Aromatic herbs such as oregano are known for their intense flavours and aromatic properties. Therefore, it is best to grow this plant in a climate that has lots of sunlight to bring out its properties to the full.
Generally used dried, rather than fresh, in intensely flavoured dishes such as recipes that contain chilis, garlic, tomatoes, onions, olives, and wine, oregano is an essential ingredient in Italian, Greek, and Mexican cuisine. Also, the flowering tops of the plants and the leaves are used for making tea.
One can buy oregano in garden centres as ready-to-plant plants, or they can be grown from seeds.
If you are planning to grow oregano indoors in the months of February to May, you can start the seeds indoors. Fill up a small pot with seed compost and plant a few seeds in it. Place the seedlings in a propagator and cover with a thin layer of sieved compost and water. Using a multipurpose compost pot of 8cm (3in) diameter, plant three seedlings when they are large enough to handle.
Developed explicitly for germinating seeds, seed compost has a free-flowing texture. The mixture usually consists of fine materials like sterilised loams, coirs, coarse sands or perlite. (High levels would damage seedlings.)
Overwatering may lead to root rot, so be careful not to overwater pots. Trim blooms after they fade in summer and give potted plants a boost with liquid fertiliser if they’re still growing.
Containers with drain holes in the base can be made of plastic, metal, ceramic (terracotta and ceramic). In general, they range in diameter from 5-90cm (2in-3ft), but 7.5-15cm (3-5in) are most commonly used for growing sowing seeds (although seed trays are also widely used).
If you want a winter supply of leaves, pot up plants in autumn and place them in a well-lit spot undercover. Potted plants do not like to be too wet in winter, so place them in a sheltered spot and place pot feet under them to let the excess water drain away. Dead stems should be cut back to the ground in the winter.
Again, plants do not like to be too wet in winter, so place pots in a sheltered spot and raise them onto the pot feet that you can buy to allow excess water to drain away easily. For a supply of leaves throughout winter, lift plants in autumn, pot them up and place them in a well-lit spot undercover.
Plant in the ground in a sunny, sheltered spot in well-draining soil after the danger of frost has passed. You can also plant them in a 15cm (6in) pot filled with multipurpose compost.
The leaves of oregano can be harvested as required throughout the summer – clip off a few shoots, then strip them off. When the flowers are closed, the flavour is best.
Alternatively, you can use dried leaves. In addition, they can be frozen in ice cube trays.
In order to dry oregano leaves, hang them in a dark place with plenty of ventilation for a few weeks. You can keep the leaves in an airtight jar after they have been dried thoroughly.
The tips of soft shoots or leaves are an excellent place to look for greenflies. In order to grow black sooty mould, they suck sap and excrete sticky honeydew.
Squash aphid colonies with your finger or thumb in the greenhouse or use biological control.
Spiders or mites with two spots on their backs can be found in glasshouses
Mites cause the leaves to turn mottled, pale, and covered in a webbing; they also cause the leaves to drop prematurely.
Optimise their growth by misting regularly during hot, dry weather. Biological control should be used in greenhouses.
Go to BBC Good Food for lots of recipes that use this wonderful herb.
There are around 15 types of oregano. Here are some of them. Take a look.
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