Planting a theme garden, like this pizza garden, is one way to make the most of a small-space vegetable garden.Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey
The pizza garden included just about all the ingredients to make a margherita pizza.Photo/Illustration: John Pendleton
The pizza garden I planted this spring has turned out to be my favorite container in the patio garden this season. Instead of filling the container with one fruiting plant, like tomatoes, I decided to plant all the vegetables and herbs I’d need to make a pizza
I planted the pizza garden in a very large container filled with a rich, quick-draining potting soil. I had mixed in a slow-release fertilizer to start the season and then switched to a liquid soluble fertilizer in July to make sure the plants would be well fed while flowering and fruiting.
While I was selecting plants for the container, I kept a picture of a margherita pizza in mind. The recipe for this classic pizza uses fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs and thinly sliced fresh mozzarella.
I decided to plant one ‘Roma’ tomato plant, basil, oregano and chives. At the last minute I planted seeds for a summer squash called ‘Calabacita’. I selected this variety because the small round squash would fit perfectly on the pizza, plus the long vines would add interest to the garden.
I kept the herbs picked and used them in other recipes while the tomatoes and squash were growing.
A pizza garden is just one example of an edible theme garden. The nice part about planting for certain cuisines is that you can select the plants that fit your taste.
If you change just a few ingredients, you could plant a spaghetti garden instead. Instead of ‘Roma’ tomatoes, look for ‘San Marzano’ Italian plum tomatoes. In addition to the oregano and basil, plant Italian flat-leaved parsley. A few other ingredients would make it complete such as onions, garlic and even some small spaghetti squash.
A snack garden could be filled with ‘Jellybean’ grape tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, sweet peas, edamame, French radishes and round baby carrots.
Other recipes for themed gardens include a gourmet greens garden, one for Mexican food or one filled with the plants to make herbal teas.
Have you experimented with a theme garden in your vegetable bed?
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