Thyme and Oregano
Guest Contributor: Rev. Dagmar Mikkila
Thyme and oregano are two of my favorite herbs. The two plants are related and both have culinary uses as well as health benefits. They can be grown in the garden or in pots, either indoors or out.
The flowers, leaves, and oil of the thyme plant can be used. Thyme can help lower high blood pressure, bolster our immune systems, and, amongst other things, help reduce coughing.
Oregano is from the same family as the mint. That is why its leaves look similar to mint. When planted in a garden, oregano spreads profusely like mint does. This is another reason I prefer to grow this herb in pots. Oregano has antibacterial properties and aids in digestion.
As with any herb, you should check to see if there any precautions to observe due to allergies and/or potentially adverse side affects.
I am a lazy gardener who also wants to preserve my garden space for bigger foods and so I grow these two herbs in pots. My ideal way is by ‘over seeding’. First, prepare a pot for each herb that has adequate drainage. Put a combination of organic potting soil and organic compost in each pot. About a 50/50 mixture is good. Pat the soil down lightly to make sure you remove the air bubbles in the soil. If needed, put more compost in the pot. Water the soil before spreading the seeds. The seeds of the thyme and oregano are very tiny so sprinkle a package of organic seeds on top of the prepared soil. Then just add enough potting/compost mixture to lightly cover the seeds. Use a spray nozzle bottle that has a fine mist setting and spray the soil enough to dampen the seeds, but not disturb them.
These herbs like warm, sunny weather or window locations. You can start them indoors in the early spring and move them outdoors when the weather is appropriate. After about a month to five weeks you should see them start to grow. If they become too dense you can prune them back or take some out and put into another pot or into the garden.
You can use these herbs fresh or dried. They are easy to dry and do not necessarily require a dehydrator. I just put them out on a table and let them dry naturally before putting them into spice bottles.
If you live in a colder climate then you will want to bring the thyme in for the winter. The oregano can be left outdoors through the winter and it should restart in the spring. To be on the safe side I bring mine indoors for the winter.