ccar2000
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Non herbal Oregano?

This year we grew Oregano in our garden bed as a companion plant for hot peppers. The seeds came from the local big box home improvement store. The seed packet did not say what type of Oregano it is but it did say herb on the top of the envelope. When we harvested it there was not much of a scent of Oregano even if the leaves were crushed. No taste either. We are drying it now to see what happens. It was a low growing plant. Could we have ended up with a decorative variety?
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imafan26
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Re: Non herbal Oregano?

Post a picture or take it to your local master gardener office they might be able to identify it. Sometimes the seeds in the seed packets get mixed up. Most of the time it is getting a wrong variety. Italian oregano does not have as strong a flavor as Greek. The false oregano is a completely different species but it is extremely pungent. Mexican oregano is a shrub the flavor is a little different but similar not so pungent.
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applestar
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Re: Non herbal Oregano?

Ddo you still have the seed packet?
Was it a reputable company or a non-name?
Does it provide the scientific name?
Does it say anywhere on the packet what country the seeds were packaged?

...another thought -- grown as companions for hot peppers, they may have been given too much fertilizer and too much rich soil and water. Herbs like oregano have more concentrated fragrance and flavor when grown in gravelly/sandy, lean, well draining soil with less water.

Sometimes companion plants are better considered "working plants" and it's better to plant "harvesting plants" in their ideal locations. This may have been one of those cases.
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ccar2000
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Re: Non herbal Oregano?

I looked over the package and found it to be inconclusive. There is no botanical name at all.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Martha-Stewa ... m6XVHBLNCQ
I think the we will grow Mexican Oregano next season. I would prefer a woodier, more upright shrub. Can it be grown as a perennial? If so will the perennial growth be fine for use as an herb or will it be bland?
I do not typically fertilize this particular raised bed. It gets two to three inches of compost every two to three years.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Non herbal Oregano?

Oregano is perennial most places; it is winter hardy for me. I don't know where Littlerock CA is and California has a lot of different climates, but if you are in a warm climate, it may be evergreen for you. If it starts out aromatic, it should stay that way in coming years. Overwatering does tend to make it blander. I agree with Applestar that enough water for a pepper plant is probably way too much water for oregano.
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ccar2000
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Re: Non herbal Oregano?

Cool, thanks for the help. Littlerock is in the High Desert of Southern California USDA Zone 8a. I am not sure how I am going to plant the oregano as companions without giving the same amount of water. I use Netafim irrigation tubing in raised beds. My irrigation run time allows for approximately 75g/100sqft 1x daily (6" soil penetration.)
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applestar
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Re: Non herbal Oregano?

If you don't want to plant separate perennial bed of oregano in their own ideal location for harvesting :idea: You might still get the benefit of companion planting if you plant the oregano in largish clay/terracotta pots and place them directly on the soil among the peppers -- the soil in the pots will remain drier for the oregano.
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ccar2000
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Re: Non herbal Oregano?

Yeah, that's an idea! I was trying to work it out in my head. Do you think it would work out if I put some gravely/well draining media in the terracotta pot for the oregano and then partially bury it in the bed so that I would not have to provide an alternative watering regime or is a special herb bed/location the only way to go?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Non herbal Oregano?

Basil and parsley would work better as companion plants for your peppers as they like more water than oregano does.
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Susan W
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Re: Non herbal Oregano?

A suggestion on oregano for next season is to pick out a couple of starts. Do the sniff-leaf test to find one you like. Even a basic plant such as that can have variations.

Water and soil richness do play a part, but not the total story. I find I need to water my oregano pots (most in 16" containers about average. If I have a smaller 12" one on the deck, needs spot watering along with the basil and pineapple sage.

I see a problem with it as a companion to your peppers is that it is perennial and needs to stay put while you work the bed for the other.

Hope this helps
Have fun!
Susan

ccar2000
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Re: Non herbal Oregano?

Thanks Susan, I can keep Mexican Oregano as a perennial in the pepper bed and work around it. I always use this bed for hot peppers because it gets a lot of sun. I think I just got the wrong seeds for 2013. I will make a better selection in 2014, and if I can get some started plants as you suggest I can "sniff check" them prior to purchase.
“Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”. Sonny: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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