While it may not be practical to grow the ingredients for a crisp, chewy pizza base in the average garden, you can certainly grow all you need for a delicious pizza topping – or a salsa…or even a vibrant salad.
We’ve worked out three garden plans that are great starting points for a new recipe-themed garden bed. They’d make excellent projects for introducing kids to the excitement of growing the food that will end up on their plates and, hopefully, in their bellies!
Pizza Garden Plan
The classic recipe-themed garden plan is the pizza garden. Not only does it include the ingredients for your favorite pizza toppings, it’s actually pizza shaped too, so it’s easy to see the link between what you’re growing and the food you’re eating.
Our plan above places tomatoes – essential for making into paste and slathering on any pizza in my opinion – in the centre of the pizza, both for visual effect and to make it easy to access the lower-growing crops round the edge. Flowers are essential for attracting beneficial insects into any vegetable garden, so this plan also includes borage and marigolds.
Each pizza ‘slice’ is then filled with one of your favorite toppings. How many slices you need depends on how varied you and your family’s appetite for different pizza toppings is! My personal must-haves are chilies, oregano and basil, but others may prefer onions, spinach or garlic. It’s just a shame you can’t grow your own cheese…planning space for a milking cow could be taking it too far!
To make it easy to position plants in their slices of the pizza, you can if you wish sub-divide it into beds using strips of wood or another material.
Salsa Recipe Garden Plan
Shop-bought salsas are convenient but can be disappointing, so if you’ve got a favorite salsa recipe why not take it up a notch by growing all the ingredients you need right in your own garden?
This garden plan is perfectly suited to growing in a bed against a wall or fence in a sheltered location. Choose a spot that enjoys plenty of sun and dig in or mulch with plenty of rich organic matter such as home-made compost or well-rotted manure. You can either tie your tomato plants onto a trellis attached to the fence, or use canes or tomato cages to keep them from flopping over onto your other salsa crops.
Onions provide a lot of flavor and aroma in any salsa, so these are essential. Our plan uses both red and yellow onions for variety and interest. Other piquant ingredients include chilies, garlic and cilantro, plus any other herbs you like – we’ve included basil in ours. As with the pizza garden plan we’ve also included some borage and calendula, not just for their pest control services and ravishing good looks, but because their edible flowers make a daring garnish in salsa.
If you’ve got the climate for it – or if you’re able to bring them indoors over winter – try growing a dwarf lime in a container. All you need now are some nachos!
Salad Bar Garden Plan
If you love the freshest summer tastes, how about trying this scrumptious-looking salad bar garden? It’s a little bigger than the other two plans, but could easily be scaled down to fit the space you have available.
Your choice of ingredients is entirely down to you – maybe you enjoy tzatziki or pickles and can easily manage to use up a harvest from four cucumber plants as shown above, or maybe you’d prefer to concentrate on experimenting with exciting varieties of salad leaves. Heck, if you love a potato salad why not try growing potatoes in those containers!
Nipping out to the garden to forage the ingredients for a salad is one of my favorite parts of growing food. Tomatoes, arugula, celery, chives, radishes, scallions, and beets can all be used to concoct a unique and delicious salad. Include some herbs to really crank up the flavor – but mint has plans for world domination so make sure it’s grown on its own in a pot.
Again, we’ve include borage and marigolds because they’re just so useful and attractive, plus other edible flowers such as calendula and nasturtium. Topping a garden-grown salad with these pretty petals will really grab the attention of your lunch guests.
Grow Your Own Recipes
I haven’t given quantities for these plans because that really depends on the space you have available, how many people you’re feeding, how often you like to eat these particular recipes, and how greedy your diners are. Our Garden Planner can help you to work out how many plants you need to raise for the space you have available, as well as when to sow or plant them in your area. It also provides detailed growing guides so you know just what your plants need to produce the best possible harvest.
Recipe-themed garden plans are limited only by the adventurousness of your imagination and your palate. Why not grow the ingredients for your own stir-fry garden or for your favorite soup or pasta dish – or even a selection of herbal teas? Let us know what you’ve got planned by dropping us a comment below.