If you were to ask my husband what is one of his most valuable plants on our small heirloom farm the answer probably would surprise you! What if I said Borage. Yep that's right, Borage.
But what is Borage, I mean you've probably heard of it right......or maybe not? Most likely you are familiar with the name and how it sounds rather well boring...... But I assure you it's anything, but boring.
So today I thought I would touch on this wonderful herbaceous plant that grows very easily and without much work! In fact that will be my first point.
Borage is drought tolerant. If you're struggling with dry arid conditions borage might just be what the gardener ordered. This plant withstands very dry spells with relative ease. It of course likes moisture, but will readily stand the abuse and lack of rain. And full sun is not required! So that brings me to my next point.
Borage will grow in partial shade. If you have a shady spot in your yard or garden borage could be the answer if your struggling with getting plants to grow. Now I will say though that for better blooms and stocky plants full sun is the better of the two, but better to have planted and lost than never to have planted at all! But losing leaves is a winning situation for you actually which brings me to my next point.
Borage is edible! Yes Borage flowers, stems, and leaves are edible. They are very aromatic and both taste and smell like a mild fresh cucumber. The flowers can make wonderful additions to salads as well the the leaves. You can also cook the older leaves in place of spinach since the older leaves are a tad tougher. The younger leaves are better raw. I wouldn't let it take the place of lettuce in your diet, but you can surely mix it into salad recipes. And again the flowers make wonderful garnishes to salads or cakes. Just think about it. They are eye appealing to many including bees which brings me to my next...well you guessed it point!
Borage is very good for bees! Yes it's true bee populations are in dramatic decline for a number of reasons. So planting plants that bees like are sure to help the cause. Borage flowers are loaded with nectar and what's so very cool about the flowers is they refill with nectar every 2 minutes! It's like a bee water fountain providing healthy rich nectar for plenty of needed honey. And the pollen is also a wonderful bee-nefit ;) It also readily produces seed which means....
Borage readily and happily self seeds. Although borage is classified as an annual you might as well treat it as a perennial because it easily self seeds. So you might want to keep that in mind when planting and make it a permanent place. But it can be transplanted very easily in fact we transplanted all our plants into their beds. So if you change your mind about location you can always move the small plants to a different location, or you can save the seeds and replant. It's totally up to you! And finally the last, but certainly not least important benefit of borage is it's a wonderful recycler of nutrients.
Borage is an accumulator plant. So what does that mean! Well it simply means it mines nutrients very efficiently and stores them in the leaves. It cuts down on leaching and provides a home grown fertilizer. You can use borage as a mulch just by chopping and dropping. Or you can use it in compost teas and just add it to your compost pile. It doesn't matter just utilize it anyway you can!
You know although I've listed some great reasons to cultivate borage I'm sure this doesn't even begin to elaborate on all it's wonderful benefits. There are so many uses for this amazing herbal plant. Including medical properties for the skin! It's just a great all around herb to add to your garden and perhaps you'll find even more uses for this old time favorite.