Grow a Mexican Vegetable Garden

Bring the flavors of Mexico to your table when you grow vegetables and herbs to prepare black beans, minty Mojito, and other south-of-the-border dishes.

Photo By: Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Bullfrog & Baum

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2013, Image courtesy of Ben Rollins

©2010, How to Grow Practically Everything, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Photo By: Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Photo By: Image courtesy of iStock

Photo By: Courtesy of Ball Horticultural

Bell Pepper 'Sweet Heat'

Used green or red, bell pepper 'Sweet Heat' has a smoky, mildly spicy flavor. It's great for stuffing with rice, Mexican cheese, ground beef and zesty, chili-style tomatoes.

Tomatillos

Also known as "tomato verde" or green tomatoes, tomatillos have inedible, papery husks that conceal cherry tomato-sized fruits that can be used for Mexican soups, salsas and pork dishes, among others.

White Onions

Sharp-tasting white onions are a staple in Mexican dishes. They're used raw in salsas, grilled with peppers for fajitas and used to season soups, stews and sauces.

Epazote

Valued by the Aztecs for culinary and medicinal uses, epazote is an herb that has naturalized in the U.S., even growing as a roadside weed. Used fresh, its strong, pungent taste can be an acquired taste. It's often used in tamales, black beans, enchiladas and other dishes.

Spearmint

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) is an easy-to-grow, aromatic herb used to make mojito cocktails. The plants like damp soil and take full sun to shade. Mints spread vigorously, so control them by pulling them or growing them in containers.

Red Jalapeno Peppers

Fiery jalapeno peppers are great for pickling, stuffing, chopping into stews, sauces and salsas, stirring into chili or eating raw.  Start the seeds indoors before the last expected frost or plant in the garden when the weather is reliably warm.

Garlic

Spanish rice, salsas and taco seasonings depend on garlic for their flavors. For best results, don't plant garlic from the grocery store; buy from a nursery or order online to get the right variety for your region.

Cilantro 'Santo'

'Santo' is a slow-bolting variety of cilantro, an herb that people tend to either love or hate. The leaves have a strong taste—some describe it as soapy—but they add a layer of flavor to many Mexican recipes.

Pepper 'Cajun Belle'

This All-America Selections winner, 'Cajun Belle', is a slightly spicy-flavored bell pepper. At just 2 feet tall and wide, it's a good choice for a Mexican container garden.

Cumin

Frequently used in Mexican dishes, cumin is an annual herb in the parsley family. Let the seed pods turn brown before harvesting them; then cut the stems and hang them upside down in a paper bag. When the pods open and release the seeds, store them in an airtight container or use them fresh.

Pepper 'Tangerine Dream'

Orange-red 'Tangerine Dream' peppers are as pretty to look at as they are good to eat. The flavor is mostly sweet, with a hint of heat.  For a portable Mexican garden, grow the bushy, compact plants in containers.