Tag: Grow (page 2 of 2)

Monthly Planting Guide: April in the Piedmont

April is a very exciting time for planting, as you can see by how long our list grows!  Since April 5th is this zone’s average last frost date, summer crops can start going out into the garden from mid-April on…  but make sure you keep an eye on those evening low temps!  Late frosts are not unheard of, and can decimate summer transplants.  If a late frost does happen, cover summer transplants with overturned cups, jars, or buckets.  Getting closer every day to that first ripe tomato…

April Seed Guide

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Fresh Herbs in Winter: Wild and Homegrown Alternatives to the Supermarket

You may not think of winter as a time to write a post about fresh herbs, but that’s exactly why these beauties below fit into our Feasting in Times of Winter Scarcity series.  Winter may seem like the hardest time to find fresh herbs, making us all resort to those horrible clam shell herb containers at the store where you pay five dollars for a bundle of herbs you know you could grow so easily in the summer or find a bundle four times that size for half the price at your local farmers’ market.

This may lead you to attempt growing herbs indoors, something I have had mixed success with, often resulting in scraggly, slow-growing plants.

Alternatively, you may notice that many of your perennial herbs, although slow growing, live on outdoors well beyond the first frost date.  The piles of mint, onion grass, bee balm, catmint, and lemon balm below were all picked in January, well after many frosts.

Winter Herb Harvest

Another option is to attempt a cold frame or low tunnel outdoors to keep a few small stashes of herbs growing through the winter.  Cilantro does particularly well in that environment, like my little almost-picked-to-death cilantro in my low tunnel below.

Low Tunnel Winter Cilantro

If none of these options sound appealing to you, don’t count out the wild herbs!  Below are two of the most common wild herbs you’ll find around – two that I’ll bet you’ve either eaten or at least crushed and smelled before – noting their aromatic properties but hesitating to cook with them.  Why hesitate?

Onion Grass (aka Wild Garlic)

When I first moved down here, I remember someone pointing out “onion grass” to me, and I thought, no no, that’s just chives that have gone rogue into someone’s yard.  I didn’t realize that chives had a more wild cousin that really likes to get around.  It’s an easy mistake to make, and a happy one!  Because it shows how interchangeable the two can be in cooking – why spend $4.99 on that clamshell of “fresh chives” when you probably have a patch of onion grass in your lawn you’ve been trying to eradicate for years?

Wild Garlic

Description and Habitat.  “Onion grass” grows in clumps of green chive-like tops with a bulb at its base made of several smaller “cloves,” much like garlic.  You can find it in just about any lawn or field or along any roadside.  The strong onion/garlic scent is a good indicator that you have the right plant.

Harvest.  To harvest, you can simply cut off whatever leaves you need.  Feel free to give it a full haircut; it will grow back.  Alternatively, if you want to harvest the bulb below, you can pull up the whole plant. Just be sure to leave a couple bulbs from the clump in the ground so you can come back to your spot in years to come.

Flavor and Use.  You can use the grass like you would chives, and the bulbs like you would garlic (although their small size makes this difficult).  The grass itself is much more garlicky than chives, so I like to use it to lend that flavor to some classically garlicky uses – like this pesto below and the seasoned salt at the end of the post.

Wild Greens & Nuts Pesto

Warning:  This pesto is addictive!  You will scoop it on everything, and if you take it to a party, it will not come back with you.  It may just be my favorite wild food recipe I have under my belt so far…

Wild Greens and Nuts Pesto


2-3 handfuls of wild garlic greens, roughly chopped

2-3 handfuls of wild cress greens

1-2 handfuls of wild nuts (hickory, pecan, and/or black walnut)

2 large pinches salt

olive oil

Combine wild garlic greens and wild cress in a food processor with wild nuts of your choosing.  Salt well.

