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Transform Your Garden into a Pizza Lover’s Paradise with This Step-by-Step Plan

Transform Your Garden into a Pizza Lover’s Paradise with This Step-by-Step Plan

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Pizza gardens are a way to grow your own pizza toppings. For a summer family activity, there’s not much that can beat picking fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden, making a base, and topping it off with freshly picked vegetables with a healthy dose of herbs to add a flavorful kick to pizzas.

Take your culinary talents to new heights by planting a pizza garden to give you the garden-to-pizza experience.

The Plants Typically Included in a Pizza Garden


Red onions are for salads and don’t need cooked. White/yellow onions are cooking onions. Depending on your preference for a pizza topping, grow the type you like. Red onions for crunchiness, or white/yellow cooking onions if you prefer your onions roasted or caramelized.

For something with a bit more sweetness, sweet onions like Granex have a mild onion flavor but with a much sweeter kick to them because they’re higher in sugar content.


Peppers are a staple on pizza toppings and are what gives vegetarian pizzas their unique taste. The flavor can be completely transformed by swapping the variety of pepper used.

For sweetness, the traditional bell pepper is used. For spice, there’s hotter varieties such as cayenne peppers, and the Habañero Pepper.

There are over 4,000 varieties of chile peppers, most of which are easy to grow at home. Whether you can use them as a pizza topping depends on your palate. Each pepper is rated for heat using the Scoville scale – a measurement of Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

These are used to categorize peppers as either mild, medium, hot, extra hot, or extremely hot. It’s based on the concentration of capsaicin. The more capsaicin, the hotter the pepper.

The spiciest peppers are almost pure capsaicin. With one of these, you’ll likely taste no other topping on the pizza for the overpowering kick of the pepper. Choose these wisely!


Mushrooms aren’t plants. They’re a type of fungi, and they can’t go in a garden bed because they need kept in the shade continuously. The most common types of gourmet mushrooms – the types used as a pizza topping – are oyster, shiitake, and button mushrooms.

If you want to grow your own mushrooms, the easiest way to is to begin with a mushroom growing kit. A specialist in this type of setup is Mushroom Adventures, based in San Francisco. The website covers a range of kits with instructions on how to grow your own mushrooms using them.

If you don’t want to buy a kit, see what’s involved, and devise your own growing method and start experimenting.

Paste Tomatoes

Paste tomatoes differ from regular tomatoes used in salads. There’s less seeds and water stored in paste tomatoes making them perfect for cooking down into a thick tomato sauce.

A few popular varieties are Roma paste tomato, Amish paste tomato, and the crown of the crowd is the Italian San Marzano paste tomato.

Beefsteak Tomatoes

If you love your tomatoes and want a tomato base and fresh tomato slices for topping your pizza off, grow both types of tomatoes. Use the paste tomatoes to cook down into tomato sauce, and the big round slicing tomatoes – the ones that can be eaten raw and still be full of flavor.

The Herbs to Grow for Flavorsome Pizza Toppings


Oregano can be bitter and sweet. It depends what other combinations are on your pizza. Where this excels is on extrapolating the flavors of cheese. A little of this goes a very long way.

A terrific way to use it is to add the micro-leaves pre-bake and let the oregano blend into the melted cheese.


Basil can pull double duty as a pizza topping. You can pop it in with your tomatoes to cook them down into a tomato and basil sauce to use the base layer. Then, when it’s ready for serving, garnish with a freshly cut sprinkling of basil.


Just like basil, you can ground garlic and toss in the tomato sauce for a spicier base paste. Another thing garlic is good for adding flavor to the pizza crust.

Break open a garlic clove, dice it up and toss it in pan with butter, then brush the pizza crust with the garlic butter for a garlic bread base for your pizza.


If you’re going to grow mushrooms for a pizza topping, thyme is a good accompaniment. Just like oregano brings out the flavor of cheese, thyme has a similar effect on mushrooms, giving the toppings a hint of sweetness. Like most herbs, the same rule applies – a little goes a long way.

The majority of fruit, vegetables, and herbs are summer growing plants. Things like onions and garlic can be grown in a winter vegetable garden.

If you plan to keep your pizza garden going through different seasons, you’ll want to use mulch. There’s benefits to be had by mulching a vegetable garden, at any time of the year, but more so in the cooler and wetter seasons.

