Say Goodbye to Picky Eaters and Hello to Little Pizza Gardeners
Getting children to eat their vegetables is not an easy task. Enter: gardening. It’s a great way to get them involved in understanding and appreciating where their food comes from. The good news is that you don’t need to live on a farm for your children to experience farm-to-table eating or learn life skills in nurturing and responsibility. Growing a pizza garden with your children is the perfect way to combine food education and appreciation.
Even the pickiest kids love pizza. Sadly, pizza doesn’t grow on trees, but the delicious toppings do! Their reward for their hard work will be a delicious homemade pizza made of freshly picked ingredients and lots of love!
All you need is a sunny space to dig, plant, and watch your garden come to life. The vegetables listed below can be grown in pots and on patios if there’s adequate sunshine. You’ll also need to make sure the pots drain properly, and you may need to water them a bit more than plants grown directly in the ground.
What Tools Do You Need?
- Seeds or seedling plants
Although growing from seed takes a little longer, there is more opportunity for learning. However, young children can be impatient and with seedlings they will see faster results.
- Organic, all-purpose vegetable fertilizer or compost
- Tomato Cage (for staking your tomatoes)
- Child Friendly Gardening Tools
What Should You Plant in Your Pizza Garden?
Bring your children with you to the nursery and allow them to help select the seeds or plants. If you don’t have much of a green thumb, invite an employee over to talk to your children about how to properly care for their new plants.
Plants in a pizza garden tend to grow well when planted together. Often herbs like oregano and parsley act as a natural, protective barrier against pesky bugs that try find their way into your garden.
Tomatoes: Roma varieties are flavorful and work best as they are a bit sweeter than other varities. Tomatoes require plenty of sun and lots of water. Once harvested, tomatoes can be easily blended with olive oil and fresh herbs to make a tasty tomato sauce base.
Bell Peppers: This is where you can grow a rainbow of colors for your garden. Choose a variety of red, green, yellow, and orange bell peppers.
Herbs: Oregano, parsley, and basil grow very quickly, a bonus for young ones with little patience. If you grow an abundance of herbs, extras can be made into pesto by processing basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, lemon juice, and olive oil together and freezing it in ice cube trays for easy portioning. The frozen pesto cubes will last 9-12 months. They can also be a great alternative to using a tomato sauce base for your pizza.
Garlic: You probably already have this ingredient at home! Peel and plop a few cloves into the soil and you will have a fresh garlic bulb in no time.
You can grow any vegetable for pizza, but I suggest sticking to the kid-friendly favorites above.
Once your vegetables are ready, it is time to harvest your crop. Wash them well and have an adult slice them and place them into bowls along with your other pizza toppings. Allow your children to get creative and decorate their pizzas to their liking.
Remember that for these plants to thrive, watering and weeding must happen. This is a good opportunity to teach patience! Not only will growing a pizza garden with your kids result in one of their favorite homemade meals, but it will also teach them how to cultivate important life lessons along the way.
Lastly, take pictures as your plants grow so you can reflect on the journey together. Be sure to include one of your children eating their pizza creation they proudly grew themselves as a keepsake.
How do you include your kids in the cooking process?
I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Life Coach working in Vancouver, BC that specializes in eating behaviour and body liberation. I am deeply passionate about helping people re-connect to their bodies through movement therapies, make peace with food and step into their personal power so they can live whole-hearted and fulfilling lives.