When planting oregano from seeds make sure to use the Origanum heracleoticum variety, if you use wild oregano it will not have the pungent scent you are looking for. Plant seeds in early spring after all danger of frost. Planting indoors works best. Oregano seeds should be scattered on the surface of flat soil and kept at 70 degrees. Marjoram seeds should be planted in groups of three. Both herbs can be planted as transplants in the garden or grown in a greenhouse. They also do well as container plants, as long as the containers are a minimum 6 inches deep. Oregano and Marjoram grow best in full sun. They need good draining soil and only about 1 inch of water a week. If they are allowed to flower they will lose their pungent scent and flavor, so make sure to prune both herbs before they bloom. Once oregano reaches 6 inches and marjoram reaches 3 inches they can be harvested. It's best to just harvest what you will use that day. The youngest leaves give the most flavor. You may also snip the sprigs and dry them by hanging upside down until completely dry, stored in glass jars they will keep for one year. Pests to look out for are aphids and spider mites.
History of Oregano and Marjoram
Oregano grows wild on the hills in Greece. It is a relative of sweet marjoram, which was said to have had a scent created by Aphrodite that symbolized happiness. Bridal couples wore garlands made of marjoram and the newly departed were given some to provide peace on their next journey. Egyptians used oregano as a disinfectant and healing aid. Greeks used it to scent their bath water and infused it with oil for use on their hair and skin. Marjoram was used in the Middle Ages to scent flower arrangements. It was added to laundry water to scent clothing and it's leaves were used to polish furniture.
Remember when cooking with herbs 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon of dried herbs. Here are a few recipes from Fresh Easy Meals using these aromatic herbs.
Infuse oregano in bath water to add an aromatic scent and aid in relaxation. Use a strong infusion of oregano water as a conditioner for hair.
Household Uses For
Add crushed marjoram leaves to furniture polish to add a fresh scent to your home. Put sprigs of marjoram on a barbecue for added flavor to foods or use it in pillows and potpourri to scent a room.
You can chew oregano leaves to help relieve a toothache. Marjoram can be used as a tea to aid in digestion, help with a cold, or for headache relief. Marjoram may also be used to help with rheumatism and swelling by add it to bathwater or by adding it to oil to make a poultice.