I’m late planting fall seeds. With cooler fall weather finally arriving down south, I decided today was garden cleanup day. I disposed of my spent tomato plants, harvested the last of my peppers and turned around to see…a green monster had taken over my herbs. Oregano.
One oregano plant had, in the last couple of weeks, sent it’s runners scrambling across every open space in the garden.
Leafy tentacled root shoots were grasping the soil and smothering everything in it’s path. Underneath I saw basil seedlings sprouted from seeds fallen from basil flowers, they needed sunlight and room to grow. I saw snails enjoying an afternoon snack while hiding from predators.
I decided to cut some of the runners and prep them for drying and putting up for kitchen use. This would also open up space and sun in the garden, and expose little garden destroyers to wildlife further up the food chain.
The more I cut, the more I realized just how far this monster’s reach was. As I was wrestling with the oregano William Wordsworth’s poem “The World is Too Much With Us” crept into my head and I couldn’t help thinking that although the oregano was just being itself, my garden was too much with it. The whole plant would have to come out.
I kept hacking at it until I thought I could get a grip on the whole plant and yank it out. Nope. It was not giving up it’s grasp on my garden. I had to dig all the way around it and pull with all my strength before it would relinquish it’s hold. I’m absolutely sure there are root remnants left in my garden and the oregano will likely reappear, like “Proteus rising from the sea.” For now, I’m content to have room for spinach, lettuce and radishes in my garden and lots of dried oregano put up for winter.
Note to self ~ next year plant oregano in a big pot by itself!
To Dry Oregano:
Rinse it in batches in a colander and set it on paper towels. Then simply strip the leaves from the stems with your hands.
To do this, grasp the whole stem from it’s end and pull down the length of the stem with it in the center of your fist. The leaves will come right off, then you can gather them and place them on a baking sheet.
Bake in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool then crush and place in a spice jar. You can also wrap your dried herbs in parchment, then place in a plastic bag in the freezer. Label your jar or your bag so you’ll know what it is.
Place some of the dried oregano in a shaker jar for quick seasoning of dishes like spaghetti sauce, fajitas or on pizza!