Seed Count: Approx. 60 seeds
Days to Maturity: 56-80 days
Description: Borage, also known as starflower or bee bush, is an annual herb native to the Mediterranean. Borage boasts blue, star shaped flowers making it a lovely ornamental plant, however it has many culinary uses as well. Young borage leaves have a mild, refreshing, cucumber like fragrance, and is used in soups and salads, or to add flavor to lemonade. The blue flowers can be added to drinks, like tea, candied, or even used as garnish for a pop of color. Borage is also great to add to your pollinator garden, since bees absolutely love it. In the garden, borage can deter pests like hornworms, and it adds trace minerals to the soil it's planted in. In the past philosophers thought that borage even gave courage and comfort to the heart!
How To Grow
Sowing: Since borage does not transplant well, direct sowing your seeds is the best option. After your last spring frost, when the soil has warmed, sow your seeds about 1/4 an inch deep and 12-15 inches apart, in rows 18 inches apart. Borage also makes a great potted plant, if you don't have raised beds or a lot of garden space. Germination should happen within 7-14 days. It thrives in partial shade or full sun and well drained, rich soil. However, borage can grow very well in poor soil and dry conditions. You can also grow it as a companion plant to strawberries or tomatoes, because it improves pollination by attracting bees, and discourages pests.
Growing: Make sure to keep the soil fairly moist and weeds under control. You should apply a layer of mulch, since too much soil contact can cause the leaves to droop and rot. If the plant grows tall and begins to fall over, a stake may be necessary to keep them upright. Remove any wilted blossoms to encourage new flowers to grow.
Harvesting: You can start to harvest borage leaves when the plant is well established, about 6-8 weeks after planting. Small, tender leaves are preferred for culinary use because the older leaves are covered with prickly hairs. Harvest the leaves or flowers in the morning after the dew has dried. When harvesting flowers, choose flowers that are just beginning to open. Though the leaves and flowers keep for several days in the refrigerator, they tend to lose their flavor when frozen. Saving borage seeds are super easy, although if left alone, borage will easily reseed itself. Remove the seed heads when they have fully matured and start to dry, then spread them out in a protected location away from direct sunlight to finish drying. Once they've died. thresh the seeds, remove any debris, and store them in a cool, dry place.