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Plant a pizza garden; fashion your own pie-shaped plot with slices of flavorful ingredients

Plant a pizza garden; fashion your own pie-shaped plot with slices of flavorful ingredients
April 2021
WRITER: 
ILLUSTRATOR: 

Get the pie-style layout, plus a plant list



Plant counts are given for a pizza garden four to five feet in diameter. Size up as desired! A. One pear tomato: These tear-shaped fruits come in red, yellow, and orange. B. Three oreganos: Golden, Italian, and Greek are a tasty combination. C. Two mini bell peppers: These snack-sized jewels might even charm the pepper-averse. For extra fun points, seek out a rainbow mix (you may need to order seeds online). D. Two thymes & three chives: Mingle your choice of thymes—maybe a refreshing lemon variety and the classic English—with three chive plants. E. One cherry tomato: Small hands can easily pluck these sweet gems from the vine. They’re available in a range of hues, such as the burgundy ‘Chocolate Cherry’, so pick one that complements your pear tomato. F. Three basils: For an exciting trio, try ‘Purple Petra’, ‘Thai’, and ‘Lettuce Leaf’. 

A garden bed raised out of reach and filled with kale and prickly cucumbers may not get kids engaged in growing veggies. But a circular plot planted for the purpose of making pizzas? Now we’re talking. Divided into slices, a “pizza garden” incorporates tomatoes and peppers—easy growers that come in bright colors and kid-friendly sizes. Herbs add enticing flavors, scents, and shapes, especially if you pick multiple varieties (Sea Island Savory Herbs is a worthy field trip).

Here’s a look at the pie-making basics.

Devise a Plan:
Aim to plant your garden by the end of April. Start by selecting a well-draining location that gets at least six hours of direct sun daily. To start small, plan on a circle that’s four to five feet in diameter and divided into six slices. Follow our plant counts above, or go bigger while paying careful attention to plants’ mature sizes.

Prepare the Dough:
Veggies grow best in nutrient-rich soil that’s a balanced mix of sand, silt, and clay. For info on prepping your soil, check out the “Soil Conditioning” fact sheet in Clemson Cooperative Extension’s online Home & Garden Information Center (hgic.clemson.edu).

Shape the Pie:
Form the pizza’s outer circle using bricks, rocks, or flexible landscape edging. Rocks or planks of wood can outline the slices.

Choose Toppings:
Try our pie (shown above), or swap in seasonal eats like eggplant and zucchini. Locally owned nurseries are the best places to buy varieties suited to the Lowcountry’s climate.

Dig In:
Plant the edibles following the instructions on the plant tags. Gently press the soil down around the roots, then water thoroughly. Top the whole garden with mulch.

Tend Carefully:
Read up on your plants at hgic.clemson.edu. Check moisture levels often: stick a finger about an inch into the dirt; if it feels dry, water well. Weed diligently and watch for pest damage.

Throw a Pizza Party:
A store-bought or homemade crust loaded with ingredients such as marinara sauce, cheese, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs is extra tasty when grilled outdoors. 

 

Personalize Your Pie

Get creative when designing your garden! Here, find a few fun ideas to get you started

  • Ring the pizza’s outer circle with a pretty “crust” of marigolds, known for deterring pests from edible plants.
  • Leave one slice empty to allow easier access to the center of the pie.
  • Nestle round stepping stones into the slices—they’re your “pepperoni.” 
  • If you don't have room for an in-ground garden, plant your ingredients in pots instead. The tomatoes will each need five-gallon containers, the peppers three-gallon containers, and the herbs one gallon.