If you're out to impress guests with something new, set up your own salsa station. Then slice, dice and blend your favorite salsa with garden-grown ingredients right before their eyes.
It only takes limited space for home-grown salsa. Just one big container in a sunny spot on the patio can grow all you need to stir up bountiful bowls of fresh salsa.
Here are the basic salsa ingredients to grow in the yard or on the patio:
• Tomato - Early Girl is a good choice for its size. Roma and other smaller tomatoes also work well.
• Tomatillo - this plant grows wild in Mexico and is a favorite among southwestern gardeners and cooks. The pod covering the fruit looks like a paper lantern.
• Jalapeno - or another pepper with a fire alarm factor suited to your taste buds.
• Green onion - its small size makes it good for containers
• Cilantro - used for salsa and other southwestern dishes
• Garlic and parsley are other salsa options if they're not already planted in your herb garden.
• Locate salsa garden containers where there is plenty of sun, especially if your salsa garden is on a patio or balcony.
• Check soil moisture regularly as containers generally dry out more quickly than plants in soil.
• Use drip irrigation as a user-friendly watering solution if you are away for days at a time or just want more convenience.
• To start a self-contained system, use the Earth Box like the one shown in the photo. It comes with soil and fertilizer, optional trellis, and contains a water reservoir that only needs to be re-filled about once a week depending on exposure.
• Some growing areas are shaded heavily during the day and require moving pots to get adequate sun. For convenience, look for containers like the Earth Box that is on rollers and can be moved easily throughout the day, if needed.
Specialty gardens are among the most popular trends this season. Whether you have little time or a small space, these gardens are a good excuse to be outdoors growing a group of plants for a specific purpose. Herb gardens, tea gardens, pasta gardens (for the sauce, not the spaghetti!), cocktail gardens as well as salsa gardens. Provide all or most of the ingredients for a fun and flavorful outcome.
Gardening is one of the most therapeutic activities you can do. Did you know that gardening is proven to be great therapy for recovering stroke victims? And container gardens on patios give seniors who have left their homes and yards behind the means to keep their green thumbs active on a balcony or patio outside their apartments.
Need help pulling together the right ingredients for your specialty garden? Find a Pro from among ALCC's members in six chapters statewide.
Courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company based in Silverthorne that is a member. You may contact them at (970) 468-0340.