Fresh salsa is so tasty on grilled chicken tacos, your favorite grilled fish, or added to grilled steak fajitas. And, whether you’ve got little gardening experience, or are an experienced Green-Thumb, a salsa garden can make a great addition to any backyard. It doesn’t take a lot to get started. With just three easy steps, you’ll be on your way to fresh homemade salsa, truly made from scratch.
3 Steps to Growing a Salsa Garden
to compliment grilled chicken, fish, or steak
Choose Your Salsa Elements.
There are some key elements to salsa that you will want to plant in your garden.
- Corn, fresh or grilled
- And, add a twist with nectarines or peaches
Unfortunately, not all of the above elements ripen in the garden at the same time, but tomatoes and peppers will thrive during Sacramento's hot summer months. Many of the other ingredients prefer cooler weather, so simply supplement with store bought produce when not available at your local garden center.
If there is a recipe that you enjoy, then model the salsa garden on that based on that. If there isn't a recipe in mind, you can choose tomatoes, peppers, and herbs based on what is popular in your home. Feeling adventurous? Divide garden space between favorites and other varieties that you would like to try. When the harvest comes in, enjoy classic favorites or invent new salsa recipes that can be enjoyed year after year.
Tomatoes and peppers take between two-to-three months to produce fruit, but this will depend on the variety you choose to plant.
If you're looking for some inspiration, here are some of the most popular varieties:
Better Boy, Roma, Early Girl, Cherry, & Beefsteak are very popular for salsa making.
Mild: Bermuda, Poblano
Medium: Jalapeno, Fresno
Hot: Serrano, Tabasco, Cayenne
Since the peppers come in different heat levels those are some favorites at each tier. If you find that your salsa is too hot, remove the seeds. This will remove some of the capsaicin, the part of the fruit which is most attributed to heat.
Choose Your Location
A big part of any gardening is putting the plant in a place where it will be able to thrive. Salsa veggies need full sun, so it's important to plant them in a place where they get that. Herbs, including the ones you find in salsa, only require around four hours of sun each day. You'll want to find a spot that will provide your herbs with some daily afternoon shade. Fruit trees require full sun and well-drained soil.
All of the vegetable and herb elements of a salsa garden can grow well in containers, if you remember three key things:
- Use a large pot, giving plants room to grow
- Remember to fertilize regularly, to keep plants nourished
- Plant in well-draining soil to prevent root rot
- If growing fruit trees, ultra dwarf, or pole fruit varieties do well in large pots
Plant and Maintain
With the ideal spot and the perfect medley of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs you'll have the ability to make fresh salsa whenever you want. Food grown at home tastes much better than what is available in stores, not to mention it’s far more cost-effective. All that's needed is a little maintenance and with the following tips, it will be a piece of cake!
- Add organic fertilizer to soil. Organic fertilizer will give plants the nutrients they need without burning them in the hot summer heat.
- Pick and pinch your herbs regularly. The more herbs are picked or pinched, the more they will grow. It's also important to keep it from flowering; because once it flowers the herb will turn bitter.
- Deep and infrequent waterings preferred. Instead of watering everyday, try a deep and infrequent watering schedule. This means letting a slow trickle of water seep in over a long period of time. This allows the water to permeate the soil and encourages root growth.
- Convert to Drip. Drip is the easiest way to do deep infrequent waterings.