Marjorams: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties

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A close relative of oregano, marjoram is very popular herb and is used in casseroles, stuffings, and sauces. Sweet marjoram is a tender perennial that rarely survives even mild winters, so seeds or cuttings must be started each year.

About marjorams
Marjoram will grow in an upright bush form up to 2 feet tall. Creeping golden marjoram is smaller and makes an attractive border plant.

Choosing a site to grow marjorams
Choose a site in full sun and in slightly alkaline soil rich in organic matter.

Planting Instructions
Seeds are quite small and are best started indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost date. Place plants about 6 to 8 inches apart or in several clumps of two or three plants set 12 to 14 inches apart. Six to ten plants will supply a household's normal use.

Ongoing Care
Keep the soil slightly moist around plants. Try to cultivate often to prevent weed competition and aerate the soil. Add 1 inch of compost in a 12-inch circle around the plants after each harvest to nourish them.

How to harvest marjorams
When flowers appear, cut the plants to several inches above the soil line. Cut again later in the season when more flower heads form. Use leaves fresh and dry them for winter use. To dry, tie the stems together and hang bunches upside down in a ventilated, dark area. Leaves dry quickly and retain their flavor well. After drying, crush the leaves, toss out the stems, and store in airtight containers.

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