Oregano Growing and Cultivation, Part 2 Maintenance

Maintaining the Crop

a. Weeding

For good quality oregano it is essential to keep your small-hold free of weeds. This avoids competition for nutrients in the soil, which will cause plant stems to become thin and weak, and to turn light green in color.

b. Cutting the tips

This first “apex” cut is performed once the plants have taken firm root, approximately 30-45 days after planting. It is time to cut when flowering has fully matured.

Cut stem and flower in a manner that encourages branching out on the lower part of the plant and helps it to become more full-bodied. It is a good idea to use disinfected secateurs to avoid the spread of disease or blight.

Amass the cut flowers and leaves in a sheet or bag, to be dried or sold. At this point it is advisable to apply both a fungicide and a leaf fertilizer: the first to prevent leaf rusting, the latter to accelerate the growth of new shoots.

d. Heaping / Piling

This should be done from time to time, when deemed necessary. Mount up the earth around the plant, to protect it and to encourage it to take firm root, as well as exacerbating shoot formation and avoiding rotted roots and fungal attack. Perform this task after cutting, at the same time as applying the fertilizer. By the third or fourth cutting, each plant should be established at the ridge of its furrow.

The Ecological Conditions for Oregano Production

  • Soil. The oregano plant can grow in a variety of soils, ranging from dry to moderately moist. Nevertheless, it grows best in soils that are: loose, clayey, Franco, permeable and rich in organic matter. The plant prefers Franco-sandy soil, which can produce good oregano for up to 14 years. In contrast, clayey soils will reduce lifespan to five years.
  • Altitude. Growing is possible between 50 and 3400 meters, ie. almost from sea level up to high mountain zones. The majority of essential oils are produced in regions of colder temperature.
  • Temperature. Oregano is resistant to the cold, although temperatures below 5°C stunt growth and burn leaf edges.
  • Water sources. Initially, the irrigation supply for watering should be constant. Watering can then be reduced to twice weekly, and from the first month onwards, once weekly.
  • Propagation of oregano. This can be done via
    • seeding
    • layering
    • splitting bushes
    • shoot cuttings

Fertilizing

As is previously mentioned, it is necessary to integrate a substantial quantity of manure – preferably decomposed – as part of the ground preparation process. The recommended amount is ten metric tons per hectare. There are different methods of using fertilization. Analysis of soils has shown that the main combinations used are as follows:

What to use?

  • farmyard manure + island guano
  • island guano + ‘lombrihumus’ (wormy humus)
  • island guano + ammonium nitrate
  • triple calcium super-phosphate + farmyard manure

How much to use? Amounts are resultant of soil analysis. As a point of reference, the following
quantities are suggested, per hectare :

  • 300kg of island guano and 150kg of humus
  • 450kg of island guano and 150kg of compost
  • 9 metric tons of farmyard manure and 300kg of triple calcium super-phosphate.

When and how to apply it?

  • Fertilizer should be used when the ground is moist.
  • Lay the first dose when ploughing the ground, the day before planting, and again
  • exactly a year later. Do this by making holes between the plants. Use a hoe or pick-axe.

 

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