By E. VinjeTweet
Herb gardeners growing marjoram (Origanum majoricum) enjoy its fragrant and flavorful leaves, which are highly esteemed for seasoning. The aroma and flavor is similar to mild oregano, but noticeably sweeter. Plants grow 1-2 feet tall and have square stems, gray-green leaves and small white flowers borne in clusters. Perennial, often grown as an annual.
May be grown in pots, containers or herb gardens. Plants prefer full sun and will grow in any type of soil and with very little water, however it will thrive in fast draining, sandy soil.
Tip: Sweet marjoram attracts beneficial insects and butterflies to the garden.
How to Plant:
Start indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Sow seeds just beneath the surface of the soil. Seeds will germinate in 10 days. Plant out after the danger of frost has past. Space plants 8 inches apart in all directions. Begin harvesting 5-6 weeks after transplanting outdoors, or when plants are growing vigorously. No fertilizer is necessary for this hardy plant.
Pick marjoram anytime after the plants are 3 inches tall. Picking shoots before the flowers open gives the best flavor. Marjoram is highly aromatic and its taste improves with drying. To dry, tie the cuttings in small bunches and hang upside down in a well-ventilated, dark room. When dried, remove the leaves from the stems and store whole. Crush or grind just before use.
Insects and Disease:
Marjoram is occasionally attacked by fungal diseases and insect pests, such as aphid and spider mite. Use insecticidal soap or other natural insect control, when necessary.
Tip: Prevent plant diseases by providing good air circulation around crops and water on bright sunny mornings, to allow the leaves to dry by evening.
Seed Saving Instructions: