How to grow and harvest oregano in your backyard garden. This perennial plant is easy to care for and produces tons of oregano each season. Harvest as much as you like or learn how to dry fresh oregano to use all year long.
Are you looking for an easy, hardy plant that you can add to your herb garden? Consider an oregano plant.
This perennial herb is really easy to care for, requires little maintenance, can handle cold temperatures, and will produce fresh oregano all summer long.
Use it right from the plant or harvest and dry to use throughout the year.
Like oregano, mint is also really simple to grow. Learn how to grow a mint.
What is Oregano?
Oregano is a member of the mint family and originates from the Mediterranean region. It comes in multiple varieties and is a very hearty herb.
While there are lot's of different types of oregano, Italian and Greek are some of the more common varieties.
It is often used in Italian, greek, and Mexican cuisines. However, Mexican oregano will have a different flavor profile.
Cooking with Oregano
Oregano is a very strong herb. The leaves themselves are hearty and have a strong earthy flavor.
While it has lot's of different culinary uses, the flavor of oregano is great for tomato sauces, soups, rubs, and stocks.
How to cook with fresh oregano leaves: Just harvest, give a good rinse, dice them up and add to your recipe.
They are great added to a fresh salad or used at the end of sauces and soups to bring out even more flavor.
How to cook with dried oregano leaves: Crush up or dice the dried oregano leaves before adding them to the dish.
Dried oregano can stand for longer cooking times, and can be added to a dish much sooner than fresh.
How to cook with oregano stalks: Whole stalks can be added to things like stews, roasts or soups. Just be sure to remove the stems before serving.
Dried to fresh ratio: The general rule of thumb when converting fresh to dried herbs is 1 teaspoon of dried to 1 tablespoon of fresh.
Tips for Growing Oregano
Oregano can be grown from a plant purchased for your local nursery or garden center. You can also start growing your own with oregano seeds.
Here are some tips for growing oregano:
- Plant in full-sun, at least 6-8 hours. In warmer climates oregano will need a little bit of shade
- Well-drained soil
- Transfer outside in early spring after the last frost
- Can be planted in the ground or in containers
- Divide or thin the plant out after 3-4 years
- Cut stalks once they reach about 6" tall
If growing in a pot indoors, be sure to have it next to a sunny window or you can use a grow light.
Seeds or plants:
Oregano can be started out as seeds 6-10 weeks prior to the last frost. Start indoors and then transfer outside once the danger of frost has passed.
Oregano seedlings can be found at garden centers or from companies like True Leaf Market.
Pots or ground:
Ground: When planting oregano in the ground, directly sow the seeds or transfer outside once the danger of frost has passed.
It also makes for a fun ground cover. Plant 8-10 inches apart.
Pot or Container: This is a great herb to add to pots. It will spread out and fill the pot and eventually spread over the sides.
My oregano is planted in a wine barrel next to our BBQ area. It makes a great patio decoration and easy access for outdoor cooking.
Be sure to read the plant and care instructions that come with either the seed packet or the plant.
Oregano plants do not need a ton of water and tend to like dry conditions. In fact, too much can easily cause root rot. Just give a light watering anytime the soil starts to dry out.
Make sure it is planted in well draining soil so that if it rains or has excess water, it is not sitting in really wet soil for too long.
How to Harvest Oregano
Oregano is really easy to harvest and can be done all growing season.
Once the plant has reached 4-6 inches tall, pinch off the tops. This will help encourage the plant to grow fuller and bushier.
How to cut the stalks:
The stalks themselves can be cut and harvested for a larger amount or for drying out.
Harvesting will encourage new growth so cut the stalks often. Just be sure to cut no more than ⅓ of the plant at a time.
While they can be cut at any time, to get the best flavor, harvest right before it starts to develop flower buds in late summer.
Using sharp garden sheers or scissors, cut the stalk at the base. It's best to take the taller, bigger stalks first.
The amount you harvest at one time is completely up to you.
Best time of the day to harvest oregano: While oregano can really be harvested at any time, the best time is in the morning before it starts to warm up.
How to Store Fresh Oregano
The best way to store fresh oregano is in the refrigerator. Simply wash the oregano stalks, wrap them in a damp paper towel, and stick them in a plastic ziplock bag.
This will help keep the leaves fresh.
For longer storage, fresh oregano can also be dried. Learn how to dry your homegrown fresh oregano.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Oregano is a hardy plant that is tolerant to cold winters and can be grown in a pot or right in the ground.
Yes! Oregano is a perennial plant meaning it will go dormant in the winter and come back every spring.
In full sun with well-draining soil.
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