We grew this garden in a 10-square-foot bed in full sun. Because there's a lot of clay in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden, we grew the plants in raised beds liberally amended with compost. All of the plants were provided by Bonnie Plants.
Offering one of the garden's most distinctive flavors, cilantro creates a zing in every dish it's in. Because cilantro is a short-season crop, it's best to plant a few seeds every three or four weeks—that way you'll have a steady supply.
Introduced in 1943, this award-winning tomato is still popular today. It offers loads of big, golden-yellow fruits with a mild flavor. It has good disease resistance.
Learn how easy it is to grow salsa ingredients in a compact container!
Add heat to your salsa with jalapeno peppers. They offer a distinct taste and mild to hot flavor. Use them green or wait for them to mature to red for extra color—they're great both ways.
Garlic chives is an easy-to-grow perennial that gives great flavor to salsas. Try chopping it up and using it in homemade guacamole! The plant's grassy leaves create nice texture in the garden and the edible white flowers are a pleasant late-summer surprise.
Test Garden Tip: Garlic chives can self-seed vigorously; cutting the flowers off as they fade will prevent it from self-seeding and spreading through your garden.
This heavy-yielding variety offers wonderful, 2-inch-long fruits that turn from orange to yellow, purple, then red as they mature. It pickles well and makes a fun addition to salsas and salads.
Hotter than a jalapeno (and often sold as an ornamental variety because it packs so much heat), 'Black Pearl' offers rich purple foliage and attractive black-purple fruits that mature to glowing red.
Calico pepper provides any planting with a festival feel thanks to its purple-green foliage colorfully streaked with lavender, cream, and white. It bears tiny purple flowers that become ultra-hot thumbnail-sized fruits.
Note: Because the peppers are so hot, it's sold as an ornamental variety.