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How to Grow a Salsa Garden + Salsa Garden Layout

Article Summary: Here we dive into the ins and outs of growing your own salsa garden. That is, all the plants, plant spacing needs and growing process for your garden in order to grow, harvest and make your own homemade salsa! We cover a brief history of salsa, why growing towards a goal makes gardening better, plants to plant and their growing needs, and we made you a Salsa Garden layout guide so you can get started asap. Let’s grow!


Just want to reference our Salsa Garden Planting Chart? Scroll to the bottom of this page.

Want to Grow Your Own Salsa Garden? Peruse our Raised Garden Kits & Garden Grid™ watering systems here.


If you’re anything like us, you LOVE salsa. From spicy, to mild, to sweet, to smokey – the delicious purée of vegetable medley is a staple side, snack, or topping for many meals.

Assuming we are all in agreement about salsa’s delicious allure and since your are reading this on a gardening website… we can also assume that you find growing your own fruits and vegetables to be a highly rewarding experience. Though the ease and convenience of supermarket produce is oftentimes a short drive away, gardeners like us not only find a simple pleasure of taking a seed and nurturing it to maturity, but also comfort in knowing where exactly our food comes from.

With that said, we only found it fitting to combine our two passions.


To give you a ‘recipe’ for growing your own, wait for it…. SALSA GARDEN!

In our Salsa Garden Growing Guide we’ll cover:

  1. The Origins and Nutrition of Salsa
  2. How growing a salsa garden enhances your gardening experience. Grow towards a Goal!
  3. What you need to plant to create a salsa garden.
  4. Plant growing tips and harvest times.
  5. Plant spacing needs for a Salsa Garden Layout.

Want Other Layout Ideas?

Check out our other guide: Salad Garden Layout & Stir Fry Garden Layout

The Origins and Nutrition of Salsa

When you endeavor to create a salsa garden, you join a culinary tradition that dates back to the Aztecs. As far as history has shown us, Aztecs began serving up this culinary delight around 3,000 B.C., combining their native tomatoes, chili peppers, and tomatillos! The combination, and subsequent variations, eventually spread to Europe, and is now a staple dish in a multitude of cultures.

Apart from its refreshing and zesty flavor, a modern day salsa with a base of tomatoes, onions and jalapenos has numerous health benefits due in main part to high levels of Vitamins A and C. On the macro-nutrient side of the scale (fat, carbs, and protein) salsa is a very low-calorie dish. A typical serving (~1/2 cup) has about 36 calories.  Although you can never go wrong with good old chips and salsa, there are many other ways to include fresh salsa in your diet. Salsa pairs magnificently with fish dishes, and is a healthy substitute for fatty dressings on salads.

We help can’t but appreciate that the Aztecs had something special when it came to salsa, and for that, we say heads hats off to you.

Aztecs Created Salsa

Grow towards a goal!

“Having an end goal (for your garden) makes all the difference”

Much like a sales team preparing a pitch for a team of executives, it helps to approach your garden with a purpose, an end goal. With the assistance of the warmer months, we’ve set our own goal: to have all the ingredients necessary to make salsa.

Alas, as simple as the square foot gardening method may seem from a technical standpoint, the motivation needed to sustain interest in an activity that doesn’t instantly gratify, is daunting to some. At Garden In Minutes, we strive to make starting a garden easier and less time consuming, but plants can only grow so fast!

We’ve been square foot gardening for years and will be the first to admit that it hasn’t always been rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes gardening asks more of you than you’re willing to give, and it’s not uncommon to go through periods of reduced interest.

BUT, this is where having an end goal makes all the difference! Knowing what you want to get out of your garden keeps you moving toward ‘green thumb’ success!  Make a garden goal, nurture your plants, and enjoy the fruits of your labor with a big fat scoop of salsa goodness!

What You Need to Plant for your Salsa Garden

There are hundreds of salsa recipes out there. Our salsa garden layout is going for a relatively mild, simple recipe that is great for topping a dish (such as fish) or liberally scooping with your favorite chip. If you’re a fan of spicier salsa we’ve added some options below for you too.  

Use our Garden Fresh Salsa Recipe to give you culinary guidance.

What you’ll be growing:

  • Jalapeno
  • Sweet pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Tomato
  • Onion* 
  • Garlic**
  • Optional: Additional Hot Pepper***

*We’re using bunching onions for this salsa garden layout, which you can grow 9 per square foot. Other options such as large yellow parma onions can be grown too, which you plant 1 per square foot.

**Garlic is an absolute must for a full flavored salsa, however know ahead of time that it isn’t the easiest or fastest plant to grow. Garlic takes nearly twice as long as the other salsa garden plants to reach maturity. To meet your culinary end goal, we recommend either planting garlic 3 months before your other plants, or go to your local grocer and make sure you have a few cloves on hand – some might call that cheating, but we won’t judge. Waiting for salsa is no easy task!

***If you decide not to grow garlic, grow more hot peppers like jalapenos for some additional spice.

Salsa Garden Layout Plants – Growing Tips and Harvest Times

Tomatoes –  Maturity: 65-75 days. Tomatoes are ripe when they can be pulled easily from the stems. They can also ripen a little after picking—so if you anticipate extreme weather outside of usual temperatures (heat wave or cold snap) pick the fruits that are already a rich pink color and let them ripen inside.

Peppers – Maturity: 70-90 days (Sweet and Hot). Plant near onions. For hot peppers, pick when deep green/red and glossy. Sweet, bell-type peppers may also be picked when green, but will sweeten as they ripen into other colors (red, yellow, orange, purple).

Onions – Maturity: 90-110 days. Plant near tomatoes.

Cilantro –  Maturity: 55-70 days. Trim outer leaves when plant reaches about six inches high, but make sure to leave 2/3 of the stem closest to the ground to allow for regrowth.

Garlic – Maturity 130-140 days. Dig up when leaves turn 1/3 brown.

Growing Tip Summer is a great time of year to grow a garden, but just like how the heat and intense rays can be too much for us, they can also be too much for your garden. Use these summer gardening tips to keep your plants from getting ‘sunburnt’.

Salsa Garden Layout Plant Spacing Guide

To make plant setup and spacing easy, we created a this infographic showing how you’ll break up your gardening space (4×4 in this case) in preparation for a salsa garden layout. Each Garden Grid™ square represents ~1 square foot of planting area. Salsa Garden Layout Planting Guide

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That’s it! Everything you need to grow your own salsa garden. Set your goal, get planting, nurture your plants, and enjoy the freshest salsa you’ve ever had!

Are you a salsa fan like us? Share your favorite type below, we love hearing about (read: eating) new varieties!

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