Herb Planting – Oregano in a Mini-Garden
If you are just about to set out creating your own mini garden, you may be thinking of what plants and herbs to cultivate. It might help you in making your selection to have a handy guide such as the one by Jeannie Woods called “Healthy Happy Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide To Herb and Herb Gardening”. When you know the various properties of each herb plant, you’ll be able to plan your garden quickly and more efficiently.
Now, one popular herb that all beginner gardeners should consider is oregano. The name connotes Italian origins. In fact, Italians even have their own spelling for it – origano.
Used mainly in Mediterranean dishes and also known as wild or pot marjoram (although culinary enthusiasts will attest that oregano has an entirely different flavor from marjoram), the humble oregano is at the forefront of herb popularity. This herb, which can grow up to 2 feet tall, is frequently used in making pizza, spaghetti and tomato-based sauces.
Unbeknownst to others though, this herb not only makes food taste and smell good, but it also has centuries-old medicinal benefits as well. It is said that even Hippocrates – the father of medicine – saw its potential and used it as an antiseptic. The oil that the herb contains has antibacterial properties that inhibit the growth of some kinds of bacteria. Oregano is also sometimes being given as a treatment for giardiasis (an infection of the small intestine caused by the giardia lamblia organism).
Oregano is also rich in antioxidants. In fact, compared to other fruits and vegetables sources, oregano may actually have more of the antioxidant properties we so desire. Fresh oregano is a good source of fiber. And, it is loaded with vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese vitamin C, vitamin A and essential omega-3 fatty acids. However, since oregano is used sparingly as a spice in food, we only consume a little of it at a time.
An an herb plant, it is pretty easy to grow and care for. You have the option to grow it outdoors in a garden or in a container. You can start your plant from the cutting of an existing one. Choose an existing plant with a strong flavor to ensure the quality of your own plant.
Should you decide to start from seed, that would be fine too. The seed germinates for about 8 to 14 days. It also just needs moderately fertile soil for it to thrive in. Alternatively, you can also grow it in soil-less potting mixes, perlite, vermiculite, rock wool, coco peat and Oasis form – all of which can be easily found in gardening supply stores in your area.
It is suggested that it be planted a foot to about 15 inches (about 30 to 38 cm) apart from each other. Plant only once winter has passed. Within 6 weeks of planting it, trim the shoots to stimulate lush growth.
Oregano is ready to be harvested as soon as flowers appear. However, some mini-gardeners tend to pick leaves constantly during growth which prevents flowering. If grown outdoors, it would prefer the power of the full sunlight. If grown indoors, it will also grow well under high output fluorescent, compact fluorescent or high intensity discharge (metal halide or high pressure sodium) plant growing lights – all of which are available in hardware stores (and sometimes, even in gardening shops or DIY stores).
Standard lamps should be placed 2 to 4 inches away from the tops of plants; high output and compact fluorescent lamps should be about a foot away. High intensity discharge lights should be 2 to 4 feet above the plant, depending on the wattage.
Lastly, do not overwater – oregano is sturdy and durable enough to withstand drought.
With the benefits and ease of maintenance, who wouldn’t want to have oregano in their garden? Plant one now.
If you are serious about cultivating an organic herb garden, be sure to check out “Healthy Happy Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide To Herbs and Herb Gardening” by Jeannie Woods. It’s a book packed with all the information you need to be able to successful start and keep a thriving organic herb garden. You can read more about it here: http://www.healthyhappyherbs.com.
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