Although it’s technically still the middle of winter, now is a good time to start some cool weather herbs. High on this list is cilantro, which grows well in Texas during cool weather. But if you’re going to grow cilantro, why not grow a few vegetables with it to create a “pico de gallo” pot garden.
Pico de gallo is a Tex-Mex condiment made from garden fresh tomatoes, cilantro, onions, jalapenos, and a few other ingredients. The principle ingredients enjoy the same growing conditions and would be happy growing together on your patio. Start with a large pot, at least 30 inches in diameter and about as deep. Fill about two thirds full with quality potting soil. Then arrange your herbs and vegetables. Here are some suggestions for what to plant:
Tomatoes – select a compact bush variety. Any tomato bred for growing on the patio should be fine.
Cilantro – a must-grow for a pico de gallo pot garden.
Onion – consider growing green onions instead of the larger bulb onions.
Jalapeno peppers – like tomatoes, you need to look for a compact growing variety.
Plant these goodies about evenly spaced apart, breaking off any roots at the bottom that have started to circle their old 4-inch pots. Using your fingers, spread the bottom of the roots out slightly to encourage growth. Fill in around the plants with potting soil, lightly tamping it down with your fingers. Leave at one inch of clearance between the top of the soil and the top of the plant. Water thoroughly and place in a full sun spot on your porch or patio. Water weekly and you’ll have a tasty harvest in no time.
So what does “pico de gallo” mean? It translates from Spanish as “nose of the chicken,” not a very appetizing name for a delicious condiment. If I were you, I’d not bother telling your family what the name means. Just serve it with a smile.