(See individual varieties for specific product information, but in general the growing information will be the same for all oregano.)
Average Days To Maturity: 80-90 days
Distance Between Rows: 2-3 feet
Spacing Between Plants: 12-18 inches apart
When To Plant: Charley recommends planting Oregano in mid to late April after the threat of frost, but experienced gardeners can plant earlier and protect the young plants with buckets and milk jugs or start them out in a cold frame or small greenhouse.
Planting Tip: When growing Oregano in a pot or container, make sure there is good drainage. This can be achieved by putting a layer of gravel or small rocks in before the dirt. If planting in the ground, keep the soil free of weeds and water it a bit so that it is moist when you plant.
Plant Oregano in a sunny spot. It likes about 8 hours of sun per day.
If your Oregano plants begin to bloom, pinch off the buds. This will promote a bushier plant and help retain the flavor.
If you live in an area that has harsh winters, apply a layer of mulch to insulate it and then remove the mulch in the spring. Otherwise, don’t mulch Oregano, it may keep it too wet.
Preparation and Care: Oregano can grow in a variety of conditions. It prefers sandy soil that drains well and does not have to be very fertile.
You will need to hoe or VERY shallowly till or cultivate the soil around the plants to keep the weeds under control. Be sure to keep it shallow and not damage the roots.
When your plant is about 6 inches tall you can begin harvesting leaves. It is good practice to cut the plant back to about 2-3 inches during the season to promote new growth and continued harvesting.
Make sure there is plenty of air flow around the plants to prevent rot and disease.
Watering: Oregano likes it a little on the dry side. Let the soil dry out between watering and then water it gently making sure not to soak it. If your area stays too wet, try moving your plant to a pot.
Fertilize: Oregano does not require fertilization. As with many herbs, adding fertilizer can hinder the flavor.
Harvesting: You may begin harvesting Oregano leaves when your plant is about 6 inches tall. Give the plant a week or more to recover before heavily harvesting again. If flowers appear simply pinch them to keep the plant producing tasty leaves.
Harvesting in the morning is best. Be sure that the dew on the leaves has dried. Harvesting in the evening is not recommended because the sun dries up the oils that provide aroma and flavor to Oregano.
Use Oregano fresh in your favorite dishes or store for short periods in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen or dried. To dry, cut long enough stems to tie and hang in bundles. Do this in a warm, dry place. Oregano can also be dried on racks in a similar location.
Common Insect Problems
- Aphids – http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g7274
- Whitefly – http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G7275
- Spider Mites – http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef438.asp
- Leaf Miners – http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05548.html
Common Disease Problems
- Powdery Mildew – http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/02902.html
- Rust – http://www.gardenguides.com/101955-peppermint-plant-diseases.html