More and more people are growing their own food at home, due to concerns over food safety and freshness. Plus, growing vegetable crops is a fun and valuable skill to learn! However, growing vegetable crops can also be overwhelming for the beginner. What if you invest time and energy into a crop that doesn’t produce well? Or, what if you grow one crop, like cucumbers, and you get tired of the abundance by summer’s end?

Growing a salsa garden is a good solution to those problems. The necessary crops are relatively easy to grow, and you can put away jars of salsa to be used throughout the year. You can also use the ingredients in other dishes, so you’re less likely to get tired of them.

What to plant in your salsa garden. These plants are easy to grow, but don’t feel like you must grow them all yourself. You could pick up a little garlic at the store, for example, or you and a neighbor could split responsibilities.

• Tomatoes
• Peppers – jalapeno, habanero, sweet, or other varieties depending upon your preferences
• Herbs, such as cilantro
• Onions
• Garlic
• Anything else you like in salsa – feel free to experiment!

These crops can be planted in the spring, but look at their maturity times. Tomatoes, for example, take about sixty days to begin producing. Cilantro is a fast-maturing crop, so you might want to start new seedlings every few weeks to ensure a continuous supply all summer.

Here in Southern California, we should plant some crops (like garlic) in cooler months. The crop is ready to use in the early summer months but you can dry and save it for later. When stored correctly, garlic stays fresh for months. You might wish to do this if space is limited.

Where to grow your salsa garden. Speaking of limited space, the great thing about all the above crops is that you can grow them in smaller spaces. You can opt for a traditional backyard garden, either in a raised bed or barrel, if you have a sunny spot available. However, you can grow an entire salsa garden in pots, on a balcony or patio if you wish.

As always, stop by our nursery if you have any questions about growing tomatoes, peppers, and the other plants listed above. We can help you choose plants that fit your needs, and offer expert advice to keep them healthy and productive.

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