This is Part 4 in a series.
Read about choosing varieties and starting seedlings indoors in “Before the Thaw”.
Then learn more about how to grow the other ingredients for your salsa in “Grow Your Own Fresh Ingredients”.
Help your plants do well by reading “Getting them in the Garden”
Now you are ready. The fruits of your labor are hanging on the vine.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all of the vegetables and herbs were ready at the same time?
Unfortunately it doesn’t usually work that way. Some herbs are ready early and the peppers don’t usually show up in Wisconsin until quite late, while the tomatoes usually trickle in over a 2 month period.
Tomatoes should be picked when they gain full or nearly full color and begin to soften. Pick them with the “cap” on (a small part of the vine), they keep longer that way. In hot weather fully ripe tomatoes don’t last long on the vine. They will ripen nicely on your kitchen counter. Don’t put tomatoes in the refrigerator.
Peppers can be picked when they reach a nice size, but leave them on the vine longer so that they change to their fully ripe color to add extra color to your salsa. Peppers do not continue to ripen once you pick them.
Be sure to thin your onions (you can eat the small green ones too) so that they have plenty of room to reach full size. Make sure to water them or they will never really fill out.
Harvest your herbs when they are on the young side and preserve them by drying or freezing until it it’s time to make your salsa. Really, herbs can be snipped any time you need them, but ideally you would pick them in the morning after they were watered the night before. You can store your herbs for up to a week with the stems in cups of water on the counter or in the refrigerator. Don’t put basil in the refrigerator. It will turn brown.
Tomatoes can be blended or chopped and frozen until you get enough to make a batch. Go ahead and add some of the herbs now, it’s easier than freezing them separately. Dice up some of the peppers too and freeze them if you get too many of them before it is time to make your salsa.
Have fun watching your Salsa garden grow!