Ashley Bodkins (University of Maryland Faculty Extension Assistant & Master Gardener Coordinator, Garrett County) gave a great presentation yesterday on creating a pizza garden, the latest installment in the series Garrett County Vegetable Gardening Classes and Events. A pizza garden is not the successor to spaghetti growing on trees J; it’s a theme garden based on planting toppings one might want for a pizza (sorry, no pepperoni). The basic idea is to take a circular plot and section it off into six “slices” and then plant something in each section. The typical “ingredients” in a pizza garden are tomatoes, onions, peppers, parsley, basil, and oregano. If you want to build a bigger pizza garden, additional possibilities include garlic, rosemary, and wheat.
Nearly every attendee shared a piece of gardening wisdom:
- Plant onions close together, and then harvest every other one for spring onions
- If you want a perfectly developed onion, look for 13 leaves—the larger the leaf, the larger the bulb will be
- If you have limited space, try a high producing variety of basil such as Pesto Perpetuo (Ocimum basilicum citriodorum)—these columnar plants can grow up to 4 feet tall!
- If you take steps to protect your parsley over the winter, it will come up the second year (even in Garrett County!). Otherwise, this biennial is an annual
- The more you pinch oregano, the bushier it will get
- Hardneck varieties of garlic produce a false flower stalk called a scape—pick the scapes when they start to curl and then chop them and use them in place of garlic or spring onions (FYI, there are a number of interesting posts on garlic scapes on the blog—just search "scape" in the singular and plural)
- Most home gardeners are not going to grow, harvest, and process wheat but winter wheat would make an awesome cover crop for the whole pizza garden