If you were to ask your keiki where pizza comes from, what might they say? Now, imagine telling them you were going to grow your own pizza. Do you think they’d believe you? Well, we’re going to walk you through how to use a container garden approach to grow the ingredients you need to make pizza at home.
Ingredients to be grown can include tomatoes, basil, oregano, bell pepper, chive or onion, and parsley. Ask the kids what vegetables or herbs they would put on their pizza.
Selecting a Container
Choosing the containers to use for a container garden can be so much fun. This is where your family can get really creative. Traditional planting pots are an obvious choice, but so many other things can be reused and repurposed into containers for planting. Get the kids involved and have them go on a “container scavenger hunt”. Look around your house or in your garage: Do you have used soda bottles, large tin cans, milk jugs, or big plastic jars that once held protein shake mix or peanut butter? Great! What about five-gallon buckets, old laundry baskets, or old dresser drawers? Even a broken wheelbarrow will do! All of these things can be used as containers. You can have the kids paint and decorate the containers before you plant into them.
Some things to consider when choosing a container are size, drainage, and safety.
- Size: Smaller containers dry out faster and will need more frequent watering. Large containers, once filled, will be hard to move, so be sure to put them where you want them before filling them up with soil and plants. Lastly, shallow containers may not have enough room for deep rooting plants, so be sure you’re choosing containers with enough depth to give plant roots room to grow.
- Drainage: Drainage is essential. While different types of plants have different water requirements, plants generally don’t like having “wet feet”. If your container doesn’t have drainage holes present you can create them yourself. If it is necessary to drill a hole, it’s important to use the correct drill bit for the material you’re working with and to always wear proper eye protection. If planting more drought-tolerant plants like succulents, you can add cinder, gravel, or rocks at the very bottom of the container to aid in drainage.
- Safety: We highly encourage reusing and repurposing containers, but please be sure that the container did not previously hold any toxic substances. All containers should be thoroughly washed and disinfected before use.
Preparing your containers
- Use a potting mix to fill the containers and add slow-release fertilizer. It’s not recommended to use soil from your yard or existing garden, as it can be too heavy for containers and might contain weed seeds.
- Place your containers where they will get at least six hours of sunlight per day. One of the best parts of container gardening is that they can be moved if you feel they’re getting too much or too little sun.
- Containers tend to dry out faster than your in-ground soil garden, so be sure to check soil moisture levels often. Be aware though that overwatering is just as harmful to plants as underwatering. The potting medium should feel moist like a wrung out sponge, not soggy.
- Place containers in an area where they are protected from really harsh winds. If needed, you can put up a “wind block” to protect them using on-hand materials like bamboo or fencing with weed mat or fabric attached.
Start with Seeds, Transplants, or Cuttings
You can choose to plant your own seeds, transplant starts that you’ve purchased, or take cuttings to fill in your container. The options are varied based on what you have access to and what you want to grow!
Other Fun Ideas
A salsa garden with onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and peppers.
An edible flower garden with nasturtium, borage, calendula, and marigolds.
An herbal tea garden with chamomile, mint, lavender, lemon balm, echinacea, and stevia.
Happy gardening from Grow Some Good!
Grow Some Good is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating hands-on, outdoor learning experiences that cultivate curiosity about natural life cycles, connect students to their food sources, and inspire better nutrition choices. In addition to helping establish food gardens and living science labs in local schools, we provide resources and curriculum support through community partnerships in agriculture, science, food education, and nutrition.