You don’t have to live on a farm to grow your own food. A new trend called food-scaping combines edible gardening and landscaping to maximize beauty and productivity. If you’re new to food-scaping, a pizza garden can be a great place to start. Pizza topping plants can be seamlessly blended into an ornamental garden, and you’ll eventually get some amazing pizza for your efforts!
What to Plant in Your Pizza Garden
There are many pizza toppings that come from plants you can easily cultivate at home. Try growing a few of these options for delicious pizza later in the year!
A pizza essential, oregano is a beautiful perennial herb that’s easy to grow in the home garden. Oregano loses flavor after it flowers, so pinch or cut off the flowers to prolong the harvest and encourage bushier growth. Native to the Mediterranean, oregano grows well in hot, sunny areas and is drought tolerant. It’s easy to grow in containers, and one plant is definitely enough.
Tomatoes are an excellent choice for nearly all small gardens because they’re extremely productive. If you’re short on space, look for patio or “determinate” varieties. Both will stay relatively small.
If you’re interested in making your own marinara sauce for pizza, try growing paste tomatoes. This type of tomato has less water and will cook down into a thicker sauce than slicing or cherry type tomatoes.
Grow tomatoes in full sun and keep their soil consistently moist. For a really spectacular harvest, grow your tomatoes in self-watering containers!
One of the easiest peppers to grow, a couple of jalapeño plants can add a lot of flavor and heat to your pizza. Their dark green foliage, as well as their little red and green peppers, can be blended seamlessly into the garden among ornamental plants. Plant them in full sun and use well-drained soil. Push a small stake into the ground next to each plant when you plant them.
If you find jalapeños a bit too spicy, consider trying banana peppers. They’re an easy pepper to grow, and they mature quickly. You can slice up fresh ones on a pizza or pickle them for future use. They mature from very light green to yellow, then orange, and finally red, offering as much color to a landscape as many flowers. Large plants sometimes require staking to remain upright when they’re weighed down with peppers.
Growing mushrooms may sound intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple. You can now find mushroom kits or “farms” that can be grown indoors and require surprisingly little care. If you’re feeling confident, you can also purchase mushroom spawn, which can be used to inoculate wood chips or logs depending on the variety. Popular varieties to grow at home include shiitakes, wine caps, and oyster mushrooms. This is a great project for kids!
Homegrown basil has so much more flavor than store-bought. It’s also much less expensive to grow your own basil than to continually buy it from the grocery store. Grow in full sun for the best flavor. Pinch leaves just above a set of two large leaves to encourage further sprouting. Trim flowers to keep the plant producing leaves. Speaking of leaves, there are varieties with variegated or purple leaves for a bit of extra flair!
This perennial herb has a lot going for it. Thyme is both edible and medicinal and was historically used in a variety of dishes — including soups and dressings — as well as to treat respiratory ailments. Choose a thyme that suits your garden’s needs. ‘German Winter’ thyme is larger and bushier, while ‘Creeping’ thyme is an excellent ground cover in rock gardens. Thyme is native to the Mediterranean and prefers full sun and well-drained soil.
This year, take your landscaping to the next level by incorporating a pizza garden. Trust us, you’ll appreciate your garden more when you’re eating a delicious homemade slice with herbs and veggies fresh from the garden!
For more information on what to grow in your next foodscape project check out How to be an Edible Garden Guru or visit one of our in-store experts.