By: Jackie Carroll
With dozens of uses in the kitchen, oregano is an essential plant for culinary herb gardens. This Mediterranean herb is easy to grow in the right location. Plant it in full sun in an area with good air circulation and well-drained soil to keep oregano problems to a minimum.
Oregano Disease Problems
Diseases affecting oregano plants are primarily caused by fungi. Fungi thrive in moist conditions where the air doesn’t circulate well enough to keep the foliage dry. Pruning plants will open them up for better air circulation, and spacing them according to the plant tag solves some oregano problems. If your soil doesn’t drain well grow oregano in a raised bed or in containers.
The fungi that cause oregano disease problems often result in rotting leaves or roots. If older leaves in the center of the plant begin to rot, the plant is probably infected with botrytis rot. There is no cure for this, therefore, you should remove and destroy the plant to prevent spreading of the disease.
Gradual wilting may be a sign of rhizoctonia root rot. Examine the base of the stems and the roots for brownish or black discoloration. If you see these symptoms, destroy the plant and don’t grow oregano in the same location for at least three years.
Rust is another fungal disease that sometimes causes oregano problems. Rust causes circular spots on the foliage and if caught early enough, you may be able to save the plant by pruning off the affected parts.
Destroy diseased plants by burning them or bagging and discarding them. Never compost plants with fungal diseases.
While oregano pests are few, they should still be mentioned as inclusion for common oregano problems. Aphids and spider mites sometimes infest oregano plants. You can control mild infestations with a strong spray of water from a hose every other day until the insects are gone. Once knocked off the plant, these insects are unable to return. For stubborn infestations, use insecticidal soap or neem oil spray. These insecticides must come into direct contact to kill the insect, so spray the plant thoroughly, paying particular attention to the undersides of leaves.
Leaf miners are the larvae of black flies. These tiny, wormlike larvae feed inside oregano leaves, leaving meandering tan or brown trails. Insecticides can’t reach leaf miner larvae inside the leaves, so the only treatment is to pick off and destroy affected leaves before the larvae mature.
Don’t let the few diseases affecting oregano plants or oregano pests put you off in growing this herb. With proper care, these oregano problems can be prevented and you’ll be rewarded with a flavorful harvest.
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My Oregano Is Dying
When your hardy, pest- and disease-resistant herbs like oregano (Origanum vulgare) have problems, the cause most likely lies beneath the soil. If your oregano leaves are turning brown, it's often because of crown and root rot caused by improper growing conditions. Though it's not always curable, early detection and management can lead to a full recovery. Oregano grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For herbs, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
- Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- Fertilize as needed with an all purpose fertilizer.
- To propagate, divide the plants in spring.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
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Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day shade means little or no direct sun.
Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.
Life Cycle This refers to whether a plant is an annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals complete their life cycles in one year biennials produce foliage the first year and bloom and go to seed the second year perennials can live for more than two years.
Height The typical height of this product at maturity.
Spread The width of the plant at maturity.
Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.
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Oregano may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, directly sown, or planted as a potted plant.
Sowing Seed Indoors:
- Sow oregano seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit.
- Barely cover seeds in seed-starting formula.
- Keep the soil moist at 70 degrees F
- Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days.
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots.
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Sowing Directly in the Garden:
- Direct sow in average soil in full sun after all danger of frost when temperatures remain above 45 degrees F.
- Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil then level and smooth.
- Sow seeds evenly and barely cover with fine soil.
- Firm the soil lightly and keep evenly moist.
- Seedlings will emerge in 10-21 days.
- Thin to 12 inches apart when seedlings have three sets of leaves.
Planting in the Garden:
- Select a location (out of the way or in a container due to rapid spread) in full sun or part shade with good rich, evenly moist soil.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
- Set the plants 12 inches apart.
- Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker.
- Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.
Caring For Your Oregano
Oregano is not a thirsty plant, and it absolutely needs well-drained soil. Wait until the ground is dry before watering. Plan to give about an inch a week during dry spells.
Oregano does not need regular doses of fertilizer. It does well with an annual application of two inches of compost. If your leaves start turning yellow, try spraying with some fish emulsion.
Growing oregano doesn’t need a thick much. Remember that it doesn’t like dampness and mulch like straw retains moisture. Pebble or pea gravel is a better option if you want to suppress weeds.
The center of your growing oregano plant may become brown and dried up. This can happen every few years, especially with container or bed plants. At this point, you want to divide the plant.
Using a spade simply cut the plant in half. Add compost into the hole you created when removing half of the plant. Take the other half and replant in another location or share with a friend.
Is It Better To Buy Therapeutic Oregano Oil Or Make Your Own?
One of the benefits of making your own oregano oil is that you can control its potency and experiment with your recipe until you find the right strength for your needs.
You can also experiment with dosage and application, whereas an essential oregano oil is more limited as it’s not recommended for internal use.
Not only is over-the-counter oregano oil expensive, but it also varies in strength and may contain alcohol, GMO ingredients, chemicals, and preservatives.
In a survival situation, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to buy anything, let alone niche products like herbal oils, which is why growing the herbs and concocting your own remedies will give you the advantage when the SHTF.
Natural Treatments for Chicken Diseases
While parasites can be treated with chemical de-wormers and chemical sprays, most of these common chicken health problems are difficult to treat medically. The best option is to support a healthy immune system in all of your chickens. This helps prevent disease, and helps the birds fight illness when they are infected.
Herbs and More for Sick Chickens
Image courtesy of abundantpermaculture.com
Try adding these ingredients to your flock’s feed or water on a daily basis as natural treatments for chicken diseases and their prevention:
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – A strong tonic that eliminates internal parasites and promotes health.
- Cinnamon – Helps stop diarrhea.
- Epsom Salts – Also a good treatment for diarrhea.
- Chopped Garlic and Onion – Fed in small amounts on a daily basis they will help prevent parasites and boost the immune system.
- Aloe Vera – General health food.
- Oregano – Treats parasites and prevents a second infestation.
- Sour Milk or Buttermilk – Supports a healthy gut. Feed a mash of wheat bran soaked in sour milk to a sick chicken to speed recovery.
- Parsley – Chickens love this disease preventing herb which is rich in nutrients like vitamins A, B, C, E and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc.
See how this large farm uses oregano and cinnamon to treat chicken diseases without antibiotics.