Apr 22, 2018
Wouldn’t it be great to step outside and have everything you need to make fresh, delicious salsa? It’s incredibly satisfying and surprisingly easy to grow your own organic fruits and vegetables—in containers! The great thing about container gardening is that you only need a sunny spot to get started—a tiny patio or balcony will do! And when you’re growing your own organic produce, you’ll enjoy delicious flavor with no nasty pesticides.
Follow our step-by-step guide and you’ll be making fresh salsa with your own tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro in no time!
First, choose the right spot
You’ll want to place your containers in a spot that gets lots of sunshine during the day—the more the better (ideally at least 6 hours)! If your home faces south, it could be your front porch; if it faces north, the back patio could be the best place.
Next, pick your containers
To thrive, your plants will need containers deep enough to allow their roots space to spread out. Generally, each tomato, pepper, and cilantro plant will need its own 5-gallon bucket, while you can fit about 3 onions plants in a single 5 gallon bucket.
Whether you choose a fancy pot or a simple bucket, your containers should have drainage holes in the bottom so excess water can run freely from the soil. You’ll want to avoid wood containers though—many of them are treated with chemicals you don’t want leaching into your vegetables.
As your tomatoes and peppers grow, they’ll need a support system—literally. Wire tomato cages are easily found and inexpensive, and will fit easily into a 5-gallon container, and wooden stakes work well for peppers.
Then, select your soil
An organic salsa garden should start with organic potting soil created for containers. You can find it at garden centers. Potting mixes usually come in bags measured by quarts or cubic feet. A 5-gallon bucket container will need about 20 quarts of potting mix or about .5 cubic feet—use this chart to help figure the amount your containers will require, or calculate your container’s soil needs here.
Next, start seeds indoors (or buy plants)
You can purchase young organic seedlings or plants online or at garden centers—they’re ready to be popped into your containers and nurtured into mature, fruit and vegetable-bearing plants (tomatoes are fruit after all).
Another option is growing your plants from seeds. Although the growing process will take longer, it’s easy and fun to do. A seed-starting kit makes it easy—just plant the seeds in small peat pods, and when they’ve sprouted, plant the entire pod right in your container. You can find organic seeds at garden centers or order them online.
Whether you choose seedlings or seeds, follow the directions that come with the type of plant you’ve chosen—their packaging will tell you important info like how far apart they need to be planted, how deep, how much water they require, how much sun, and how long it takes for them to germinate. You’ll also want to choose seeds and plants suitable for your hardiness zone, otherwise they won’t thrive. To find yours, visit this site and search by zip code.
Now it's time to start planting!
- Prep your containers by filling them with your potting mix. Wet the mix thoroughly and leave your containers a few hours to allow extra water to drain away.
- Add your seedlings or plants. Whether you’ve used a starter kit or are starting with young plants, plant them in your containers, spacing them as indicated on the seed packet or plant’s instructions. Take care not to damage your seedling’s roots when transplanting them into your container.
- Follow your plant’s instructions, ensuring they get plenty of water and sunlight.
Finally, harvest—and make some salsa!
Before you know it, all your hard work will have paid off—you’ll have beautiful, organic tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cilantro to harvest! And that means it’s time to make fresh salsa from your very own produce and herbs! Use our famous Pico de Gallo recipe and whip up enough to share with friends—they’ll love you for it!