This entry is a copy from a KNOL I wrote found at Google. Google will be discontinuing the KNOL's platform and I am in the process of storing them on my blog. Please enjoy the article. I have about 50 coming over to this blog.
A video on making salsa. Anyone who can dig a hole can grow a salsa garden. Imagine picking fresh wholesome organic vegetables and herbs that you grew from seeds and transplants. Now imagine turning them into the world's best homemade salsa. Can you taste it! Growing a salsa garden brings family and friends together. It is a wonderful way to beat stress and tap your creativity on so many levels. Let's grow, it is time to get your hands dirty.
What is Salsa?Let's keep it simple. Salsa is a type of sauce originating from Mexico. The basic ingredients include: tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, cilantro and other herbs, fruits, and finally onions or garlic. Many of the items you use to make salsa can be seen above. You can grow what you like and make it how you wish. It can be cooked and chilled or just chopped, blended and served straight from the garden. Salsa is packed with flavor and it's low in calories and fat. So eat all you want but keep an eye on those tortilla chips.
Step One: What Kind of Salsa Do You Like?
- Do you like tomatoes?
- Do you like hot, mild or sweet peppers?
- Do you like the tartness of a tomatillo?
- Do you like cilantro?
- Do you like basil?
- Do you like onions, garlic and chives?
- Do you like fruit chunks in it?
- Do you want it to be colorful as in yellow, orange, purple or red tomatoes?
- Do you want the peppers to come in green, yellow, red, orange or purple colors?
Step Two: Where Will You Plant Your Salsa Garden?
Step Three: What Will You Grow in Your Salsa Garden?
Pick the Plants:
- Red Tomato
- Yellow Tomato
- Jalapeno Pepper
- Sweet Banana Pepper
- Large Leaf Italian Basil
Step Four: Digging and Turning the Garden
Measure the Plot:
Remove the Grass:
Loosen the Soil:
Step Five: Preparing the Garden Soil
This is the easiest part. It is also the part where people start saying things like soil test, alkalinity, clay soil, compost and lots of other garden terms. Forget them. All you need to know is the garden will grow if you prepare a decent garden that gets at least 6 full hours of direct sunlight.
Buy Garden Soil:
You have already dug the garden. Now you need to go to your local home improvement center and buy at least 4 bags of garden soil. Do not buy TOP SOIL , buy GARDEN SOIL. It will say it right on the bag. Buy what every kind of garden soil you want. It doesn't matter. You can buy moisture control, with or without fertilizer, name brand or whatever. Just remember you are preparing the garden soil by buying garden soil. The bags should say 1 cubic foot on them. You can buy more than four bags if you wish. The more the merrier.
You will also need to buy some fertilizer. You can ask for a box of tomato fertilizer. You do not need the big 40 lb bag of fertilizer. It's the size of a box of instant mash potatoes. That is all you will need for a 4 ft. x 4 ft. salsa garden.
Spread the Fertilizer:
Now that you have your supplies, it's time to finish preparing your garden. Take 3 or 4 handfuls of the fertilizer and spread it directly over your freshly turned garden before you put down the garden soil you just purchased.
Dump the Garden Soil:
Now simply toss the bags of garden soil onto your garden in an even row. Open the bags and dump the bags out. Keep about 1/4 of a bag of the garden soil for starting seeds. We will discuss seedlings in another step. Roughly rake the soil across the garden.
After you have dumped the bags out, take another 3 or 4 handfuls of fertilizer and spread it evenly over the garden. You'll have to turn the garden over one more time to mix the new garden soil with the standard earth.
Rake, Break and Mound:
If the soil is clumpy you should break up the clumps. A clump is measured as the size of a meatball or larger. Anything smaller, don't worry about it. Finally, use a rake to mound the garden. Rake the edges of the garden towards the middle of the garden. The middle should be about 6-10 inches higher than the edges of the garden. If mounding is too hard, well just rake it flat. Your salsa garden is now ready to be planted.
