Often used in Italian, Mediterranean and tomato-based cooking, oregano offers a unique flavor and advantageous health properties. Fortunately, it is a cinch to grow, care for and harvest for a delicious, flavorful addition to your cooking. To grow your own, read the following tips on the basics of growing oregano from the seed.
What You Need
To start off, acquire some oregano seeds from your local gardening store or even online. To get a head start, plant your oregano indoors before the winter frost subsides. Purchase small seeding pots and some general purpose planting soil. You can also use a small shovel, a hoe and some gloves.
Planting Your Seeds
As mentioned above, you can start your Oregano plants early by starting their growth indoors within seeding pots. Simply fill the pots with soil and drop the seeds directly on the surface, not covering them with soil. Add a small amount of water, and in about a week you should notice them sprouting.
Once the outdoor frost has ended, you can either transfer your oregano plants into your garden or simply move them into bigger pots or planters outdoors. If you transfer the seedlings into your garden, be sure to leave about 10 to 12 inches of space between each plant.
If you have the patience to wait for the end of the frost, simply hoe the area in your garden, drop the seeds about 12 inches apart and add water.
Choose a spot for your oregano that receive quite a bit of sunshine. Oregano can survive in many different soil conditions, but only if it receives a lot of sunlight. Some shade is fine, but too much will hinder its growth.
The soil should also be well-drained and can be a bit sandy. Remove any rocks, sticks, grass or weeds from the soil before planting. Remember that the plant will spread out up to 20 inches, so don’t plant it too close to other plants in your garden
Maintaining Your Oregano Plant
This plant requires very little attention aside from some pruning and a bit of watering. Oregano can survive well in dry weather and only requires watering during dry, hot periods. Overwatering will hurt the plant.
Once the plant reaches at least 4 inches or grows about a dozen leaves, you can begin harvesting and using the oregano. Simply cut off the leaves and prune back the branches with a sharp knife. Make sure you always remove any flower buds beginning to grow.
The oregano leaves will taste the best in cooking when they are harvested in the morning. Although fertilizer may help the growth of the plant, it may take away from the taste of the leaves.
You can save oregano leaves either by storing them in a freezer bag whole or by drying them.
An oregano plant can last up to 4 years; simply add mulch and cut back the branches in the winter.