Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gardening: New Oregano for 2011

I'll be going out late tonight for a co-worker's birthday, so I should be napping. As I drove home from work today with the windows open, however, I realized that I would have to play in the garden today.  So, with a quick wardrobe change and a hello to Mr. Farmer and his helpers who were packing pork, I donned my gloves and headed outside.


For the past few years we have been growing oregano in the herb garden. It is an easy plant to grow, and it is very hardy. We have moved it from a bed on one side of the front stairs to the other, and the same plant has been growing in our yard for about 5 of the 7 years we have lived here. Each year I thin it vigorously, and it recovers with a vengeance. We use it all summer and fall long for cold salads and spaghetti sauces. For the most part, we were very pleased with it, but not completely.

The flavor of this Italian oregano was a little weak. It was nice in cold pasta salad, but we had to put a LOT into red sauce. Last year we discussed replacing it, but it was growing so well that we decided to dry some. I took the time to wash it, strip the leaves off, and process it through the dehydrator. The result was a bland pile of green that was nearly worthless, and the plant's fate was sealed. It is time for it to go.

When Mr. Farmer shopped for spices for the sausage, he brought home some dried Greek oregano. I asked him the difference, and he told me that the flavor was a bit stronger. So, the other day, when I saw Greek oregano plants at the local grocery store, I had to pinch a leaf off and take a sniff.  I bought two.

So I started my oregano genocide today. I raked the leaves off the already-sprouting Italian oregano and added them to the manure pile. I yanked out roots and stems and dried up remains without mercy. I dug into the dirt a bit to make sure I got all the roots out. Then I replaced the empty spot with nice soil from last year's pig and chicken manure pile. Then, for good measure, I took three more loads of soil and filled up one of my annual flower beds that had been trampled all winter long.

It is still a little too soon to put the new plants in the ground. A freak frost in April is not unheard of here, and these plants were not cheap. But their new home is ready for them when the time comes.

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