Once prized for their antiseptic and medicinal properties, marjoram and oregano and now fairly common in Aussie kitchens and gardens and with good reason. Easy to grow, gorgeous to look at and tasty as, these two herbs are a vegie gardeners dream! Oregano, due to it’s spreading habit, is also an excellent ‘living weed mat’ giving you a tasty plant that does the weeding for you.
Planting Time: September – December
Position: Full sun
Water Needs: Low
How Long: These two are ready when you are
A warm, but not hot spot, in full sun is ideal for both of these herbs. Great as rockery plantings, in pots, or along borders.
In the vegie bed, marjoram and oregano will respond well to a soil with a moderate amount of compost and decent drainage. Don’t overdo it, as soils that are too moist and too high in organic matter may see marjoram rot off. Try to maintain a neutral pH (7), as this will give you a more productive and flavourful harvest. In pots, always choose a good quality organic potting mix.
Worm wee or a pelletised chook-based fertiliser should be applied at planting and again after flowering to keep these two herbs happy.
Water is where oregano and marjoram can be a bit fussy. While they love a sunny, warm spot, they also like a bit of moisture, so mulch well and water regularly. As they are shallow rooted, both these guys have a tendency to dry out rapidly, especially in warm, windy weather, so vigilance is the key! Ease off on the watering over cooler months to prevent rotting.
Like many culinary herbs, marjoram and oregano can essentially be harvested as required. Keep in mind that oregano leaves have a more robust flavour when dried, so harvest these in advance. The harvest will be increased by ‘dead heading’ (removing spent flower heads) after flowering.
Here’s a tip for trivia night – the terms marjoram and oregano are often used interchangeably and often describe the exact same herb. While they are closely related, oregano is essentially the wild form of marjoram.
Oregano pic © Elaine Shallue (SGA)