Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Forage for Borage


Sitting on the front porch, the air rustles with the soft thrum of bees busy with their work. Stretching tall and hairy, blue borage flowers shimmer as bees dance from bloom to bloom. Later, when my son comes home from school, he will pluck some of those flowers off - eat them by the handful and swear they taste like cucumber. And they do.

Borage is said to attract bees from miles away. Having planted borage for the first time this year, that statement appears to be accurate. While the rest of my yard is only occasionally dotted with a honey bee or furred black bumble bee, the sprawling borage, seated in the middle of our butterfly garden, hovers and hums from morning til evening.

Borage is particularly useful for interplanting with fruits and vegetables. Pollination skyrockets and it is said to render the produce tastier as well. It is, fortunately, notoriously easy to grow from seed but does like full sun and room to roam - my two biggest plants take up about two square feet each. Experienced gardeners swear that you only need to plant borage once as it happily reseeds itself year after year. I look forward to such volunteers next year.


This week, I will be giving away free borage seeds - come one come all, or at least all those living in the U.S. (I'm not up for international shipping right now). If you have a sunny spot in your yard and would like to welcome bees and other wild pollinators, please email your contact information to greenbeandreams(at)gmail(dot)com for free borage seeds. I'll send them out within a week.

Let's make it a little easier for those bees to forage for borage.


Borage Giveaway is Officially Over. I'm fresh out of seeds. The rest of you have permission to let your clover grow for the bees. :)

21 comments:

Shell said...

Oh! Borage! I was just reading about this. I'm going through a "edible flowers" stage and read that Borage is great for dainty drinks, salads and the like. Tastes like cucumber. Yum. You'll have to try and let me know :).

Burbanmom said...

Oooh! Me! Me! Pick Me! I'd LOVE to get some Gee Bees Borage Seeds! (say that five times fast!)

eco 'burban mom said...

I have the perfect place for this in my backyard! I will be emailing you straight away for bee-seeds!

You know those bees also help to keep my kids from tromping through the gardens looking for wayward balls / bats / frisbees / etc. Quite funny to see big, tough, middle school boys run screaming from bees! :o)

Hit Pay Dirt said...

DAMN those international borders! I guess that means I will have to find some borage on my own. :)

Thanks for the awesome tip GB!

spelled with a K said...

no thanks, I haven't needed borage seed in about four years now, and chances are after this year, neither will you.

It is the best $.02 of seed you'll ever put in the ground. And the young leaves are pretty good too!

Carla said...

Yes, GB, I'd love to have some borage seeds. My plant of the past 2 seasons died out this winter - bummer. I was just watching some busy bees this weekend during a gardening break, wondering which kind they were as they bounced from daisy to daisy... Looked like some sort of worker bee. Then there were the big fat bumblebees that resented me working near the raspberries later on & 'buzzed the tower'... the tower being me.
Carla in Idaho

katecontinued said...

I wrote an email first thing this morning and I'm checking back to see if there has been a lot of interest. Yes, there are a few more voices I see.

What surprised me most was your description of how large the plant gets. I hadn't pictured that from what I'd read. The photo is also interesting because of the pinkish stems.

Erikka said...

hey green bean. i'll be starting my slow food nation book club tomorrow, continuing to be a book worm, but i didn't see it up on your list.

am i not special anymore? :)

kale for sale said...

I didn't know the borage attracted bees. That's good news. My one little plant is scrawny this year but next year - I know I'll have a bunch of them. Nice of you to send out the seed.

CindyC said...

I'd love some as I'm looking for something to plant in the front yard. I can actually just come by and pick it up. You think it's deer resistant?

Green Bean said...

To everyone who emailed, I've got your emails and will get organized and send the seeds out this week. I promise! Any other takers.

Shell: Ohh, I think I can make that sacrifice.

Burbs: Girl, I need your addy. I'll email you.

EBM: I'll get yours out asap - maybe it will keep the boys out of the garden if nothing else will!

Hit Pay Dirt: So sorry! I'll give you the international prize - freedom to let the clover (which bees like just about as well) in your yard. ;-)

Spelled with a K: I'm delighted for the confirmation that I'm now set for a lifetime of borage. Thank you!

Carla: I got your email and will be delighted to send you seeds. Isn't it so amazing to watch the bees and other insects at work? This year is the first time that I've really slowed down to enjoy them. I'm so glad I have.

Kate: I got your email, too! I'll get your seeds out this week and I'll respond to all the emails this evening. It does get pretty big. I didn't realize that until after I planted some in my raised beds. By then, the ones out front were enormous - and frothing with bees. It's a beautiful plant.

Erikka: Not still special!!!!! Of course you are. That's called Green Bean losing her bean. It slipped through the cracks, I'm afraid. I'll go remedy that right now.

Katrina: I had two mammoth plants and then I've got three or four smaller ones. Mine definitely does better in full sun so. Is yours in full sun?

Cindy: I can attest that it is deer resistant because, this year, maybe due to the drought, the deer are coming down in droves. Not the best year to plant an edible garden in the front I guess. They devoured my sunflowers, my pumpkins and some of my flowers (queen anne's lace and such) but completely kept away from the borage, which is a little prickly. I'll bring you some at book club.

Green Bean said...

Erikka: Just double checked and Slow Food Nation and you are on the list? Did I miss something else?? Entirely possible! I may be losing my mind but I still have borage seeds. ;-) Let me know.

CindyW said...

Thanks for the borage seeds! I will see if and how I can kill the plants :)

Sue in the Western Great Basin said...

Wow, I'd love to try planting some borage seeds! Thanks, Green Bean, what a great idea!

Verde said...

Ohhhh, I'd love some Borage. I didn't even know about it untill this year and have really been wanting some. Yes, have plenty of sun but really cold winters too.

Green Bean said...

Cindy: I have complete faith in you. I'm sure you'll find a way. ;-)

Sue: Awesome. I'll ship some over to you later this week. If I can't find your address from the Plenty drawing, I'll come over and stalk you for it.

Verde: I don't know about cold winters but I'm assuming its okay. Everyone talks about how it reseeds itself like crazy and all those folks aren't living in sunny California. I think you'll be ok. Have you emailed me your address yet? If not, go ahead and send it over so I can get you your seeds.

Wendy said...

Oh, thanks for the reminder. I know I've got some Borage seeds in my stash. No need to send any to me; I'll get them planted tomorrow!

kendra said...

We have borage planted throughout our yard too. Most are between the tomatos and melons. They are just buzzing with activity. Pretty amazing. In fact our whole yard is alive with bees. Our 20-month old, who's former habit was to pet the bees, just got stung yesterday for the first time. ouch!

Green Bean said...

Wendy: Get out there and plant, girl! You usually are ten steps ahead of me. ;-)

Kendra: How awesome - not the your little one got stung but that your yard is a buzz. How cute that your little one used to pet bees. I hope that he or she is okay.

Susan B said...

How did you know borage has been on my mind -- email sent. Thanks for the offer.

Ellen said...

Thank you for the seeds! I planted them tonight, amongst the tomatoes. Thank you thank you thank you!!

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