All The Salsa

Last spring, Menard’s put some storm doors on clearance, one of which was maroon. J happened to go to Menard’s that day and came home to get me to go look at said storm door. It had been sold by the time we got back. No big deal, we’ll just wait and see if they go on sale again and hopefully grab a different maroon storm door. Later that week, I’m talking to my cousin Mel and she mentions she just bought a new storm door. She got a great deal on it, bought it on clearance at Menard’s and it’s maroon. So I tell her about J going to Menard’s and the storm door being gone when we returned. We have a chuckle. Ah well, life goes on.

Late June, Mel calls me “Tinman and I are headed to your house with that maroon storm door.” Um, what? So they got the storm door on and decided to change the color of their front door set up. They want blue now. And she got a brand new blue storm door from her parents as an early birthday present. We offer to pay her what she gave for the door and she refuses. I had just made my first batch of fire roasted salsa.

Mel could live on salsa. We joke that she should just main line it. When we go out for Mexican food, you can see her thinking about whether to get the bottle of salsa refilled or not, because if she’s not paying attention, she’ll fill up on just chips and salsa. I get it. I love salsa too.

After her refusal to let us pay her for the storm door, I tell her, I’ll keep her in salsa during the summer months as payment. She agrees. Problem is, all of my canning jars are half pints. I’m setting aside two or three jars for her every time I make it. In early September, I bought some quart jars specifically to can salsa for her. But then fall turned into winter and outside fire roasting peppers and tomatoes just wasn’t happening. Plus, I hadn’t gotten a garden up and going last year, just a few small plants growing in buckets. They didn’t produce real great.

I had this in mind when I got ready to create my raised vegetable garden this year and then Orscheln’s had a huge sale on plants. 4 packs for 0.99 as well as single plants for 0.99. I grabbed a 4 pack of Big Boy and a 4 pack of Beefsteak tomatoes, plus a 4 pack of regular jalapenos. Then I found a hybrid jalapeno that was new to me and grabbed it as well.

The day my raised bed was installed in place, we had to go buy soil (it holds 25 cubic feet of it). While at the store, I grabbed a snacker tomato plant I’ve never grown, it’s a cherry tomato hybrid and I found cilantro, so I grabbed two plants of that. Then I came home and planted all of them and some red and white onions.

I’m of the mind set that fire roasted salsa (that I would make anyway because I’ve never found a brand of store bought salsa that I really like) for a storm door is a good deal. And I love to grow my own veggies to some degree (I’m afraid of growing green beans, I hear they can overwhelm pretty fast). I have 18 plants total this year with the peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, and onions, and hope to expand to 30 next year with a little more variety (brussel sprouts and garlic are definitely on next year’s list, along with some others).

Putting in the raised garden (filling it, lining the inside of the box, planting, etc) took all of Easter Sunday, but it was a good way to spend it. And I’m excited for my stuff to start maturing. This is my first experience with a raised garden, I have some reservations, but also some high hopes. I’m still debating whether to start a compost bin for next year to rotate some of the soil out, but I read somewhere they attract bees and wasps and J is allergic, so I feel that might be a bad idea. Also, they really smell and I have a sensitive nose.

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