The Oregano

Origin

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is native to the Mediterranean (especially France) and Western Asia. Its name comes from the Greek words "oros" which means "mountain" and "ganeos" which means splendor or beauty. He represented the beauty of the mountains ... It was so popular that the Romans used it to make beautiful wreaths for the bride and groom.

General information

Oregano, also known as "wild marjoram", is very melliferous and has a high culinary value. It is a herbaceous plant which has many varieties. Although perennial, is often grown here as an annual plant because it does not like the combination of cold and moisture. But where it feels good, it can live almost 10 years!

Hardy Yes
Watering Low
Exposure Sunny
Lifespan Perennial


Cultivation

Oregano likes warm and sunny exposure and just need an ordinary soil. But the substrate never has to get wet. It can be propagated by different ways:

Sowing: As the growth of oregano is rather slow, it is advisable to sow it under cover at the end of winter (or early spring) in order to enjoy a longer period of vegetation before the arrival of winter. Transplanting should be done 2 or 3 months after sowing. Sowing can also be done directly, but then it is necessary to wait until the end of spring (when there is no more risk of late frosts and by min. temperature of 20°C).
  • Make furrows spaced about 50 cm and just a few mm deep;
  • Put the seeds in the rows and don't overcover the seeds because they need light to germinate;
  • Water them lightly with a mister. Seeds emergence takes place after a couple of weeks.
  • When seedlings reach 5 cm, thin them out leaving only a vigorous plant every 40 cm.
Instead of making furrows, you also can sow oregano just by throwing the seeds on the soil and thinning them out later on. But be carefull because seeds are tiny, so they cannot be sown too tight because it would be impossible to separate them.

Cutting: This practice must be realized in summer.
  • Cut a 10-15 cm stem without flower;
  • Take off the leaves at the base (on about 5 cm);
  • Then prick it out in a small hole and water enough.
Layering:
  • Choose a stem that wants to bend over and slightly wound it (like a scrape) at the point where new roots have to grow;
  • Burry the wounded section and cover it with enough soil;
  • Water enough to keep the stem moist. Later on this stem will change to root and a new plant will be there after a few months.
  • Once well developed, they can be separated from the mother plant.
Root division: This method must be realized in spring or in autumn. It's the most reliable and convenient to propagate oregano.
  • With a spade, cut the clump in half;
  • Plant both halves and water lightly.


Location / Exposure

Although this condimentary plant likes warm and sunny climates, it also supports cold weather. It simply needs ordinary soil: light, moist, well-drained, or rather dry. A good mix of potting soil and sand suits him very well. The best is to sow it on a slight mound (about 20 cm) so that the earth can be well drained.


Care

Oregano is a robust plant which is easy to take care of. It does not require special care or watering except in case of prolonged heat. But it cannot be watered if it is cold because as explained above, it hates cold and moisture association. It tolerates drought, but on the other hand it dreads moisture so it is necessary to remove stagnant water that can accumulate on its foot. It is also good to remove dry stems that needlessly absorb nutrients from the plant.


Harvest

Depending on sowing date, harvest can take place from May to November by cutting large stems close to the ground. It starts at the beginning of flowering and can be done as and when needed. As with all aromatic plants, picking should be done in the morning when the flavor of the plant is more pronounced. It is advisable to dry the oregano so that the bitterness of its leaves disappears. The place should be dry, airy and in the shade. Once leaves are dried they must be stripped. They can either be kept in an airtight box or frozen by cutting them finely and placing them in ice cubes to keep their fragrance and freshness.


Overwintering

This aromatic plant is a moderately hardy plant that tolerates winter quite well.