Growing oregano is incredibly easy to do, and it’s one of those herbs your kitchen should never be without.
Trust me… the stuff you buy in the bottle in the grocery store is “o.k.” but it doesn’t come close to the flavor of oregano from your own herb garden.
We use our oregano in lots of different dishes, but mostly in the various Italian and Mediterranean dishes we cook.
I’m what you would call a “flavor junkie,” so I simply can’t get enough of this wonderfully flavorful herb! The good thing is, it’s a truly faithful performer. Mine seems to spread out and get bigger every season. I may soon need to cut it back a bit!
Oregano is used to less than ideal soil conditions. The main thing you’ll want to be sure of is that your soil is very well-drained. That’s not a problem for us since our soil tends to be a bit sandier where we live.
But if you’re dealing with soil that has a lot of clay in it, you’ll probably want to mix in some sand to improve drainage (or replace the soil in that area altogether).
Oregano does not need rich soil to thrive, but as a part of your
garden soil preparation
you could add in a small amount of compost to give your growing oregano a little boost of nutrients to help it get established. You shouldn’t need to fertilize or add compost after that.
(Be sure to check out my
page for some tips on how to make your own compost).
Oregano prefers full-sun, but I’ve got mine planted in an area that gets partial shade and it has done very well. That said… I would not try growing oregano in full-shade. Remember, it’s a Mediterranean herb.
Before you plant, make sure that there’s no more danger of frost. Plant your oregano seeds by scattering a thin layer evenly into the soil. Then cover with 1/4 inch of soil.
To ensure good soil contact, you can gently pat the soil – the key word being “gently.” You can also purchase small starter plants from your local nursery if you’d like quicker results.
Oregano does not need much water. But you will want to give it an occasional drink during dry spells.
You can harvest your oregano once it's well established and has reached a height of about 4 to 6 inches. You’ll want to harvest before it begins to develop little flower heads. Doing so will get you the best flavor.
What I like to do is cut several sprigs, tie the end tightly with a piece of twine, and then hang it up to dry in our kitchen. The aroma is invigorating!
Once it’s completely dried, you can remove the dried leaves from the stem and store it away in spice bottles or sealable bags. I actually like to leave the dried bundle hanging up. Then, whenever I need some oregano, I just take the bundle and shake it over whatever I’m cooking. It’s that easy!
Give it a try! I have a hunch that once you’ve tasted oregano from your own herb garden, you won’t ever go back to the store-bought variety.
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