At this writing, it is early spring, a time when I can almost hear tender buds unfolding from the still chilly earth and I yearn for spring's warmth, the smell of freshly mown grass, and the dirty, slightly tan and calloused hands I prefer. It is at this time (or similar months when the garden is sleeping) that planting an indoor herb garden is enticing and will not only cheer up those winter doldrums, but enliven your recipes as well. Many herbs do exceptionally well as houseplants and include:
Sweet marjoram is another such herb, which when grown outside in cooler climates may die during icy winter, but when grown as an indoor marjoram herb plant will thrive and often live for years in that mild clime.
Growing Marjoram Indoors
When growing marjoram indoors, there are a couple of considerations that apply to any indoor herb. Assess the amount of space you have, the temperature, light source, air, and cultural requirements. A sunny location and moderately moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.9 are the elementary details of how to grow sweet marjoram indoors. If planting from seed, sow uncovered and germinate at about 65 to 70 degrees F. (18-21 C.). Seeds are slow to germinate but plants can also be propagated by cuttings or root division.
Care of Marjoram Herbs
As previously mentioned, this little member of the Lamiaceae family is usually an annual unless planted indoors or outside in mild climates. To maintain the vigor and shape of the indoor marjoram herb plant, pinch back plants prior to blooming in mid to late summer (July to September). This will also keep the size down to a manageable 12 inches (31 cm.) or so and eliminate much of the woodiness of the indoor marjoram herb plant.
Using Marjoram Herbs
The tiny, grayish green leaves, flowering top or entirety of indoor marjoram herb plants may be harvested at any time. Sweet marjoram's flavor is reminiscent of oregano and is at its peak just before blooming in the summer. This also reduces the seed set and encourages herbaceous development. This little Mediterranean herb may be sheared severely down to 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm.). There are many ways of using marjoram herbs, including using fresh or dry in marinades, salads, and dressings to flavor vinegars or oils, soups, and compound butters. Indoor marjoram herb plant marries well with an abundance of foods such as fish, green vegetables, carrots, cauliflower, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, squash, and potatoes. Sweet marjoram pairs well with bay leaf, garlic, onion, thyme, and basil and as a milder version of oregano, can be used in its place as well. When using marjoram herbs, they may be dried or fresh, either method useful in not only cooking but as a wreath or bouquet. To dry indoor marjoram herb plant, hang sprigs to dry and then store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container out of the sun.
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Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.
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