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Plant a Salsa Garden: The Five Ingredients to Grow for Fresh Garden Salsa

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Salsa lovers can enjoy a particularly nutritious and delicious treat by growing all the ingredients for salsa right in their home gardens.

Planting a Salsa Garden: What and When to Plant

1. Tomatoes
Tomatoes are frost-sensitive plants. Start seedlings 6-8 weeks before the frost-free date (which you can learn from your local Cooperative Extension) or buy them from a greenhouse; set them out after the last frost.

Tomatoes thrive in rich soil with plenty of phosphorus. Put a shovelful of compost or aged manure and a handful of bone meal or rock phosphate in each planting hole. Tomatoes love warmth and light. Plant them where they’ll get full sun.

You’ll have many varieties from which to choose. Keep the following basic categories in mind:

Determinate tomato plants are smaller and easier to support than indeterminate plants. A standard garden store tomato cage will contain one nicely. You can plant them every 2′. They will stop bearing before the growing season ends. Indeterminate tomatoes keep growing until frost kills them. They need a sturdy trellis or very large cage. Space them 3′ apart.

Salsa Tomato Tip:
Paste tomatoes like Roma, Opalka, Hog Heart and San Marzano are very meaty and not very juicy. They may not make the best fresh eating, but they make a thick and satisfying salsa. Slicing tomatoes are juicier and better for eating out of hand. You can add some of these to your paste tomatoes when making salsa. Continue reading…

How to Grow Kale: Including Three Favorite Ways to Prepare Kale

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Kale is a particularly easy and rewarding crop for the home gardener. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, rich in vitamins A, C and B6, as well as, minerals and dietary fiber. It’s also a long-lived low-maintenance crop, cold hardy and not very prone to disease. Last but not least it’s versatile, adding nutrition and flavor to many different dishes.

How to Grow and Care for Kale

Kale is a heavy feeder with an appetite for nitrogen. Organic growers should add plenty of compost or well-rotted manure to their soil. Kale can be direct-seeded or transplanted outside up to 5 weeks before the date of the last expected spring frost and succession-planted until 6 weeks before the first expected fall frost. It will produce over a long season, but its flavor is best after fall frosts increase the sugar content of leaves.

Spacing will depend on how you want to use your kale. Baby kale for salads or juicing can be sown 1″ apart in furrows spaced 4″ apart, or on a 2″ grid in a bed. Mature kale for cooking requires more space–allow 12″ between plants for smaller varieties like Red Russian, 18″ or more for larger plants like Winterbor.

Plant kale seeds 1/4″ – 1/2″ deep in moist soil, in a space where it will receive at least 5 hours of sun every day. In hot climates summer-sown kale will benefit from afternoon shading. Continue reading…

Growing Rainbow Carrots: Health Benefits and Varieties by Color (Red, Purple, Yellow, White)

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Most people hear “carrot” and immediately picture a familiar orange vegetable. But carrots also come in red, yellow, purple and white. In fact, some researchers say the first domesticated carrots–developed in the region of what is now Afghanistan–were yellow and purple. Red carrots remain popular in Japan. A Cooperative Extension specialist in Wisconsin has studied […]

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Goats for Weed Control: Everything You Need to Know, Including How to Rent Goats

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Landowners with properties overrun with invasive or otherwise problematic species like kudzu, multiflora rose and poison ivy don’t have to resort to herbicides, machine rental or exhausting manual removal. Goats will eat and thrive on many of these weeds. This can be a win/win situation. Brush-clearing goats can convert your unwanted plants into valuable milk, […]

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How to Grow Cornflower (Bachelor Button)

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Cornflower, more commonly known as bachelor button, is a popular, easy to grow annual. It’s a great plant selection for a newbie gardener or the most seasoned growers out there. Its simple beauty has made it a reliable mainstay in gardens since days of old. And it’s playful nature keeps modern day gardens exploding with […]

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How to Grow Copper Plant (Copperleaf)

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Copper plant is an annual plant grown for its vibrant foliage in gardens and landscapes. Also referred to as copperleaf, its outstanding color varieties add a splash of constant accent color that works beautifully into backgrounds and in containers. This shrub grows quickly to its full formed size of about 3 to 5 feet. Its […]

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How to Grow Rat-tail Radish

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Believe it or not, rat-tail radishes are not used explicitly in large, bubbling, black cauldrons by evil-doers who are looking to cast a spell. In spite of their rather unfortunate name, they are quite a lovely vegetable plant. While most radishes are harvested as edible root vegetables, the unique rat-tail radish is grown for its […]

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How to Grow Joseph’s Coat (Alternanthera)

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Joseph’s Coat is a tender perennial grown for its beautiful foliage. Its striking colors range in warm shades of reds, pinks, yellows, and coppers to cool shades of purples, and greens depending on variety. The leaves may also be found variegated or spotted with contrasting colors. Tiny flowers in the fall are a subtle side […]

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How to Get Rid of Invasive Bishop Weed (Goutweed)

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Bishop’s weed is a bummer! It is one of those plants that just will not go away. Once it has taken root, it more or less smothers everything in its path. It crawls across the ground in moist, partly shaded areas. It creates a dense groundcover that prevents other plants from developing. It spreads above […]

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How to Get Rid of Invasive English Ivy

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As dainty as English ivy looks, who would guess what a monster it can become? In its native habitat, it acts as an important link in the food chain for the local population of birds and insects. Its ability to vine and climb is one of its endearing attributes in its homeland. And this plant […]

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