Hey, garden friends! It’s Cinco de Mayo, which happens every year on, of course, May 5th. On this date, in 1862, the Mexican army declared victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican war. Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday in Mexico, really only celebrated in Puebla, but in North America, it’s a big deal. Especially in the United States, where the fifth of May has morphed into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage!
Cinco de Mayo is typically marked with parades, festive parties, music and dancing, and delicious food! What’s not to love about Mexican food? Hands down, Mexican cuisine is my favorite. It’s so full of flavor and versatile that my family and I probably enjoy it twice a week.
Farm to Table
We eat it so often; it got me thinking that I should be growing a garden with some Mexican flare. Living in Canada, not all food that typically grows in Mexico will thrive here. But I can bring it down to scale by growing, say, a salsa garden!
I always make my homemade salsa with fresh tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, green onions, and lots of cilantro. While I certainly grow enough tomatoes to satisfy all my salsa needs, I recently came across an interesting idea in Grow Bag Gardening: The Revolutionary Way to Grow Bountiful Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Flowers in Lightweight, Eco-Friendly Fabric Pots.
Author and founder of Epic Gardening, Kevin Espiritu, is one of my go-to guys for gardening advice. In his book, he recommends designing grow bag themes after popular dishes!
Think of meals and snacks you love; maybe you want to make a green smoothie garden or one perfect for Asian stir-fries. You can also create spice gardens or ones with only medicinal herbs and plants.
The possibilities are endless, and they don’t have to be limited to grow bags. You can build your garden in pots in windowsills, raised beds, or in the ground. Whatever floats your boat!
Kevin’s Salsa Garden
Typical salsa ingredients, including tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro, can take up a lot of space and growing time.
In his book, Espiritu recommends scaling the salsa garden down to the following:
- A determinate tomato variety (I love the compact and prolific Mac Pink for all of your northern gardeners!)
- A salsa pepper, such as jalapeno
- Green onions
- Garlic chives
Once you have your tomato and pepper varieties planted, add your green onions and garlic chives to the perimeter. Plant cilantro underneath the tomato and pepper plants’ shaded canopy, so it doesn’t bolt in the summer heat.
Voila! Here you have a delicious salsa garden ready to enjoy all summer long!