Pulse until they are well mixed, and then begin to drizzle in olive oil while the food processor runs.  I like mine heavy on the olive oil until the mixture turns from looking like separate ingredients into a smooth creamy paste, as the oil emulsifies into a totally different texture (see picture above – there’s nothing dry or leafy about that pesto!).

Scoop into a bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, some wild leaves, and/or nuts.

Note: if you don’t have a chance to forage wild herbs for this, arugula and garlic with sunflower seeds will make another delicious version.

Ground Ivy 

One of my uncles was visiting a few months ago, helping us out on some backyard constructions projects.  When those were in ship shape, he asked, now what are you going to do about all this ground ivy?  (Our entire back “lawn” is ground ivy).  To which I replied, eat it!  We love our ground ivy lawn…  it’s beautiful covered in purple flowers in spring, durable, and smells delightfully herby when you walk on it or mow it.

Even better yet, you can eat it, and it’s tasty!  It could have made it into our Wild Winter Teas post, as it’s a member of the mint family, high in vitamin C, and brews a good cup.  But I like it even better featured as an herb for cooking.  Historically, it was used for eating, as medicine, in the beer making process by Saxons before hops were introduced, and by various other peoples in cheese making as a substitute for rennet.  How versatile!


Description and Habitat.  Ground ivy grows in trailing runners up to about four inches tall.  Leaves are roughly heart-shaped and scalloped (see picture above), stems are square shaped (due to its membership in the mint family), and it gets small purple flowers in spring.  Ground ivy gives off a distinctly herby, almost minty sent when crushed.  You’ll find it in your lawn, along greenways and roadsides, and in fields, particularly where it is somewhat cooler and shady.

Harvest.  You can pull up entire runners of ground ivy or snip off individual leaves.  I generally “harvest” when weeding it out of my vegetable beds.  Ground ivy is considered a non-native invasive species in the U.S., so harvest away!

Flavor and Uses.  Ground ivy has a scent/flavor somewhere between mint and a mild, greener rosemary.  You can put it in soups and salads, make tea out of it, or use it as a fresh or dried herb.  The flowers look particularly pretty in salads in spring.

Wild Seasoned Salt Rub

This recipe for wild seasoned salt has about a million and one uses.  Rub it on chicken, lamb, or beef before roasting.  Toss it with pasta and Parmesan for a great side; add white beans, and it’s a main course.  Dry it and bottle it for a unique wild holiday gift!  Another bonus:  this is one more way to use your citrus peels.  Zest peels before juicing (it’s very difficult to do after) and dry to be used later in seasoning rubs like this one or in desserts.

Wild Seasoned Salt


Zest of 2 lemons, grated

1 bunch of Ground Ivy leaves

1 bunch of Onion Grass

2 Tbsp Sea Salt

If using immediately, mince ground ivy and onion grass and combine with lemon zest and salt (pepper optional).

Wild Seasoned Salt Ingredients

If you’d like to dry and store this as a wild seasoned salt, dry grated lemon zest, whole ground ivy, and onion grass (in your oven or toaster oven on its lowest setting is one good way).

Crumble ground ivy and onion grass (or pulse in a coffee grinder), and combine with dried lemon zest and sea salt.

Store in an airtight container somewhere dark and cool.  Use as you would the fresh version.

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Monthly Planting Guide: March in the Piedmont

March is an exciting time for the garden as we transition from winter into spring!  As our Feasting in Times of Winter Scarcity series continues until the first day of spring, see how much you can actually get planted even while it’s still winter!



Did you catch our February Planting Guide?

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12 Seed-Starting Tips for the New or Experienced Gardener

Tis the season for seed starting!  That’s right, now is the time to get your spring garden transplants started inside.  To do so, we’re going to guide you through everything you need to know to set up your own little seed-starting station at home.  If this looks daunting to you, you can always stick with seeds that get planted straight outside and/or purchase transplants from a garden center.  Growing your own will take time, but save money (which is often the trade-off in gardening).

