Growing Marjoram (Origanum)

marjoram sweet - origanum

Growing Marjoram

Origanum species

Of the three main species of marjoram used for flavouring only one, Origanum majorana, the sweet or knotted marjoram, is widely available as seed. The other two, 0riganum vulgare, common or wild marjoram (oregano), and 0. onites, pot marjoram, are hardier perennials and are often available as pot-grown herbs from nurseries and garden centres. They all have distinct aromas, the sweet marjoram being particularly fragrant, and pot marjoram less so.

In a small garden it is probably best to grow only sweet and common marjoram — the first for its richness, the second for its hardiness.

Common marjoram has a golden-leaved form, 0riganum vulgare ‘Aureum’, which makes a brilliant yellow-green carpet in early spring and late autumn (but more of a hummock in summer) and is quite suitable for a decorative border or for a rock garden. In flower it grows to about 600 mm (2 ft) in height. Sweet marjoram grows to about 200 mm (8 in). Common marjoram is not as strong-flavoured as the oregano grown in Italy, but it is used in the same way for many dishes, including pizza, pork dishes, poultry, and game. Sweet marjoram should be added to dishes just before cooking ceases, as its flavour is volatile. Both herbs may be dried. One or two plants of each should be sufficient for most families.

growing marjoram (origanum) Sweet marjoram is grown from seed sown in late February or March. It may be sown into 75 mm (3 in) pots of potting compost. Two seeds in the centre of each pot should be just covered with the compost and watered in; thin later to the stronger seedling. The pots can be placed outdoors under cloches or in a frame. Harden the plants off and in May either plant out where they are to grow, about 200 mm (8 in) apart, or pot on into 125 mm (5 in) pots to grow on.

Alternatively, you can sow direct into the ground where they are to grow in May. Common marjoram should be planted where it is to grow in spring or autumn or raised from seed as for sweet marjoram. Once established it may be increased by dividing the dumps and replanting them where required in early spring. If the plants are grown in the soil, a sunny, well-drained site, preferably on the limy side, is best for both species. While common marjoram may more or less be left to fend for itself except in extremes of weather, sweet marjoram should be kept growing well and kept moist. When several leaves have formed, pinch out the growing tips to make the plants more bushy.

Harvest the leaves when young and fresh as required.

Site: Sunny, sheltered

Soil: Well drained, alkaline; add lime if necessary

Sow: Early spring under protection; late spring in the open

Harvest: As required when the plants are large enough; common and sweet types can be dried and stored

26. October 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Fruit & Veg, Herbs, Kitchen Garden | Tags: , | Comments Off on Growing Marjoram (Origanum)


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