I just moved into a new apartment where the previous owner raved about growing all kinds of vegetables on the terrace. He left his pots behind so I could do the same. Confession: I’ve never grown something edible in my life. Here’s hoping some good gardening karma got left behind too, because this year, I’m determined to grow a container garden of vegetables that will (fingers-crossed) yield the delicious result of fresh salsa. Luckily, all the ingredients needed for salsa are easy to grow – cherry tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers and cilantro.
About a week before you’re ready to plant your salsa garden outside, create a mini indoor greenhouse by filling a few old take-out containers or plastic salad or tomato containers halfway to the top with potting soil and plant your seeds inside. Cover them and wait for the first signs of growth. When your seeds sprout, plant the seedlings outside in pots or a garden following the spacing guidelines on the packets. Once outside, follow these tips to ensure each veggie grows well enough to earn a spot in your salsa (and doesn’t expose your less-than-green thumb).
Any kind of tomato will work as a base for salsa, but for novices cherry tomatoes are the easiest to grow. A large pot that holds 4 to 6 gallons of soil is best. The only other thing you’ll need is a simple bamboo stick or a tomato coil so as your seedling grows taller it will have something to lean on.
You’ll need to keep your onions well-watered, and in the middle of summer you should see the bulbs start to form. Watch a video to learn how to harvest onions when the tops have fallen over.
Your pot of peppers should be kept moist, but never so watered that the plant is drowning. Once the peppers reach full size you can pick them and start cooking. However, the longer you let them ripen on the plant the sweeter they’ll be. If your pepper plant makes it through the summer bring it inside to keep it alive during the winter.
In general, herbs are a lazy gardener’s dream because they’re easy to grow. Choose a pot or patch 18-inches wide and keep it in full sun, or light shade on the hottest days. Once your herb gets growing you can cut the leaves weekly for your salsa.