Choosing the Perfect Spot for Your Pizza Garden

You can grow vegetables in containers, directly in a flower bed, or in raised garden beds. For all plants and herbs, except for mushrooms, there are all-round conditions that each need to be able to fully mature, ripen, and contain the most flavors for cooking with.

Assessing sunlight and soil conditions

For the majority of fresh vegetables, each are going to require between 6 and 8 hours of sunlight daily for optimum growth. How they grow is reliant on the soil bed they are grown in being of good quality.

The soil conditions required for both vegetables and herbs need to be well-draining. Loamy soils have more of the essential nutrients that plants require as opposed to clay like soils. If your soil is of poor quality, address that with a multipurpose soil.

Prepping for Planting a Pizza Garden

This part is laying the groundwork or prepping the foundations for planting.

Step 1: Clear away debris, weeds and loosen the soil

Before you can plant anything, you need the soil to be prepared. It can’t be clumpy, have debris like rocks and stones, or have any weeds that will steal the nutrients, outcompeting your plants.

For weed removal, pull them out, ensuring you get them from the roots. If you’re going to till the garden soil, keep an eye out for weeds germinating because often when you turn the soil, it brings weed seeds to the surface. They’ll be the first to germinate. When they do, rip them out.

The purpose of prepping the soil is to get it loose enough for the roots of your plants to be able to latch onto. It’s the soil that’s going to be nourishing the plants with nutrients from the soil and water.

Step 2: Add soil amendments

It’s unlikely garden soil will have sufficient nutrients to support plant growth. The role of soil is mainly for structural support for plants root systems. Topsoil or compost replenish the nutrients, amending the soil to be suitable for growing plants.

If you find your working with land that’s more clay than soil, it’s easier to start growing in raised garden beds or containers than it will be to amend clay soil without tilling it. That’s backbreaking work!

Easier is to fill a raised garden bed with quality soil and put something permeable on the bottom of a raised garden bed to assist with drainage.

If you’re wondering what to use, go with a multipurpose soil for planting a pizza garden. Compost is different as that’s used to add nutrients to the soil. Don’t be tempted to plant in compost without soil.

Compost is good, but it’s not THAT good!

Step 3: Level the soil

Garden beds should be level to assist with equal water distribution. If you’re putting a raised bed on uneven or sloping ground, water is going to pool to the lowest end, leaving the plants at the highest elevation struggling for nutrients. If your garden is sloped, you’ll want to address that by raising the height at one end to be level with the other.

For vegetables patches on the ground, simply take a spirit level to make sure it is entirely flat. With the soil loosened, it’s as easy as taking a piece of wood and dragging it. Any dips you find, fill it in with soil.

Step 4: Designing the layout of plants

All your plants are going to have different growing traits. Vining tomatoes and peppers are likely to need trellis support as they become more mature. Bulbous plants like onions grow low to the ground. Each seed packet will have planting instructions for the amount of spacing required.

Onions can be planted with 2” spacing between them. The roots of oregano form into a spreading clump so to prevent them clashing with other plants, they need more space of around 8” to 10”.

For Roma, and similar paste tomatoes, they need planted deep into the soil, and because they can grow to around 6ft, they’ll eventually require trellis support. That’s the same for bell peppers.

As for spacing, that’s dictated by the type of tomato plant. Determinate plants (meaning they set all the fruits at once and stop growing at a specific mature height) require less spacing than indeterminate varieties, but still a minimum of 12”.

Indeterminate tomato plants are vining varieties that keep growing, and producing fruit throughout the year, providing they have the growing conditions. Those need two to three feet of spacing.

When planning your layout, consider the benefits of companion planting because planting dill or basil near tomatoes can help deter pests from invading the tomato plant, staving off potential disease.

Step 5: Get Planting

Last, is the fun part you’ve been working toward and that’s getting your pizza garden growing. Some can be started indoors and transplanted to the garden, or they can be grown from seed directly in the garden bed. The seed packets contain the instructions.

The important parts are the depth to plant and spacing to leave around each of them. You can’t have them competing for nutrients from the soil, because there will be no winners.

For those with a lack of garden space, or any growing space, relegating your growing area to indoors, you can still grow all the pizza toppings you want. To learn more about that, read our guide on How to Grow Plants Indoors without Sunlight! You’d be surprised at the things you can grow in the most compact of spaces.

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