Step Six: Purchasing Plants and Seeds
Tomatoes, Peppers and Tomatillos:
Step Seven: Starting Seeds Indoors
Six to Eight Weeks:
Planting Tomatoes, Peppers and Tomatillos Seeds Indoors:
Planting Herb Seeds Indoors:
Cilantro: Plant 1 or 2 cups of cilantro indoors. Put 5 to 10 seeds in each cup and cover with about 1/2 an inch of soil. Just let them grow. You will not thin these plants.Basil: Plant them just like cilantro.Chives: Plant 1 or 2 cups of chives indoors. Put 10 to 15 seeds in each cup and cover with about 1/2 an inch of soil. Just let them grow. You will not thin these plants.Oregano: Plant 1 or 2 cups of oregano indoors. Put 20 to 30 seeds in a cup and cover them with about 1/4 inch of soil. Just let them grow. You will not thin these plants.Thyme: Plant them just like oregano.Onions: Onion seeds or bulb sets should be sown directly in the garden.Garlic: Garlic should be sown directly in the garden.
Watering Your Seedlings:
Where to Set Your Cups:
Step Eight: Planting Your Salsa Garden
When to Plant:
Hardening Off Your Transplants:
First day in the real world:Put them on the shady side of the house where the will get a little early MORNING sun for about 2 hours. Let them sit in the shade for an additional 4-6 hours. You do not need to be exact. You just want them to get early morning sun. Morning sun isn't as strong or damaging as afternoon sun.Second day in the real world:Put them outside where the will get 2-3 hours of morning sun and then move them to shade for the rest of the day. Don't forget to bring them in at night.Third day in the real world:Put them outside to get a full day's morning sun 4-5 hours and move them to shade around lunch time. Don't forget to bring them in at night.
How to Plant:
Location:Tomatoes and tomatillos will grow the tallest. If the sun spends most of the time on the left side of your garden then you will plant the tomatoes and tomatillos on the far right side of your garden. The tallest plants stay on the opposite side of the garden, from the sun, so the don't block the sunlight from shorter plants.Peppers are the second tallest group of plants. They should be planted on the left side of the tomatoes using the example where the sun spends most of the time on the left side of your garden.The rest of the plants can be planted as seeds or transplants to the left of the peppers. You can follow the directions on the seed packs for help. You really can't mess up planting herbs, onions and garlic. You just want to make sure the tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers don't grow to block the sun from them.Spacing:Tomatoes and tomatillos need about 2 feet between plants. You can plant two plants per row in a 4 foot garden. Peppers need about 1 1/2 feet between plants. You can plant 2 -3 peppers per row in a 4 foot garden. Don't worry about being exact, 6 inches either way is fine.Bulbs need about 2-3 inches between each bulb and seeds will have the directions right on the seed package.Cilantro and basil plantings can be 6 inches apart. Remember, like the cup planting you used indoors, drop 5 or 10 seeds per planting. Put a hand print in the ground. Drop 5 to 10 seeds into your hand print. Space the hand prints 6 inches apart. Cover with a 1/4 inch of soil.Oregano, chives, and thyme are perennials. They will come back year after year. They need to be planted with 12 inches between each plant.Depth:If you are planting seeds, just follow the seed pack directions. If you are planting bulbs, the depth is about 1 1/2 -2 inches or the length of you index finger will work. Poke you finger into the garden soil and drop the bulb in, root side down, and cover. Remember to space the bulbs about 2-3 inches apart. The bulb will still grow fine even if you plant it upside down.Tomatoes are vigorous vines that will sprout roots off the stem. Plant the tomato plant to 1/2 the size of the plant below the ground. If your transplant is 6 inches tall then plant the bottom 3 inches of the plant below the ground and leave 3 inches above the ground. Most transplants are 12 inches or taller. In this case, plant the bottom 6 inches of the tomato plant below the ground and leave 6 inches above the ground. Do the same thing for tomatillos. You can even go as far as planting 2/3 of the plant below ground.Peppers are almost planted the same as tomatoes. For peppers, plant 1/4 of the plants total size below the ground. That would leave 3/4 of the plant above the ground. Pepper transplants are typical 8 inches tall. Plant the bottom 2 inches of the transplant below the ground and leave 6 inches above the ground.Herbs are very hard to kill. Plant them to the same depth as to how the transplant looks in the cup or container. That is, look at your plant that is in the cup. Keep what ever is above the soil in your cup, above the ground and what ever is below the soil in your cup, below the ground.