Pizza Garden: Gardening Ideas for Kids
If your kids love pizza, they'll really love growing their own ingredients for a handmade slice.
You can design your garden for specific purposes, like providing fresh toppings for pizza-and-a-movie night. Garlic, spring onions, peppers, broccoli, spinach, herbs like basil and oregano - even tomatoes for the sauce - are easy to grow and great on pizza. Your kids will love knowing they're eating food they helped grow. It's a great way to get your kids involved in understanding growth cycles of food.
2. Let the Kids Plan the Pizza
Get together with your children and brainstorm all the things they'd like to try on pizza. Know that ripening times will let you gradually build home-grown ingredients - herbs first, then greens, until mid-summer when you can add tomatoes and peppers to the mix.
3. Prepare the Soil
Kids love to get their hands dirty. First, choose a site that offers full sun. Then let them break up soil clumps and pick rocks from the area. When they're done, blend 3 inches of Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® All Purpose In-Ground Soil into the top 6 inches of your garden bed. This will provide lots of organic matter in the form of aged compost, which in turn will give your plants the nutrition and soil composition needed for great growth. You can also grow your pizza garden in pots! Just fill the containers with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® All Purpose Container Mix. Prefer to grow your veggies in a raised bed? Fill it with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Raised Bed Mix.
Show kids how to plant strong, vigorous young vegetables and herbs from Bonnie Plants® in the garden—they'll get an instant feeling of success! Or, if you'd prefer they start with seeds, let them plant seeds according to directions on the packets. Either way, be sure to leave enough room between plants. Here's a rough idea for how much space to allow:
Tomatoes: 2 feet for bush-style varieties, 3 feet for vining varieties
Peppers: 18 to 24 inches
Onions: 6 inches apart
Basil: 8 to 18 inches apart, depending on type
Rosemary: 24 to 36 inches apart
Thyme: 12 to 24 inches apart, depending on type
Oregano: 12 to 36 inches apart, depending on type
Remember, tomatoes need support. Surrounding each plant with a strong cage or tying tomato plants to wooden stakes are two easy, effective methods.
5. Water and Feed
In general, tomatoes need more water than the other plants, followed by basil and peppers; rosemary and thyme will need less water. To reduce the chance of disease, water in the morning, apply water to the base of your plants, and avoid getting water on the leaves. Then, to help your young plants grow vigorously, begin feeding them a month after planting with Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition Granules, which will give them just the right kind and amount of nutrition they need to flourish. Just be sure to follow all directions.
6. Mulch and Prevent Weeds
Set a bounty on weeds (like 10 cents apiece!) and turn the kids loose in the garden. Protect your plant from further weed growth - and help keep your soil moist - by putting down a 3-inch layer of Scotts® Nature Scapes® Advanced Color Enhanced Mulch. It will help keep weeds from popping up and help your garden soil retain moisture.
It's the moment you've been waiting for! Pick vegetables and herbs with your kids and encourage them to talk about how good fresh food tastes while you enjoy the meal. Add herbs and spices to for some zing. You can even try making pizza sauce with your own tomatoes.