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The Hotter Side of Gardening

Most people picture the average gardener as some sweet septuagenarian working in her garden while speaking nicely to herself – or possibly her cat. And while gardening is a great hobby for anyone – it’s low impact, uses a variety of muscle groups, and it’s generally low stress. However, there’s another side to gardening as well – and this side is going to spice things up. This garden isn’t your average flower bed. Today we are going to talk about making a hot and spicy salsa garden!

Salsa is a highly underrated and underappreciated condiment. Most people know they can put salsa on Tex-Mex dishes like enchiladas and tacos. But they don’t realize that salsa is a great way to spice up their bland morning eggs. Grill masters don’t realize that salsa adds another layer of flavor to an already-delicious burger. Or for a carb-conscious – yet delicious – meal, try putting salsa on a cooked chicken breast and taste the flavor come to life.

That being said, not all salsas are equal. There are hundreds of different brands, strengths, and flavors available at the grocery store. However, the best of these is not found in a store – it’s the homemade salsa. And the best homemade salsa is not only homemade – but it’s home grown. The taste of a crisp, fresh salsa made with ingredients grown in your own back yard is something that cannot be beat.

There are, of course, a plethora of recipes out there. Many of them are based on the same basic recipe. Here is a list of some of the vegetables you will need in your garden.

First, make sure to find tomatoes to use as the base. There is a great deal of different kinds out there. Find plump, ripe tomatoes to start the salsa. I recommend using the starters that most nurseries sell. Just transplant them according to the instructions and be prepared to stake them – that is, to tie them to a supporting stick. Otherwise the tomatoes are too heavy for the plant and they pull it over.

Second, plant your garlic and onion. These must be grown in loose soil, so if you live in an area with clay or a similar condition, make sure to buy some appropriate planting soil at the nursery.

Third, all good salsa needs some chili peppers. Peppers are generally easy to grow – especially when purchasing the starters from a nursery. If you plant several kinds, you can mix and match them when it comes time to make your fresh salsa. Also, don’t just limit yourself to hot peppers, even the mild ones can add a great taste and texture to your final salsa product.

Those are the basic ingredients of any salsa. If you mix those together, you will have a nice bland salsa. So if you are the great gardener everyone says you are – where is that herb garden. A compliment of dill, parsley, cilantro, cumin, and other spices can add another dimension to your salsa. In addition, if you pick these fresh, they make your salsa more fresh and more flavorful.

So, grab your shovel and trowel and set to work as the great gardener. When your neighbor comes by, let him know you are planting salsa. And when harvest comes, he can come and enjoy the fresh, robust salsa that you’ve been working on all summer!

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