Ruby Streaks Mustard Sprouts


There are many seeds you can start indoors now to transplant out later and others that you can plant directly into your garden.

TIP 1:  Follow an existing seed calendar.  Check out our Monthly Seed Planting Guides to keep track of what’s what.

TIP 2:   Keep a journal.  We recommend keeping some sort of journal (even if it’s just on the back of a napkin) to keep track of when you planted your seeds and when you should put them out.  You will thank yourself for this when you are wondering when harvest time will be.

Choosing Seeds

Knowing what varieties to plant can be tricky…

TIP 3:  Plant what you’ll eat.  You’ll stay more motivated if you are growing something you really like to eat and use in your favorite recipes.

TIP 4:  Plant what gives you the biggest bang for your buck.  If you like buying organic and heirloom varieties (which we do!), growing them can be a big money-saver.  See our “Resources” at the end of the post for our favorite sources.

Getting Started

TIP 5:  Pre-sprout your seeds.  This is an optional step that I find very helpful.  Because I often use seeds that are several years old or pick up seeds of unknown age at seed swaps or from friends, I like a little insurance that these seeds are actually going to come up before going to the trouble of planting them.  I am also a little impatient, so I like to hurry things along a bit.  To do this, I often pre-sprout my seeds on damp napkins in old plastic containers.  Anytime a restaurant puts a giant wad of extra napkins in our take-out bag, I store them away for seed-starting time.  I also keep a stack of yogurt and cheese containers with lids around just for this purpose.

Seed Sprouting

Just tear out a small square of napkin (or paper towel) and place inside the lid of your container.  Sprinkle it with just a little water – enough to make it the consistency of a damp sponge.  Take your seed of choice and sprinkle however many seeds as you want to have plants, plus about one-quarter more (i.e., if you want 4 plants in the end, start with 5 seeds).  Put the top on the container, place it in a warm spot (light is not really necessary), and wait.  Check it daily, as some seeds will sprout very quickly.  Once you see that little tail poke out from the seed, it’s time to plant it in your soil.  Be very careful, and don’t wait too long, as these newly sprouted seeds are very delicate.

Sprouted Seed


While you are waiting for your seeds to sprout, you can get your soil ready.

TIP 6: Use sterile soil.  For seeds that are just starting out, you want sterile soil that is not too nutrient-dense.  The young seedlings don’t need a lot of soil nutrients when they are just starting out, and too much of certain nutrients can even “burn” the young plants.  Sterile soil is important to avoid any soil-born pathogens.  How does one get sterile soil?

Soil Option 1 (Easier):  Purchase a sterile seed-starting mix from your local garden center.

Soil Option 2 (Cheaper): A good money-saving option is to dig up soil from your yard or garden or even use old potting soil from pots that are no longer being used.  If you use soil that has been hanging out outside, it is a good idea to sterilize it.  Make sure the soil is relatively free of clumps and debris.  Put soil in trays in the oven at 200 degrees until the soil has been fully heated through.  This is a trick I got from my grandma who has been a gardening powerhouse for ohhh about 70 years now, so I think it’s a good one!

Sterile Soil

Once your soil is sterile and sifted, moisten it in a bucket until it is like a damp sponge, and then use it to fill your containers.  What containers are those?  On to the next section!


Just about anything can be a seed-starting container!  I have about 1000 of the little plastic plant cell-packs (pictured throughout), so I generally just use them these days, but if you don’t have them, don’t go out and buy them.

TIP 7:  Use just about any container you have as a seed planter.  You can use yogurt cups, reused paper cups, toilet paper rolls (see demo below!)…  just about anything that can hold dirt!  Just poke some holes in the bottom of whatever it is you are using so that water can drain.  Then be sure to put them in another tray or pan to catch the water that is coming out.

TP Tube Planters

TIP 8:  Don’t forget to label!  If you are like me, you’ll think you’ll remember what you planted, but you won’t.  I like to hold onto those flat, wooden stirrers they often have at coffee shops to use for this purpose.  They are like the adult equivalent of a popsicle stick.

