano about 25 cm of space between plants so they have room to grow. Oregano loves to spread out and even has a vine effect to it which makes it an excellent ground cover . The pots with 12 inches of diameter will be perfect to grow Oregano plant as it would provide sufficient space.
How to take care of Oregano plant ?
You have to plant your Oregano seeds 1/4 inches (64 cm) deep and bury your clippings 1/2 inches (1.3 cm) deep, and be patient while waiting for your plant to emerge from the ground since its seeds sprout slowly.Seeds may sprout in less time if oregano is planted inside.Oregano plants usually take 5 to 10 days to sprout from the ground however this time may vary depending on soil quality, sunlight and frequency of watering.You should strip the leaves of clippings on the end, before planting them. Also be careful while attempting to use seeds that have been stored from a long period of time.With time the chances of seeds to grow start decreasing.
You should water your oregano plants regularly during the first few months of growth to get them started, then you can reduce the amount of water accordingly once they are established . You have to check whether your plant needs water or not by touching the soil around and the area thoroughly if it feels dry.Plants in containers and indoors should be treated similarly to outdoor growing Oregano.
Trimming to grow Oregano
You can encourage and grow oregano leaves by trimming or pinching the leaves and ends of your plant.Use a pair of shears or scissors to lightly trim the outer growth, as the plant is about 4 inches tall.
This can help your plant prevent excessive growth.When you trim your plant you should notice its branches at that point where it continues to grow. These branches will bear more leaves giving more oregano to you in the future.
Removing older plants
The plants that are sick and thin can crowd around healthy ones and share resources giving a negative impact on healthier plant. The life cycle of oregano is three or four years so older plants can become less productive making them prime candidates for removal.If you don’t remember which plants are old and which are young , you should wait until early spring as you will be able to judge the plant’s age by its initial growth.
Weeds steal the valuable nutrients from your oregano and soil ,you block out the much needed sun light or soak up the intended water. In this case try to target weeds when young as they will be easier to remove .You can grasp the weed firmly with firm,steady pressure and try to pull up as much of the roots as possible.A spade or a rooting tool can help you pull out the weed and assist you in your weeding endeavors.
How to harvest your oregano ?
You can gather your oregano in the morning after the sun has risen and evaporated any dew .You can use a pair of shears or scissors to cut leafy bunches of the plant, leaving a portion of the stem remaining. Then you need to gather these bunches into small bundles and use a rubber band to fasten bundles together . Don’t tie these bundles together as this can cause uneven drying and could result in a less desirable finished product.
Covering the bundles
You need to cover your oregano bundles to prevent dust from accumulating on it as it dries.It will also keep the sun from bleaching the color of the plant.Paper bags will work the best for your oregano bundles but you will have to cut slits in these bags or make holes to promote air flow for the herb to dry better.Direct sunlight sometimes causes moisture to build up in the bag which can be a cause for mold growth and ruin the dried oregano, so you have to keep an eye on your oregano while its drying.
Hanging your herb
You can try to dry your plant by hanging it in an area that is warm and dry but out of direct sun light because the time taken to dry your oregano will depend on your climate.It may take few days in some regions and may take as long as two weeks in others.You might consider some place to dry your oregano including your attic, porch, your clothes line or even in your kitchen but if you are planning to dry it outside, you have to keep a regular check on the weather as rain can spoil your hard work.
You should check your oregano leaves regularly. When they become brittle the leaves are ready to be stored.Then you can lay out a sheet of wax paper and place your bundles onto it .Then crumble the plant and pick out the stems to throw away.You can store your dried oregano in an air tight jar to enjoy it throughout the year as it is an ideal herb in most of the Italian dishes and gives flavors to Greek recipes as well.
[ READ MORE : ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF OREGANO ]