What is Borage?

| 6/14/2012 11:50:24 AM

When I bought my borage seeds this past winter, I did it because I read that borage makes a good companion plant to plant with tomatoes, and because I was looking to cover as much ground space with intentional plantings as I could, in order to minimize the opportunity for weeds, and especially grass, to take over my garden. I remember seeing a picture of it online, and it struck me as a kind of vine-like plant, that wasn’t going to shade much of anything, or spread like a ground cover.

Boy, I must have been looking at the wrong thing in that picture. The photo doesn't do justice to how wide and broad these plants have actually gotten, but it does clarify that they could not be less vine-like. In fact, when they first started to come up, I wasn't sure if it really was the borage, because they looked for all the world like cucurbit seedlings. I've read that the leaves are edible and taste kind of like cucumbers, so maybe that's not too far off!


I planted my borage seeds pretty close together, because of my misconception about how they were going to fill in. It turns out that because of its thick, broad leaves, that borage seems to do quite well choking out the possibility of weeds. And this week my borage began to bloom. How lovely! I definitely have a new favorite flower.

borage bloom
borage blooming

And in other blooming news, this year I planted the remainder of my scarlet runner beans specifically for the blooms. The last time I planted them I found them to be beautiful, though I didn’t get a single bean for some reason. Right now they’re doing exactly what I requested of them, and if I get a few beans too then that’ll just be a bonus!

6/18/2012 7:54:00 PM

I don't think borage gives any fruit. It's just a flower, though I've read that you can eat the leaves and the flowers, and apparently there are some medicinal herbal uses for it but I doubt I'll get into that. I just grew it to attract bees to pollinate my tomato plants. And it seems to do a good job choking out the weeds, and the flowers are beautiful, so I'm pretty happy with it. I was just checking out your corn. I have some squash growing in with mine this year, but no beans. My squash has been a mess. I've already lost a number of them. But others are doing fine..I was so discouraged one day I started 6 more under the grow light a few weeks ago and I just set them out so I may be in the late squash bucket with you, ha ha! Although a few of my squash plants are giving me squash now, so hopefully that'll last for a bit. I lose mine to vine borers every year....

6/17/2012 2:17:35 PM

S.M.R., Borage does look kind of like a cucumber. What exactly does a Borage plant produce. Is it like a melon, squash, or what? I have heard the name but I haven't really known what kind of plant it was or what its use would be. I'm hoping to get my pole beans planted for the three sisters experiment this week. The corn seems to taking its good old time coming up. The corn has to be about six inches high before the beans and vining squash are planted. Because of the lateness of planting, I'm hoping to circumvent the egg laying cycle of the dreaded vine borer. It might give me squash a little later in the season but that is ok with me. So far it's been a relatively good year for the garden here in Nebraska. Hey, good luck with the book. Have a great day in the garden.

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