Recipe for Creating an Outdoor
Italian Pizza Garden With Your Kids
Creating your Italian pizza garden can be a great summer activity
for kids. It is no secret every kid loves pizza. In fact, it is safe
to assume that all adults love pizza too. Pizza is not only
enjoyable to eat, but they are fun to make with kids. You can even
teach your children to grow their own pizza garden! Participating in
fun activities like these, children will build self confidence,
along with a sense of accomplishment.
Involving your child in the task of planning for a garden,
creating the garden and maintaining the garden will teach the
responsibility and instill the value of working hard and reaping
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To start, we want to grow the ingredients used on pizza. We'll
show you how to grow two vegetables and two herbs used often on
homemade pizzas in your own Italian pizza garden.
Not all pizza uses tomato sauce, but almost all pizzas do have
tomatoes in some form -either as a sauce, or simply as a topping.
The best tomatoes for toppings are Roma tomatoes. Italian tomatoes
which are similar to Roma tomatoes, are bigger but can be hard to
find. Roma tomatoes are perfect for toppings because they are
meaty and do not contain a lot of juice such as a beefsteak
tomato. The extra juice can cause the pizza dough to become soggy.
Make sure you plant the right type of tomato in your Italian pizza
Tomatoes growing from seed must be started indoors during the
winter months and receive proper care. It is much easier to
purchase tomato plants from a local hardware or garden store. If
you have a large family you will want to buy more than just one
plant. It is a good idea to buy at least two or three plants. This
way, if one should not survive due to insects or disease, you
still have the others.
There are different varieties of tomatoes, so growing times may
vary. However with Roma tomatoes it can take two months until they
start producing edible fruit. If using container gardening you
will need to water much more frequently than if planting in the
ground. Regardless, you always want to make sure your soil is rich
in nutrients and if possible organic. It is important when using
containers, to use potting mix - not potting soil. In addition, if
container gardening, remember you will need to add fertilizer
throughout the growing season in your Italian pizza garden
depending on specifications which should be indicated on the bag.
Our next ingredient to grow are green peppers. These are a great
addition when creating a vegetable pizza with mushrooms, red
onions and black olives. As with tomatoes it is best to buy your
pepper plants from the store.
Make sure your soil does not have too much nitrogen as this can
cause the peppers to not produce much yield. As is the same with
tomato plants you only want to plant them when the soil is
approximately 70 degrees F. Space your plants about 2 feet apart
as these will spread out. In addition, the root system can be very
fibrous and we want to avoid any crowding of the roots with
neighboring plants. Water your peppers regularly as they prefer
soil which is moist. Once the peppers are of edible size you know
they are ready to harvest.
You might also consider adding other peppers such as hot peppers
in your Italian pizza garden, you can put these on a pizza to add
some extra spice. Make sure to involve your child in the decision
Growing Herbs in your Italian Pizza Garden
In our Italian pizza garden we must also include some herbs. Two of
the most common herbs used on pizzas are oregano and basil. Both of
these can be planted by seed however, it is much easier especially
with children, to simply purchase plants. Remember each container
which you buy typically includes two or three individual plants.
Oregano can be grown in partial shade, but it prefers full sun.
Space your oregano plants about 2 feet apart like the green pepper
plants. It does not require a lot of water, and can do quite well
in drier soil if there is plenty of sun.
Keep in mind, oregano is a very strong herb. Thanks to Italy for
sharing a little secret oregano- is the secret herb which is used
for pizza sauce. To make a quick and easy pizza sauce simply
follow the recipe below.
Read more about starting an
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Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe
1. Pour a small jar of pasta sauce in a medium sauce pan and turn to
2. Add in 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste and stir well.
3. Add 2 teaspoons of your fresh garden oregano which has been
4. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
5. You will have a sauce for your pizza.
Basil is a favored herb to use on a pizza as well. In fact many
people enjoy a simple combination of sliced tomatoes, mozzarella
cheese and basil leaves as the only toppings. This is called a
Margherita pizza named after the Italian Queen, Margherita of
When planting basil plants in your Italian pizza garden, make
sure they are spaced out about 1 foot apart from each other. Only
plant the basil when the temperature is in the 70's, and nighttime
temperatures are above 50 degrees as basil is very sensitive to
cold weather. Unlike oregano which enjoys a drier soil, basil
prefers a moist and rich soil to flourish in. It may be tempting
when you first plant the basil to start using the leaves, but it
is best to wait until they are approximately 6 inches in height
and snip off the first few sets of small leaves which begin to
appear. This will help the basil plants produce leaves for a
longer period of time. Remember, when using basil for your
Margherita pizza, do not put the basil on top until the end of
cooking, otherwise the basil will become crispy, burn and lose its
If using a store bought pizza crust, which is much easier and
quicker than making your own, rub a few small drops of olive oil
on the bottom of the pizza as this will help the pizza have a nice
crispy bottom crust. For a homemade
pizza crust, try this one.
Margherita Pizza Recipe
- Slice a few Roma tomatoes thinly and layer them on the top of
the pizza crust.
- Take a ball of fresh mozzarella and slice it into the thin
slices as well, and create a layer over the pizza. Make sure
that the mozzarella is not too crowded because it will spread as
- Cook in a preheated oven according to the instructions on the
pizza packaging. Typically it is 400 degrees F. for anywhere
from 12 to 20 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the
- Add the basil by tearing it into pieces by hand and placing
them on the pizza 3-5 minutes before the pizza is done.
- Continue cooking for the last 3-5 minutes. We do not want the
basil to become crispy.
- Remove from the oven when finished and serve warm!
Enjoy your time with your children growing and planning an
Italian pizza garden and enjoy eating your pizza!
Article written by Liz Krause, from www.simpleitaliancooking.com,
is from an Italian family and encourages everyone to have fun in
14 Different Plants for Kids to Grow
If you are planting a large garden, what kinds of fruits and
vegetables should you plant in it?
1. Cherry Tomatoes
- a fun plant to grow and eat! They are
small enough for kids to pop them in their mouths and taste the
sweetness of summer.
- super easy to grow and they can be made into
some pretty tasty bread that the kids can help you make.
- start this when the weather is cooler. So,
early spring or late fall makes for perfect lettuce planting time.
- plant these from seed and when they just start
to peek up out of the dirt they are ready to be picked.
- a tangy vegetable to throw in your salads and
super easy for kids to grow.
- a beautiful, golden flower, perfect for your
summer bouquets. Plant them as a seed for some extra fun.
- magnificently colorful, tall and stately. These
are a children's favorite because they perform so well with minimal
effort. Also, they make some amazing bouquets to give to family and
- Very wispy flowers that kids will enjoy
planting. They also make some amazing bouquets but don't last quite
as long as the zinnia.
- crunchy, long, and another easy to grow plant
for kid's gardening adventures.
- plant some pumpkin seeds so that you can have
beautiful pumpkins come the fall.
- a little bit challenging to grow if the bugs
get to it. However, it is so much tastier than the broccoli at your
local grocery store.
12. Green Beans
- they can be plentiful so be prepared. But
they are super easy to grow and the kids will have fun eating them
straight from the vine.
- plant sunflowers in a wide space to create
a house so that when they grow the kids can play in them.
- buy them at your local nursery and have your
children plant them and nurture them along throughout the summer.
Try more ideas for planning and growing your own food. Growing
an Herb Garden
Grow your food scraps
Earth Day Food and Fun
- Use these
Earth day ideas anytime of year.
Grow and Cook Kids Cooking Camp
Unlike other summer camp curriculum this one is designed to plant
your seeds and watch them grow, then harvest them and try the
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