Marjoram and Oregano are similar herbs that originate from Mediterranean regions.
Oregano is actually wild marjoram and has a more intense flavour than Marjoram.
Because of this similarity cultivation of each can be said to be the same.
There are three types of Marjoram grown in the UK and these are;
Wild marjoram (oregano)
Sweet or knotted marjoram.
As would be expected Marjoram grows best in well-drained soil that is not to high in nutrients, providing it is in full sun.
It also grows well in containers.
Marjoram is often treated as a half hardy annual aromatic herb in the UK, particularly in the more northern regions.
There are also some perennial varieties that are fairly well suited to sheltered warm areas of the country.
They grow to around 600mm (24") high with a 400mm (16") spread, and flowers from late June until September.
The sweet spicy leaves may be used fresh, or dried, and can be used as flavouring in meats, soups and stews.
Sow seed in pots/trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 13°C (55°F)
Germination should take about a week.
If seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into 75mm (3") pots of potting compost.
Gradually harden the seedlings off in a frost free coldframe until planting out time.
Plant out 300mm (12") apart in compost enriched soil, and in a sunny situation.
In heavy soils add some grit to open up the soil texture.
In the first few months after planting out, ensure the plants do not dry out, but never allow them to become waterlogged.
Once they have become established they should cope well with drought.
Harvest the leaves just before the flowers appear.
If the leaves are harvested after the flowers appear they can taste bitter.
Removing the flower heads before they open can extend the harvesting period for three or four months.
Wild marjoram is most commonly used as a dried herb.
Collect the leaves on a dry day and store them in a dark, dry warm place until they are quite dry.
These can then be stored in an airtight container where they will retain their flavour for up to six months.
Sweet or knotted marjoram is best used as a fresh herb, and should be harvested as required.
Now is a good time to take cuttings from perennial varieties.
To do this, select a non flowering stem gently tear it from the main plant with a heel of older wood.
Remove the lower leaves and insert the cutting into a well drained loam based compost.
Place the cutting/s in a propagator to root.
If you don't have a propagator, place the pot/tray in a plastic bag and place on a warm windowsill (not in full sun).
Roots should form in approximately six weeks.
Once rooted, pot on in pots of potting compost or plant out into free-draining soil in the border.
Small plants can be dug up from the garden and potted up to grow on for winter use.