Plant a pizza garden
April 30, 2021
Gardening can be a family affair that involves green thumbs of all ages. To make gardening fun for children, make it an adventure that goes full circle—from planting the seeds to tending the young plants to harvesting the bounty. That’s why we love the idea of a pizza garden, which has a circular shape, like a pizza. Each “slice” is a plot for a different ingredient. There is one empty slice, for access to the garden. Eventually, when the veggies are ready to harvest, they can be used on a pizza that your child helps make. Just imagine how proud that little gardener will be when the pizza fixings grown in their garden take center stage at family pizza night.
Ready to dig in? We thought so. Here’s what to plant:
Pick a paste variety such as Roma that produces meaty tomatoes perfect for sauces.
This herb seasons the sauce and is great for pesto, too.
Beets represent the sugar needed to help pizza crust rise.
Sweet red and green bell peppers can top the pizza.
Plant sets of red onions, which have a sweet, more child-friendly flavor.
Plant these around the garden to define it and to represent the cheese on the pizza.
The idea of the pizza garden adapts to limited space, too, and the garden doesn’t have to be shaped like a circle. The ingredients could be planted in containers or in window boxes. You can also grow a pizza herb garden in cups that are attached to a wooden pallet like we have done below.
What’s important is to make gardening inviting for children. It’s as easy, you might say, as A-B-C.
Make the garden a place that a child will want to be. Create a small sanctuary, like a beanpole tent or a sunflower house that is their special spot. The beanpole tent requires only a simple framework of lightweight poles, usually bamboo, arranged in a circle and tied at the top. Plant a bean variety like Scarlet Runner at the base of the structure and watch it take off. A sunflower house can be planted in a similar fashion but doesn’t require poles. Mark off a square or rectangle and plant seeds for taller sunflowers on the perimeter, leaving an opening for a “door.”
Paint tomato stakes in a rainbow of colors or let children put their hands in finger paint and add their handprints to stepping-stones. Grow something in a surprising color, like blue potatoes or red, purple or white carrots.
Let a child take ownership of their garden and decide what to plant. Some things that might appeal to children are sunflowers, popcorn, and pumpkins.
For more ideas on gardening with children, visit Kids Gardening, a nonprofit organization that brings the benefits of gardening to kids through grant programs, curriculum, contests, and educational activities.