Full growing instructions given on packet. Sow seeds in a row of fertile, well-drained soil 13mm (½") deep in a lightly-shaded, sheltered site. The cool environment and lack of bright light encourages soft, tender leaves especially when the resulting seedlings are spaced 20cm (8") apart. The key to borage is warmth then cold! Keep the plants well watered with a dilute nitrogen-rich fertiliser such as nettle liquid once a week and in around 8 weeks time you will have lush leafy plants with long, strappy, almost fuzz-free leaves. Harvest the plant before it flowers by slicing the whole plant down to the ground. If you are keen on harvesting the flowers too then plant one or two plants in a sunnier site or simply avoid harvesting one of your regular plants until a flower stalk erupts from the centre. Sowing: August-September. Cropping: 8 weeks.
EATING: With a clean, cucumber-melon flavour, the tender young stems and leaves of borage are a fantastic addition to salads, creamy dips and a fun twist on raita. Try them stirred into leek and potato soup, served cold as Vichyssoise, sautéed with peas and bacon or popped into crustless sandwiches instead of cucumber for high tea. The key to all these recipes is to lightly blanch the leaves first in a pot of simmering salted water for a minute or two, or by chopping them up extremely finely to break down any tiny hairs that may be left on the leaves.
The stunning blue, star-shaped flowers make a beautiful garnish on all of the above dishes, having a very similar flavour to the cucamelon. However, being so thin and light you would have to add several bowlfuls of them to make a significant contribution other than just a bit of botanical decoration. Try them frozen into the centre of ice cubes for summer cocktails or crystallised as a cake decoration.