Water (and Air)

TIP 9:  Soil should be like a damp sponge.  As you may have noticed, I am a big fan of the “damp sponge” comparison.  Your soil should generally be moist, but not soaking wet.  Allow it to dry out somewhat between waterings, but not too much, especially when the plants are very young.  The older they get, the more they can handle slightly dryer soil between waterings.  But one major drought for tiny seedlings will be all it takes to inflict permanent damage.

TIP 10:  Make a mini-greenhouse.  If you have a clear plastic dome of any kind (like what lettuce mixes come in or any other plastic clamshell containers), you can use it like a greenhouse.  I find this helpful when plants are just coming up because overhead watering can be tough on young seedlings.

Seed Greenhouse

Once they are up and growing, I prefer to uncover them to allow for more air circulation and prevent mold and disease.  If you are an over-achiever, you can even put a low fan on the young seedlings to promote air circulation and encourage stronger stems.


A very sunny south-facing window can sometimes be enough, but more often than not, it will result in somewhat spindly plants.  Also, spaces next to windows can often be a cold micro-climate in your house; whereas you want to start your seeds in a warm place.

TIP 11:  Thrift your grow lights.  As you may have guessed, I am not the type to run out and buy an elaborate growlight set-up.  My favorite technique is to pick up a couple old desk lamps from the thrift store, preferably the kinds with bendy necks.  Put a CFL bulb in them, and they will function much like the florescent lights in actual grow lights.  If you want to up the amount of light getting to the plants, you can surround the lights and plants with reflective metal or mirrors.  I use old aluminum pie tins or roasting pans, and they work great!

Thrifty Plant Lights

Keep your lights about 2-4 inches above the plants at all times.  Too close, and the plants could burn.  Too far away, and they will get spindly reaching for that light.  You’ll want to keep your lights on them at least 6-8 hours a day, but to be honest, I rarely turn them off because I am too scared I will forget to turn them back on again.  A light timer would be great!  But I haven’t taken that plunge yet.  As far as I can tell, they don’t seem to mind the 24-7 “sun”shine…

If you have them next to a window, it may be best to close the blinds at night, lest your neighbors get ideas about what kind of grow operation you have going on over there.

Wait, Watch, and Enjoy!

Once the seeds are sprouted and hanging out in their soil with regular watering and lots of light, all there is left to do is wait, watch, and enjoy!

TIP 12:  Time your outdoor transition well.  Wait until your leaves have at least 2-3 sets of “true leaves” (this does not include their first leaf-pair which are not really leaves) and until your seed planting calendar says it’s safe to transplant them outside.

Ready to Transplant

Watch to make sure they have enough (but not too much) water and light.  Enjoy how amazing it is that all of this life is coming out of a tiny little seed…  Enjoy nourishing it into a full-grown plant…  Enjoy dreaming about the veggies that it will give you in a couple months!

And along with those dreams, I leave you with these chubby little cuties…

Wong Bok Seedlings

PS Bonus Tip – When it’s time to transplant your precious babies into the great outdoors, don’t just go straight from the warm bosom of the indoors to the great wild with no transition time.  Be sure to “harden off” your seedlings by putting them outside for a few hours at a time in dappled sunlight until they toughen up.  Then plant.  If a late frost is expected, cover them with row cloth or a jar or bottle over night.


As promised, our favorite vendors:

  • SeedSavers – Seed Savers is a non-profit organization whose whole mission is to collect and save seeds from heirloom plant varieties.  They offer organic and non-organic options.  Support their very important work by buying their seeds and find beautiful, unique, new, old varieties!
  • Botanical Interests – We love the varieties available through Botanical Interests.  They have many heirloom and organic varieties, and their seed packets are full of useful information and labeled with beautiful botanical illustrations.
  • Southern Exposure Seed Exchange – Particularly if you are growing in the south, this seed company is an amazing resource!  Seeds also include many heirloom varieties.  Their seed catalog has a wealth of information about growing in our region in general as well as for each plant group and each seed variety.  This is where to go if you want to know how well-suited a variety is to our climate.
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Monthly Planting Guide: February in the Piedmont

As part of our series on Feasting in Times of Winter Scarcity, we thought it would be good to know how much you can actually start planting in the month of February!  Check it out.


