Growing a Salsa Garden

Darin Engh from Engh Gardens shows us how to set one up.

In one large container or two smaller ones, you can grow all you need to make your favorite salsa recipe. To enhance the Mexican theme, you may wish to use terra-cotta pots. Starting early in spring, and continuing throughout the growing season, plant cilantro in you container. Harvest the leaves when they are young and tender, then pull our plants when they get too gangly of start to go to seed. About every three weeks, tuck in a few replacement plants to keep a fresh supply going all through summer into fall. For the tomato, choose any nice red one with medium-size fruit. A small hot pepper gives you the fire; the traditional pepper is of course jalapeno, but other, smaller varieties may work better in you limited space. To represent the onion taste, plant one or two clumps of chives near the edge of your container. Most salsa recipes call for fresh chopped onion, and certainly you may add that as well, but the onions will have to come from the grocery store because growing bulb onions is not practical in containers. If you like fresh garlic in your salsa, you can grow it in one of two forms: garlic chives, which give you a hint of onion and garlic together, or green garlic, which adds a nice contrasting touch of green when chopped into the mix.

Spice Up Your Life with Bold Mexican Herbs

With a steady supply of tomatoes and tomatillos, along with the tang of cilantro and the punch of peppers, you’ll be set.

Plants for a Mexican Garden:

1- Banana Pepper

2- Garlic

3- Cilantro

4- Sweet Basil

5- Flat-leaf Parsley

6- Jalapeno Pepper

7- Onion

8- Oregano

9- Tomato

10- Spearmint

Jalapenos are just the start for the pepper-heads among us; add a habanero, serano, or other sweat-popping pepper, and keep the less daring happy by including a milder banana or Anaheim pepper.

Salsa Fresca

2 ½ cups diced tomatoes

1 small red onion, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped

2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and chopped

1 anaheim chile, seeded and chopped

½ teaspoon freshly ground cumin leaves

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand for a few hours to allow flavors to blend.

For more information on growing your own salsa garden, visit Engh Gardens in Sandy or online at

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