Oregano – Greek

x4315Oregano is a great herb to have on hand.  I love adding fresh leaves on top of my scrambled eggs or tomato sauce.  The plant grows slowly and does not use a lot of water.

Dec 24, 2015 = Day 0.  Plant started from seed (Seeds of Change).  These seeds are very small, almost microscopic, difficult to handle.  Sowed directly on top of the rockwool cube (not in the central hole). Moistened with dilute fertilizer solution: 1 mL (1/5 tsp) Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow per gallon of tap water.  Nutrient concentrations (in ppm):  N 18, P 24, K 13, Ca 5, Mg 1, S 0.13, Fe 0.26, Mn 0.13, B 0.05, Zn 0.13, Cu 0.13, Mo 0.002, Ni 0.0003, Co 0.004.  pH = 7.0.

Dec 30, 2015 = Day 6.  Seeds germinated.  Placed plants directly under a fluorescent light (2-ft. T8 bulb, 17W, 6500k) for 16 hours per day.

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Jan 2, 2016 = Day 9
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Jan 7, 2016 = Day 14

Jan 12, 2016 = Day 19.  Installed plant into 0.5-gallon glass jar.  Hydroponic solution composed of 0.5 gal tap water, 3 mL Dyna-Gro Liquid Grow.  Nutrient concentrations (in ppm): N 111, P 143, K 79, Ca 32, Mg 8, S 0.8, Fe 1.6, Mn 0.8, B 0.3, Zn 0.8, Cu 0.8, Mo 0.01, Ni 0.002, Co 0.024.  pH = 6.0.  No pH adjustment required.

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Jan 12, 2016 = Day 19
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Jan 25, 2016 = Day 32

Feb 5, 2016 = Day 43.  Transferred plant to indoor grow room, where it gets 9 hours LED light per day, plus 3 hours of sunlight.

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Feb 6, 2016 = Day 44

Feb 18 = Day 56.  Pruned the plant, cutting back the longest shoots to encourage branching.

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Feb 20 = Day 58

Mar 1 = Day 68.  Based on information obtained in this post and this post, it seems that the pH of the Liquid Grow-based hydroponic solution tends to drop below 4.0 by the end of the growing period, which is not ideal for nutrient uptake.  This oregano plant had already used 3.5 cups of fluid, and the pH had dropped to 5.5.  At this point, I switched to a Masterblend-based solution.  Nutrient concentrations (in ppm):  N 103, P 95, K 202, Ca 100, Mg 29, S 34, Fe 2.1, Mn 1.1, B 1.1, Zn 0.3, Cu 0.3, Mo 0.05, Si 4.  pH = 6.0.  Plant was transferred to a larger 1.2-gallon plastic container (Perpetuem), and the new container was filled to the same level below the net-pot as in the old container, so as to avoid drowning the roots.

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Mar 1 = Day 68
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Mar 19 = Day 87

Mar 27 = Day 95.  Added 4 cups (0.25 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.  Harvested many of the leaves for making tomato sauce.

Apr 16 = Day 115.  Added 4 cups (0.25 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.

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Apr 19 = Day 118

Apr 24 = Day 123.  Added 4 cups (0.25 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.

Apr 29 = Day 128.  Added 4 cups (0.25 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.

May 5 = Day 134.  Added 4 cups (0.25 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.

May 18 = Day 147.  Added 4 cups (0.25 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.

May 26 = Day 155.  Added 4 cups (0.25 gal) fresh hydroponic fluid.

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May 26 = Day 155

May 28 = Day 157.   Harvested all remaining leaves.  Total fluid used = 2 gallons.  Based on the amount of fluid this plant used, I wouldn’t grow this one in a 1-gallon container again.  It would be better to start with a 3.5-gallon or even a 5-gallon bucket.

Bundled leaves together, then hung the bundles upside-down in a well-ventilated area to let the leaves dry.

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Bundles of fresh oregano ready for drying.

After about a week, separate the dried leaves from the stems and store in an airtight container.  Dried leaves can be added to soups, sauces, and dressings.

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Dried oregano leaves.
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