User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

borage was a mistake! (etc)

Every year I grow at least one thing I've never grown before, just to keep learning about new stuff. This year borage was one of them. I picked it because it is supposed to be very attractive to honeybees and to repel tomato hornworms. Started it from seed (very easy) and planted some in herb garden and some in the raised bed with the tomatoes.

I freely admit that people here did warn me about the borage getting big. Ever since the tomatoes went in the ground, I have had to keep cutting the borage back to keep it from over-taking the tomatoes. Stuff is huge and incredibly fast growing. AND I never did see a single honey bee at it :( . And it isn't actually very pretty, which seems odd for something with lots of blue flowers. But kind of coarse and weedy looking. Main plus to it is I did like the sweet, spicy borage flowers in salads. So I was out today and I was going to cut it back a bunch more. But the stems are hollow and when you cut it off it just leaves an open tube. I looked at all those open tubes and thought that is just an invitation to disease and pests. So I pulled it all out of the tomato bed. It's still in the herb bed, but that's a lot shadier, so the borage isn't so rampant.

AS, I think you are the one who gets to tell me, I told you so! :)

In the meantime, the tomato plants which were my leggy seedlings are still looking a bit leggy and spindly. I don't think it's because they were leggy seedlings; if the conditions had been right, they would have recovered from that. But they are leggy now for the same reason they were before... not enough light.

When we bought this place 9 years ago, the patio was pretty much in full sun. But the trees along one edge have gotten a LOT bigger and are encroaching and shading it. I think tomorrow I will get my chainsaw out and take down a couple trees and a couple huge branches, let a little more sun back. I WANT one full sun spot!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

You had better get it all out!

I haven't planted borage in 12 years, I could serve you a borage salad at any given time.

It didn't get huge here, but I don't like it, I was not impressed with it at all. And now it moves all over the place, even outside the garden.

I have never seen a bee on it.

Dig, slash and burn it!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

I'm sorry to hear you are not happy with the borage.

But I can't see how yours are doing so well and mine aren't. I actually planted some because of what you were saying months ago. I have one that is growing good no flowers, but it is still small. the others I planted are barely doing anything.

I'm still leaving mine for now.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

The ones I pulled from the tomato bed were like 4' high and wide and covered in flower clusters, even after being cut back a couple times already. The ones in the shadier area are much smaller and only flowering a little. So are yours in sun or shade? It seems to make a big difference.

Otherwise the tomato bed is very rich and fertile with lots of compost... probably would be better to stick the borage in some lean rocky soil somewhere...
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27792
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Uh huh. :wink:
I'm still keeping my borage plants, but I'm a lot more aggressive about using them as dynamic accumulators (i.e. cut and use as mulch). I agree about the flavor of the flowers though, and bees do visit mine to the point that I have to check before picking the flowers. :shock:

I'm finding out they like moisture and grow bigger where the moisture level stays constant (like a tomato bed where you're trying to keep BER at bay, for instance). I planted a few next to the Rhubarbs, thinking there's some space that can be used until next year, and so far, one of the Borages and one of the Rhubarbs have been evenly matched in leaf size.

I'll take a photo tomorrow, I look at them from my bedroom window every morning and shake my head. :roll: I actually removed some of the borage leaves once already, I think. It IS an interesting contrast in leaf shape and texture, however. 8)

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Now, THERE is a phrase I could have been using all this time: I'm a...
applestar wrote: dynamic accumulator
yes, step right up, ladies and gentlemen. Able to eat 10 calories and retain 20 of them! Pretty dynamic and accumulating, isn't it??? :roll:

(and clearly the explanation for my lifelong struggle with weight, even in the face of some very athletic years.)

Can you tell that it's finally getting to me...two full-time jobs since 8 days ago: my paying job and my post-op doggy...

Time to get some sleep and dream up even more ways to get my plants to grow in my enforced absence. Maybe I'll find borage starts somewhere, even at this late date, to "spike" the snails on their stems....

cynthia

with vergil, who has rested much more comfortably today....

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

4' :shock: my biggest one is abot a foot wide. They are all in full sun decent to good soil.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

did you start them ahead or direct seed? Mine were part of what I started early indoors, so they got a big head start..
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Return to “What Doesn't Fit Elsewhere”