Growing and Saving the Seed Of Oregano
Latin name Origanum vulgare is a low-growing woody perennial member of the lamiacea, or mint, family. This creeping herb reaches just 8-30 inches tall, and its delicious leaves are essential for a range of Mediterranean dishes. Hardy from USDA zones 5-12, this is an easy-to-grow herb that adds fragrance and beauty to the herb garden or other edible landscape designs.
Native to the Mediterranean, this herb has been in use in southern Italian cuisine for centuries and has been popular as a pizza herb and as a component in Italian spice mix in America since WWII, when soldiers brought it back with them from Italy.
- Mediterranean herb, popular culinary herb in Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Argentina and beyond. The leaves can be used fresh, but they are typically more flavorful when dried.
- Take care, as seeds are extremely small, about 130,000 in an ounce!
- Seeds germinate in 4-14 days.
- Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost date. Surface sow seeds and gently press into soil, as light aids germination.
- Ideal germination temperature is 65-70 F.
- Transplant out after all chance of frost has passed.
- Prefers loose, well-drained, sandy soil.
- Provide full sun to part shade. Space plants 12 inches apart. This creeping herb makes a lovely mat of foliage, so allow it to creep along and cover a space in your herb garden.
- Harvest by cutting back stems when plants are at least 6 inches tall. The best flavor is achieved when you harvest just before flowering. Don't be shy to make a hard cutback when harvesting; many will cut oregano back to the lowest few leaves in early summer and again in late summer.
- You can air dry or use a dehydrator, easily growing your year's supply of dried oregano.
- Oregano is generally pest and disease free, but you may see aphids or spider mites on the plants. If the infestation becomes out of control (not common) blast the plants with a strong stream of water from the hose to knock the insects from the plants.
- Allow plants to flower and turn brown and crispy.
- Gently shake seeds free from capsules and store seeds in a cool, dark, dry place.