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Winter Gardening: A great time for lasagna

For those who garden or want to garden, winter can seem like a stagnant time when one cuddles up inside and dreams about spring.  Yet, there are lots of ways to grow things in winter or to prepare your garden for spring, even now!  Starting a lasagna garden bed is one of those ways…  You can start one at any time of the year, but winter can actually be one of the best times!  This makes it a great topic for our Feasting in Times of Winter Scarcity series.

What is Lasagna Gardening?  

  • Similar to no-till, no-dig, sheet mulching, forest gardening (permaculture)
  • Rather than dig a vegetable bed, you simply layer organic materials over your existing lawn/weeds to kill the grass and decompose into nutrient-rich garden soil.

Why Lasagna Garden?  

  • It’s easy.  No digging and no weeding!  Avoid two of the most laborious and tedious parts of gardening.
  • It uses up waste materials.  You can use your kitchen scraps, yard waste, old cardboard and newspapers…  even pick up waste from local coffee shops or breweries!
  • It’s cheap.  If you take the time to collect various organic waste materials from your kitchen, yard, or around town, you can do this for free!  If you are in a hurry, you can spend a little money on store-bought materials to speed things along.
  • It’s sustainable.  You use up organic waste materials that might have ended up in the landfill, while reducing soil erosion and nutrient loss, and start growing hyper-local food!
  • It’s scalable.  Use whatever you have when you have it and layer as you go!  No need to run out and buy large quantities of organic materials all at once.  Use it on any size bed!

How do I start a Lasagna Garden?  

Join us for a FREE DEMO this Saturday, January 16th at 2 PM as Piedmont Picnic’s co-founder, Elizabeth, acts as a guinea pig for learning about and building an lasagna garden!  Find details HERE.  

LasagnaAdvertNot able to make it this weekend but still want to learn more?  

See our CLASSES page for information on how YOU can host your own Lasagna Gardening Workshop for you and your friends!  

UPDATE:  See how it all turned out here!


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Revolutionizing Sweet Tea

As part of our Cocktails and Mayonnaise series, we decided to explore what a locally-foraged sweet tea could be using an herb called Bee Balm, otherwise known as Wild Bergamot.  Although you can technically grow a tea plant (Camellia sinensis) in North Carolina, they are not exactly widespread and prefer a slightly warmer climate.

Bee Balm, on the other hand, is native all across the United States and can therefore be foraged in meadows, clearings, and farmland across North Carolina (or if you are me – in your neighbor’s front yard!).  If you see it growing in your neighbor’s yard in the next month or so, ask them if they would mind if you gave it a little haircut for them.  It’s probably getting a little leggy by now anyway, and it won’t last past the quickly-approaching first frost anyway!


Wild Bergamot has a revolutionary past…

Bee Balm was collected and used by Native Americans as a seasoning and for its medicinal value.  It began its subversive hay day during the American Revolution.  Due to its common flavor with the ingredient Bergamot found in Earl Grey tea, Wild Bergamot was often used as a tea replacement as colonists began to boycott the tea coming from England.

This fun fact inspired us to see if we could recreate a more modern Southern favorite – sweet tea vodka – using this readily available wild ingredient rather than the imported tea variety.

Making Wild Sweet Tea Vodka

To make Wild Sweet Tea Vodka, you can use either fresh or dried leaves and blossoms from a Bee Balm (Wild Bergamot) plant.

To dry your leaves for later use, a particularly energy-friendly technique during the warmer days of North Carolina summer, is this super simplified “solar dehydrator.”  When I say super-simplified, I mean it:

Lay out your leaves on a metal rack on a tray. Cover this with something breathable that doesn’t let in a lot of light (light is the enemy of flavor for your dried herbs).  I used a paper bag.  Set the tray somewhere hot until the leaves/blossoms are dry and crispy.  My front brick walk works wonders!


To infuse the leaves and blossoms in vodka, you can again make use of the sun.  Think sun tea, but boozy.  Fill a jar with leaves and blossoms (dry or fresh).  Cover them with vodka so that all the plant matter is completely submerged under the liquid.  Set in the warm sun for 1-3 days.  Feel free to taste as you go until you get the desired flavor!  You can do the same thing with water if you prefer the non-alcoholic version.


Once the vodka is infused to your liking, drain the leaves and blossoms from the vodka.  Add enough simple syrup to make it the desired sweetness for sipping or leave unsweetened if you prefer to sweeten later on a per-cocktail basis.  [To make simple syrup, heat equal parts sugar and water until the sugar dissolves.  Allow to cool.]

Enjoy mixed with lemonade (perhaps Wood Sorrel Lemonade?) over ice for an easy cocktail or on its own as a digestif chilled ice-cold with a wedge of lemon.  After all, bee balm was used by Native Americans to aid digestion…

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Preserving the Merriment: Making Herb Syrups

Our last few posts have featured some fabulous herbs – Borage and Wood Sorrel – that are great fresh, but how do we preserve their flavor to enjoy past their season?  A great way to do this is by making a flavored syrup out of them!  Infused herb syrups have so many uses and can bring a fresh, leafy flavor to drinks and dishes all through the winter.  My favorite ways to use herbal syrups:

  • Cocktails – So many cocktails call for simple syrups, so why not switch it up by replacing plain simple syrup with a flavored one?  You can make our Borage G&T all year long by using Borage syrup in place of fresh Borage.
  • Sodas and “Ades” – Mix herb syrups with water in a 1:3 ratio to make sodas by using fizzy water or still water to make “ades” like the Wood Sorrel Lemonade described below and hinted at in our previous post.
  • Desserts – Replace the liquid called for in cakes or muffins with herbal syrups or brush herbal or floral syrup between cake layers after baking to add that extra little something.

Borage Syrup and Wood Sorrel “Lemonade” Concentrate ready to give out to our give-away winners!

Making Syrup

Simply fill a heat safe bowl or pot with herb leaves or flowers.  The more you pack in there, the stronger your final syrup flavor will be.  You can tear or crush/pound them to release more flavor.

Pounded Wood Sorrel

Heat a kettle of water to boiling.  Pour enough of the boiling water over the leaves to cover them completely.  Let steep covered with a lid for at least 20 minutes, but ideally overnight.

Steeping Wood Sorrel

Strain leaves and squeeze out any liquid.  Reheat herbal infusion with an equal part sugar (i.e., 1:1 ratio) until sugar is fully dissolved.  You can also add lemon or lime juice at this stage if you prefer an added tartness.

Herb Syrups

If stored in a sterile jar in the refrigerator at this point, the syrup will keep for a couple of months.

Featured Syrup Idea:  Wood Sorrel Lemonade

As our previous post mentioned, a common yard weed, Wood Sorrel, can make a tasty all-local lemonade substitute!  Use the Wood Sorrel plants as the herb in the above recipe to make Wood Sorrel Syrup.  Mix the syrup with water in a 1:3 ratio and serve over ice for a delicious lemonade drink!

Wood Sorrel Lemonade

Stay tuned for our next post, when we’ll go over how to mix this with our Wild Bergamont infused vodka for a delicious sweet tea vodka and lemonade cocktail!  

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Ireland Lied to Us

I’m gonna blow your mind in two parts, are you ready?

