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How to grow a pizza - a pizza garden that is!

Have you ever thought about growing a pizza? You may not be able to grow a plant with pizzas ready to pluck from the vine, but you can grow a garden with pizza ingredients. A pizza garden can be any size or shape, and can easily be grown in containers on a sunny patio or deck, and it’s a fun project for the whole family. It’s also a great way to get children outdoors and motivated to plant and eat veggies.

Here are a few staples to include in your pizza garden but remember, the possibilities are endless so be creative and plant your favorite toppings.

Oregano- This aromatic herb is easy to grow and is one of the few herbs that is stronger when dried than when fresh. Italian Oregano, commonly called "the pizza herb," is a must have for any pizza sauce.

Tomatoes- are a staple for both the pizza sauce and as a pizza topper! Select from a variety of your favorite tomatoes. Choose sweet tomatoes like Sweet and Neat or even add color with a yellow tomato like Lemon Boy.

Peppers- choose from either sweet or hot peppers in a variety of colors for your pie. The classic bell pepper is a sweet pepper and is good way to add color. Try Better Belle or Red Beauty. Hot peppers can spice it up and we like Super Banana or Cayenne.

Basil- This must have is grown for its wonderful sweet flavor. Use in the sauce or top it off with this delish herb. You can use any of the basils, but we really like Sweet Italian Basil.

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Let’s Talk Tomatoes!

Growing your own tomatoes pays huge dividends and it's pretty easy. You can enjoy a homegrown harvest right from your own yard and tomatoes are an easy way to be a backyard farmer. And, best of all homegrown tomatoes taste better than store bought varieties.

To get started, simply choose a few of your favorite tomato varieties or identify how you might want to use the tomatoes. We offer more than 30 different types, so there is surely a palette-pleasing tomato for you.

Here's our favorite tomatoes:

SWEET or CHERRY TOMATOES (great for salads and snacking)

  • Super Sweet 100
  • Sweet Chelsea
  • Sweet and Neat (yellow or red)
  • Grape
  • Husky Red Cherry
  • Sungold

EARLY-FRUITING TOMATOES (get tomatoes sooner)

  • Early Girl
  • Roma

SANDWICH TOMATOES (more beefy, less seeds)

  • Big Boy
  • Better Boy
  • Big Daddy
  • Beefsteak
  • Beefy Boy
  • Mortgage Lifter

SMALL SPACE TOMATOES (perfect for growing in containers)

  • Sweet and Neat (yellow or red)
  • Super Sweet 100
  • Roma
  • Tomatoberry
  • Sungold

HEIRLOOM TOMATOES (specialty varieties)

  • Cherokee Purple
  • Mortgage Lifter
  • Black Pearl
  • Old German
  • Brandywine

After you select the tomatoes that are best for you, you'll want to purchase a tomato cage to keep them upright. For best results and to ensure a bountiful harvest, a cage will support and ensure maximum growth. The cage will give your tomatoes something to grow through and keep the fruit off the ground and help support the stalks and keep them from bending and breaking. We especially love using colorful tomato cage to add a bit of whimsy to your garden.

Finally, to make your tomato plants’ roots strong and your fruit plumper, we recommend using Espoma Tomato Tone Fertilizer. This organic fertilizer feeds your plants naturally and will not force rapid growth at the expense of blooms and tomato yield. We suggest applying Tomato-tone after plants are well established (10 - 14 days) and then twice a month during the growing season (May through August).

TOMATO TIP: When planting tomatoes, we suggest adding lime to the soil to fortify the calcium in the soil thus helping to eliminate a common tomato problem, Blossom End Rot.

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Pallet Gardening

Vertical gardens are all the rage and we are seeing them everywhere made from recycled pallets. From Pinterest to HGTV to all the decorating magazines including Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Living, pallet gardens are everywhere! They are an easy way to garden vertically and there's so many reasons to do it: 1) space limitations, pallet gardens do not take up a lot space; 2) pallet gardens add an architectural element to outdoor decor; 3) fruits & veggie plants lend themselves to growing vertically, like cucumbers or strawberries; 4) increase your growing space. No matter the reason, gardening vertically can be fun and rewarding.... and simply put, pallet gardens look fantastic!

Many veggies and flowers are perfect for growing vertically, just be sure that what you choose has similar water requirements.

RECOMMENDED PLANTS:

  • EDIBLES: strawberries, cantaloupe, cucumber, eggplant, okra, peppers-hot, peppers-sweet, squash, tomatoes, watermelon
  • FLOWERING PLANTS: begonias, marigolds, petunias, celosia, verbena, coral bells, impatiens
  • SUCCULENTS: portulaca, Ice plant, purslane, hens and chicks, sedums

HERE'S HOW YOU DO IT:

We’ve assembled some quick and easy instructions to get you started. We sell two sizes of pre-constructed pallets for easy growing. The pallet is made of untreated pine lined with Typar landscape fabric to keep the soil in place.

  1. Place the pallet on end and fill with potting soil. Be sure not to pack too full so that the landscape fabric is bulging, but tap the soil down so it levels out.
  2. Pick out your plants to use for planting.
  3. Cut or use your fingers to create a small hole or planting pocket (about the size of the roots of the plant) and sprinkle in McDonald Greenleaf fertllizer.
  4. Place plant in the hole and use your fingers to cover the roots with soil.
  5. Space plants out on each row of the pallet. We suggest about 3 inches apart.
  6. Finish planting by adding edibles or flowering plants to the top of the pallet.
  7. Water. When you water, turn it vertical with the open side up and slowly water every 2-3 days during spring, and then almost everyday during summer. Sometimes, water may need to be added directly to young seedlings when pallet is laying flat. But, be sure to allow enough time for the water to seep down through the soil to get to the bottom plants.

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