4 Rules for Companion Planting a Tomato Salsa Garden

companion planting salsa gardenI suppose it's time Wendie and I 'up the stakes' on our garden spread. Instead of just planting what we want and noting the sun and shade requirements on the seed packet, we're looking at increasing our yields through companion planting.

As with any potential new additions to the homestead, companion planting will have a little educational curve, so our nights are being spent pouring through old gardening books and seed catalogues. Rather than tackle the whole garden in one year, we're starting small, focusing on our salsa garden aspects.

Companion Planting Protocol

Ever since our early days of urban backyard homesteading, we've had a salsa garden. Some years it turned out alright, while others saw us struggling to ripen a small handful of pitiful tomatoes. You truly have to love that temperamental New England weather to grow anything up here. With lessons learned then, and new information under our belts, Wendie and I are ready to take on this project with a spicy fury never before seen.

Well, in our garden anyways.

Step 1: Companion Planting a Salsa Garden

To begin, make a garden plan by using a planting calendar. Salsa recipes vary, so plant accordingly. To keep things simple, either by luck or design, all the ingredients of a salsa garden will need a sunny location to grow. Select a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Since we garden with the square-foot garden method, we are dedicating one of our 4x4 beds to the salsa project. Salsa ingredients will grow equally when planted in-ground or in a container as long as they receive enough sunlight. 

Step 2: Start in the Fall

Garlic is 1 of the 5 basic salsa ingredients and it should be planted in the fall. Plant garlic bulbs right after the first frost in fall and it will ready to harvest the following spring. 

Hang garlic bulbs up to dry until the other salsa ingredients are ready.

Step 3: Tomato Companion Planting

tomato companion planting
Good tomato companion planting options include garlic, onions, oregano and basil.  The garlic and onion keep garden pests away and the herbs enhance the tomato flavor. 

Not only do these ingredients pair well in a salsa bowl, they make great companions in the garden too.

Sweet pepper and hot pepper companion plants are the same as the tomato, plus peppers and tomatoes make good companion planting solutions.

Salsa garden ingredients will ripen at different times and allow for space-saving stagger planting. Stagger planting allows for more than one type of produce to be grown in the same location so garden space can be maximized. 

Step 4: Stagger Companion Planting

tomato companion plantingAfter harvesting garlic in spring, amend the soil with compost and plant the other produce you like in salsa. Onions will be ready for harvest next, followed by tomatoes and herbs, and the last ingredient to ripen will be the peppers. Tomatoes will continue to produce until frost. Store garlic, onions and herbs in a dry location to preserve them.

As each plant finishes production, it can be removed from the garden and something else planted in its place. Amend soil with compost prior to re-planting.

Companion Planting a Salsa Garden

We love sharing our off the grid homesteading adventures with you all, and really enjoy hearing your stories! Are you into companion planting? Have you tried it with a salsa garden? What are your tips for tomato companion planting? Let us know by joining the conversation!