Get kids interested in gardening by starting a pizza garden with kids! Most kids know and love pizza, so they’ll be pumped to grow something they look forward to eating. Check out what to plant in a pizza garden below.
For more resources on growing a pizza garden with kids, check out this post that has a bunch of resources about what to grow, tips for growing gardens with kids, and ideas to keep them engaged in the garden growing process.
When I asked my boys if they wanted to make a pizza garden this summer, my younger one, who is much more into gardening than my older son, jumped with excitement. After just a few seconds of contemplation, however, he began to ask how we would grow cheese and pepperoni.
I dutifully informed him that we would be growing the ingredients primarily for pizza sauce, though he could grow vegetables like peppers and broccoli to put on top of his pizza or puree into the sauce if he desired.
We could make homemade naan for the crust and homemade pizza sauce with all of the garden harvest. But we would have to buy the cheese and pepperoni from the store or farmers’ market.
Actually a Pizza Sauce Garden
He looked at me critically and quickly clarified that we were growing a pizza sauce garden and not, in fact, a true pizza garden. I accepted his correction and solicited excitement for a pizza sauce garden. To no avail.
He countered with a suggestion to grow a salad garden because we could actually grow all of the ingredients to make our own salad. While I really wanted to make a pizza or pizza sauce garden with my boys, I agreed that we could make grow a pizza sauce garden and a salad garden next to each other. They could be neighbors! Now my younger son was fully on board.
Long & Leggy Seedlings
We started our pizza garden adventure by creating soil blocks and planting seeds to grow indoors. After about a week, we had tall seedlings growing at record pace.
Unfortunately, record growth for seedlings isn’t always the desired outcome. In our case, the seedlings grew too tall too fast because we didn’t give them enough sunlight. They became long and leggy and a little more white than green.
We soon realized we needed to try again. I thought the third time would be the charm. In this case, however, the fourth time was the charm!
Despite our many failed attempts to grow seedlings, let’s start from our first success (i.e. our fourth attempt) at growing seedlings for our pizza sauce and salad gardens.
Start With Good Soil
Every prosperous garden starts with healthy soil. Compost is a great, natural (and nearly free) way to build up really healthy soil. We compost at home and you can too. If you don’t already compost, learn everything you need to know about composting at home here. It’s not nearly as hard as you might think.
We started building up our garden soil by layering compost, newspaper, cardboard scraps, and topsoil around the same time that we planted the seedlings indoors using organic seedling starter soil. We prepared our seedlings using soil blocks and small containers from our garden last year, and you can check out all the details about how we started our seedlings this year here.
Starting The Seeds
For our pizza garden, I purchased the following types of seeds:
- Peppers – to put on the pizza or puree in the sauce
- Broccoli – to put on the pizza or puree in the sauce
If you’re feeling ambitious, you could also start planting garlic and onions (although onion and garlic are typically planted directly into the soil and not started as seedlings).
I typically try to buy most of my seeds from small, organic seed companies, many of which sell heirloom and organic seeds and are B corporations. This year, however, due to quarantine, many companies quickly sold out of their seeds or had such limited staff time available that they could no longer fill new orders.
I bought a bunch of seeds from Seed Savers Exchange this year, but they arrived really late. So I ended up buying a bunch of our seeds from Target this year too. While that may not always be my first choice, it’s perfectly great for this year given the circumstances, and I’m happy the larger companies had supply chains and infrastructure to endure the stress of the global pandemic.
Special Pizza Garden Section
In our garden, we set aside a section of the garden for the pizza sauce ingredients and the salad ingredients. As I mentioned previously, Pizza garden ingredients grow quite well together in a garden. The pizza garden plants grow at different heights, and they also complement and protect each other.
We haven’t yet planted our seedlings. They are hanging out in our house at night and taking a field trip to our patio each day to catch lots of rays (‘cuz those little munchkins need a lot of sunlight).
We plan to finally plant them next weekend now that they are nice and strong. They have been growing for about five weeks, and I’m getting pretty antsy to put them in the ground.
When we plant them, I’ll come back with another update and tips on planting seedlings with kids. I’ve done it before, and it definitely helps to have some hacks and a serious bit of patience.
Have you ever planted a pizza garden? What did you grow to have your own homemade pizza picnic?