Oregano is a very popular culinary herb. It is easy to grow and maintain and if planted in the right location can be enjoyed for years to come.
Depending on the variety of oregano planted, it can grow anywhere from six to eighteen inches tall and spread up to two feet wide. Oregano thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. Once it has become established, oregano can withstand dry soil and drought.
When planting oregano it is recommended that you start with a small plant instead of seeds. Seeds from the same plant can produce oregano of varying flavors. If you start with seeds, you may end up with oregano plant leaves that you would not want to use in your cooking.
When choosing an oregano plant from your home gardening center you should pinch off a leave and check its aroma, to be sure it is pleasing to you. When you find one you really like, after your plant has matured, you can propagate it by dividing it in the spring to insure that you will always have enough oregano on hand that has a consistent flavor for your home cooking needs.
Be sure to keep your oregano plants trimmed during the growing season to help them maintain their shape and to promote a bushy plant with more leaves. Do this regularly with a sharp pair of gardening shears.
Due to its low, slow growing nature, oregano makes an excellent border plant in the garden. It can also be planted between paver stones on a walkway or in a container on your patio. A strawberry growing pot, with its small holes all around it, can make an excellent home for your oregano.
A fun gardening idea for children is to use oregano in a pizza garden along with, tomatoes, peppers, onions, parsley, and whichever other vegetables your family enjoys as pizza toppings. Along with pizza, oregano can be used in soups, salads, and dressings.
Oregano is best when used fresh from your garden. Freezing is the best way to preserve its flavor for later use. Wash and then dry your oregano before placing it into a freezer safe plastic bag. Drying is another method that can be used for saving your oregano but you will lose some of the potency of flavor and will need to use more to achieve the same taste as when it was fresh.
The Greek variety of oregano has the strongest flavor and is considered by many to be the best variety for cooking with. It is by far the most popular variety grown in the home garden. Nana Compact oregano is the smallest in size and has a more mild flavor.
Not always preferred for cooking, it would be your best choice for use in a walkway between stepping stones. Italian oregano has a more upright growth pattern and has a mildly sweet flavor similar to Sweet marjoram. This is the type of oregano to use if you don’t want an overpowering flavor of oregano in your food.
Whichever variety you decide to grow, easy growing, low maintenance oregano will make a great addition to your home herb garden.