If you love homemade salsa as much as I do, setting up a salsa garden might just be perfect for you this year. A salsa garden is very easy to get started by using plants for a purchased from garden supply stores.
A salsa garden requires little maintenance, aside from pulling weeds and occasional watering during dry spells. Try to keep your plants to a minimum and your garden area only big enough for the plants. It will save you lots of hassle and time if you plan carefully, based on the amount of time you have to dedicate to the garden on a daily or weekly basis.
Planning Your Salsa Garden
After the threat of frost is gone (usually in late April or May), start digging up your garden area where your salsa garden will be. The first year we had someone professionally till it, and it resulted in very rich soil that needs to be tilled only once every few years. I highly recommend hiring someone who can do this, because it makes the plants for a salsa garden grow much better. If using a tiller is not possible, many garden supply stores or hardware stores sell smaller hand-tillers that can be used in small areas.
The next step to creating a salsa lover’s garden is to decide what you are going to plant.
Plants for a Salsa Garden
Ask yourself this – what type of ingredients are going to go in your salsa? Once you have a favorite salsa recipe, you’ll need the plants to go along with it that will be planted in your salsa garden.
Here’s a few ideas for plants in a salsa garden:
– Green Bell Peppers
– Red Chili Peppers
You could also add some spices to your salsa garden to use your tomatoes for other recipes such as basil, oregano, and parsley. Do not get overwhelmed though, start out small if need be. Herbs can also be planted inside if you are short on garden space.
It really doesn’t matter what type of plants for a salsa garden you use, as long as you know it’s what you need for your salsa garden. There are several different types of jalapenos and hot peppers, so pick what you think is best. We usually have different types of jalapenos every year that use as plants for our salsa garden.
Using Plants for a Salsa Garden
While everything should be ripe around the same time and allow you to use everything at once, this won’t always be the case. Tomatoes can be used as an ingredient in many recipes, or just on sandwiches (For example, BLTs, cold deli sandwhices, etc). Tomatoes are easy to use if you are still waiting on the peppers to ripen. Peppers, on the other hand, can be a different story.
If you don’t have any meals planned where you can use your peppers right away, simply freeze them. Instead of just throwing them in a bag, be sure to slice your peppers first and lay them on a cookie sheet to freeze. This way they won’t stick together, and you can use small amounts in recipes at a time.
Chili Peppers can also be frozen, but I prefer to dry them. Put them in a place where they won’t be laying on their side, and hang them to dry. Mine have sat in the spice cubbard for several years and were still good.
A salsa garden is not hard, and salsa is always better with fresh, home grown ingredients. Enjoy!