1. The plant the Irish told you was the inspiration for St. Patrick and the representation of the Holy Trinity–and ultimately one of the most recognizable symbols of Ireland–is not actually clover.



2. The truly inspirational plant is one that you’ve been walking over your whole life…and NOT EATING, even though YOU COULD HAVE.

Oh yeah, this stuff!

Oh yeah, this stuff!

This plant, this one right here. You probably have it growing in your yard right now. We’ve seen it our whole lives–growing among the grass at our parents’ house, alongside wildflowers, on the playground in elementary school–and even as curious, daredevil kids we never tried to put it in our mouths.

Until now. Well, a few years ago for one of us, and just a couple months ago for the other, when we started menu testing for the picnic.

Like this, but with leafy greens.

Like this, but with leafy greens.

Basically, this little plant, wood sorrel to finally put a name on it, is kinda awesome. It’s high in vitamin C and it has been used to treat ailments such as scurvy, fever, stomach upset, and to stop bleeding. It’s great raw in salads to add a sour kick, and you can also dry it or steep it like tea to make a pretty close substitute for lemonade, which is what we did at the picnic. Best of all, it grows almost everywhere, so we just had to step outside to pick it and use it!

Pretty neat, huh? Bet you want to know how to make that lemonade yourself, don’t you? Well, you’ll have to wait for the next blog post!

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Growing Merriment (i.e., Borage) in the Garden

Despite how easy it is to grow Borage in the Southeast, not many people think to include in their yard.  I grew Borage this year somewhat by accident, as it was (unbeknownst to me!) in a wildflower seed packet we sprinkled along the side of the yard to attract pollinators (which it did), and then it outgrew just about everything but the sunflowers!  With all of this Borage, I decided to see if more than just the bees could benefit from it, leading to the Borage G&T featured in our last post and at the Cocktails & Mayonnaise Picnic.

Borage Blossom

For us, Borage grew like a weed.  You can grow Borage from seed or, occasionally, you’ll see transplants of it at garden stores among the herbs.  I recommend growing it from seed, as you can get more of it for less money, and it will grow bigger and stronger than from a transplant, which is likely to be spindly and go straight to flower without producing many leaves due to the shock of replanting.

The best times to plant Borage are in the spring after the average last frost (April 5 for the Piedmont) for a summer harvest or in late summer (now!) for a fall harvest before the average first frost (November 5 for the Piedmont).

To plant, dig or rough up the soil of the area you want to plant in a flower/vegetable bed or a pot.  Borage does well in poor, clay soils (good news for North Carolina!), so you don’t even need to add any soil amendments.  Then sprinkle on your Borage seeds and rake them in so that they are buried just slightly under the soil.  Keep them well watered (keeping the soil like a damp sponge) until seedlings emerge.  Once they are up and growing, they shouldn’t need much care.  Mulching around them will help the soil retain water to prevent plants from wilting.

You should see large fuzzy cabbage-like leaves within a few weeks, and then bloom stalks opening into clusters of bright blue star-shaped flowers within about a month.  Pick leaves and flowers as needed.

Young Borage plants.

Young Borage plants.

Borage is an annual, so the same plant won’t come back next year.  BUT, it is also VERY likely it will reseed itself, dropping seeds from its spent flower blossoms to return next year.  I had some of mine reseed itself within the same year, with a fall crop coming up on its own now that the spring crop has died back completely.

Borage reseeded itself even in unfriendly rocky soil.

Borage reseeded itself even in unfriendly rocky soil.

The large black Borage seeds form inside of the spent flower heads. They can be collected or allowed to self-seed.

Seeds saved from this year's Borage harvest.

Seeds saved from this year’s Borage harvest.

Get yours in the ground now to squeeze in a fall crop of Borage!  If you didn’t receive seeds at our Cocktails & Mayonnaise Party, you can purchase a packet here at our Etsy store.  Available in bulk if you are looking for a good “merry-making” party favor!

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