Salsa Garden

If you love salsa, nothing could be better than salsa made from the freshest ingredients by the work of your own hands. Here is a plan that will allow you to make authentic Mexican salsa, salsa verde, pico de gallo, and strawberry salsa! Never heard of strawberry salsa? Check out a recipe here.

SalsaGarden

Onions

onions
  • Consider growing white, red, and yellow onions, scallions, and Egyptian walking onions for a variety of salsa uses.
  • Start seeds 1/4″ deep indoors 12 weeks before last frost.
  • Transplant plants into garden a month before last frost. If planting sets, plant them 1″ deep.
  • Spacing: nine plants per sq. ft., or plant more densely, and then, thin and eat small onions.
  • Days to harvest: 100 to 120. Frost-hardy.
  • Hint: Onions will not tolerate weeds and require consistent moisture.

Cucumber

cucumbers
  • Good to have on hand for cucumber salsa
  • Plant seeds indoors 1/2″ deep three weeks before last frost, or seed in garden after frost.
  • Transplant into garden after frost and when soil is 65 to 70 degrees F.
  • Spacing: one per sq. ft. for bush type; two per sq. ft. for vining type
  • Extend harvest with a second crop, planted two weeks later.
  • Days to harvest: 50 to 60 after transplanting. Not frost-hardy.
  • Hint: Use row covers until flowering to keep off insects.

Mint

Mint
  • Used in roasted tomato-mint salsa
  • Plant one purchased plant in moist soil by partially burying it while still in its pot. Mint is notorious for spreading aggressively, and this will keep it in its place.
  • Spacing: one per sq. ft.
  • Harvest as a cut-and-come-again plant, or harvest the whole plant two or three times within a growing season by cutting the stem one inch from the ground.
  • Storage tip: For drying, cut the leaves right before flowering, and store the dried leaves in an airtight container.

Tomatoes

tomatoes
  • Choose meaty varieties.
  • Plant seeds 1/4″ deep indoors, six to eight weeks before last frost.
  • Transplant into garden one to two weeks after last frost or when soil reaches 65 degrees F.
  • Spacing: one plant per sq. ft. if grown on trellis. (Four squares required if grown with cage, nine if grown with no support). May grow early season crops nearby to allow more room later.
  • Days to harvest: 55 to 100 from transplanting, depending on variety. Not frost-hardy.
  • Hint: Remove lower leaves before planting, and bury extra stem.

Hot Peppers

chilli_peppers
  • Consider serrano, jalapeño, arbol, and chipotle varieties. If you prefer less heat, go with Anaheim.
  • Start seeds indoors 1/4″ deep 10 to 12 weeks before last frost.
  • Transplant into garden three weeks after last frost or when soil reaches 70 degrees F.
  • Fruits are edible from early green to full-color maturity. Heat increases with maturity.
  • Spacing: one plant per sq. ft.
  • Days to harvest: 50 to 65 green, 80 to 85 to full color. Not frost-hardy.
  • Hint: Do not fertilize peppers. Water sparingly.

Garlic

garlic
  • Plant cloves in fall, six weeks before ground freezes, 2″ deep, pointy end up.
  • Spacing: four per sq. ft.
  • Days to harvest: nine months
  • Hint: Keep soil evenly moist all summer, 1″ water per week. Mulch several weeks after planting to retain moisture and insulate against extreme cold.

Tomatillos

tomatillos
  • Plant seeds 1/4″ deep indoors four to five weeks before last frost.
  • Transplant one to two weeks after last frost or when soil reaches 65 degrees F.
  • Spacing: one plant per sq. ft. At least two plants are needed for fertilization.
  • Install cages at planting time for support.
  • Days to harvest: 60 to 70 from transplant. Not frost-hardy.
  • Hint: Fruits are ripe when husk opens.

Scallions

scallions
  • Perfect in guacamole or scallion salsa verde
  • Start seeds 1/4″ deep indoors six weeks before last frost; plant 5-10 seeds per cell.
  • Transplant plants into garden two to three weeks before last frost. If planting sets, plant them 1″ deep.
  • Spacing: 16 plants per sq. ft.
  • Days to harvest: 60, pencil-sized or larger. Frost-hardy.
  • Hint: Flavor gets hotter as scallions mature. Plants require consistent moisture.

Parsley

parsley
  • Here is Debbie Doo’s best homemade salsa with parsley.
  • Start seeds 1/4″ deep indoors 10 to 12 weeks before last frost.
  • Transplant seedlings into garden up to a month before last frost.
  • Spacing: two plants per sq. ft.
  • Edible all summer and into winter.
  • Biennial: plants will go to seed second year.
  • Days to harvest: 75. Begin harvesting foliage at any time. Very frost-hardy.
  • Hint: Parsley takes up to 21 days to germinate. Treat seeds with hot water before planting.

Sweet Peppers

peppers
  • Sweet pepper salsa, yum! Citrus salsa sounds amazing too.
  • Start seeds indoors 1/4″ deep 10 to 12 weeks before last frost.
  • Transplant into garden three weeks after last frost or when soil reaches 70 degrees F.
  • Fruits are edible from early green to full-color maturity.
  • Spacing: one plant per sq. ft.
  • Days to harvest: 50 to 65 green, 80 to 85 to full color. Not frost-hardy.
  • Hint: Do not fertilize peppers. Water sparingly.

Cilantro

cilantro
  • Sow seeds directly in the garden around last frost date. Plant 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep. Cilantro goes to seed quickly, so plant more seeds every three weeks to ensure a constant supply.
  • Spacing: Sow 18 seeds per sq. ft.; thin to nine plants per sq. ft.
  • Days to harvest: 50 for leaves, 90 for seed harvest.
  • Hint: Do not fertilize. Harvest individual stems, or cut back entire plant with scissors, leaving 1″ at base to regrow.

Oregano

oregano
  • For use with grilled chicken or steak: roasted tomato and oregano salsa
  • Purchase potted plant as seed-grown plants may not have good flavor. Hardy perennial.
  • Spacing: one plant per sq. ft.
  • Days to harvest: Leaves from first-year plants can be picked sparingly by midsummer.
  • Hint: Plants with white flowers have best-tasting leaves. Cull plants that revert to pink flowers.

Basil

basil
  • Along with other tasty recipes, plant this for use in the citrus salsa referenced above.
  • Plant seeds 1/4″ deep indoors six weeks before last frost, outdoors two weeks after last frost.
  • Transplant seedlings two to three weeks after last frost or when soil reaches 70 degrees F.
  • Replant if you have space and want more.
  • Spacing: two plants per sq. ft.
  • Days to harvest: 40-55 from transplant. Harvest leaves as desired. Not frost-hardy.
  • Hint: Pinch stems early and often to stimulate branching and bushy growth.

Strawberries

strawberries
  • If you can spare any from snacking fresh in the garden, here is another delectable-looking recipe to try.
  • Plant in very early spring as soon as the ground can be worked.
  • Space plants 12″ apart. Position carefully, keeping the crown of the plant even with the soil surface.
  • Everbearing cultivars will bear a more abundant crop if all flowers are removed until the end of June.
  • Provide 1″ of water per week. Keep soil mulched to retain moisture and protect fruit from rot.