Borage – The Ugly Duckling Herb
All right, let’s face the fact that borage is an herb with awkward qualities. In fact this herb might have you think twice whether you should add it to your herb garden or not. Borage is not your typical aromatic herb primarily because it starts out as an ugly leaf. But interestingly, later on you’ll notice that it starts blooming into a beautiful blue flower.
Borage has fragrance and taste that resemble a cucumber. Most people only know this herb as a nice ingredient for salad, while others compare the borage leaves to spinach. But growing borage can offer a lot more. It splendidly complements your wine and its azure flowers are great for ornament or for plating. Extracting borage oil will provide you with a couple of medicinal uses. However, do not make it into a tea because the taste isn’t so great. Read on for our full guide on how to grow borage in your own garden.
Just a heads up, managing borage can be a little tricky. Borage is a self-seeding plant, so be careful when you position the plant. Borage can grow up to three feet tall and it is endowed with big leaves. It grows all year round so watch out for old leaves and flowers. It needs at least two feet of space in order to grow well.
After frost is the best time to sow Borage. Most grow it at the start of spring. The combination of cool air and sunlight is great for its development. Sow Borage plants 1/8 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Keep the plant well watered but do not let the soil to get waterlogged. Growing Borage indoors is not really recommended, but possible.
You can enjoy your harvest in about 8 weeks or so. You can harvest the leaves but keep the young ones as much as possible. The best time to harvest the flowers is when they are in full bloom. Drying the Borage at home is discouraged as they have the tendency to go black. Moreover, borage has high levels of minerals as the leaves tend to be fleshy. Some suggests microwaving borage instead.
Borage loves cool air. It also needs adequate amounts of sunshine so a sunny spot is the perfect place to plant borage. Fine, moist and a well-drained soil would work best. Now, if you want it to be bushier, make the soil richer. Water it well and keep it away from bugs. Bees are especially attracted to Borage plants so you may opt to position your Borage where pollination is necessary.
Since borage has a tendency to self-pollinate all year long, it might be a hassle if they keep on growing everywhere. Try to weed out your Borage plant and transplant it somewhere else. Since it grows tall, clumps can be used as a support. Growing the plants closer together can support one another. Grow your borage plant together with strawberries, squash and tomatoes. It has been proven to improve the taste of tomatoes of grown nearby.