Chef Barry on duty making homemade pizzas from his own gourmet garden.

The recipe to make yours the perfect pizza garden

Our Gourmet Gardener, Tara Kate Linnane, looks at the growing popularity of pizza ovens and how you can create your very own pizza garden!

With these ongoing lockdowns, we have been forced to innovate. Many of us have looked towards gardening and cooking for activities and goals to focus on.

One of the trends I have seen grow in recent times is the art of pizza making, and particularly the popularity of home pizza ovens.

Combining food and gardening is an exciting way of thinking and especially when the goal is to grow your own pizza garden!

If there is a corner of the garden that is crying out for a spring makeover, why not create your own pizza corner?

The majority of pizza toppings can be grown in your Irish back garden: tomatoes for the sauce, herbs and veg for the toppings.

Let's start with the basics: what would a pizza party be without tomatoes? Tomatoes can be bought as young plants or can be started from seed indoors. The method is the same as all seeds - sprinkle lightly into a tray or container filled with soil and keep moist and on a sunny windowsill. Once the tomatoes have germinated and have their true leaves, you can prick them out and pot them on into larger pots. You can plant them outside when the days are long and warm, so they can flower and fruit.

You will need a couple of plants so you can harvest enough for your pizza parties in summer. Try growing a few varieties to add colour to the homemade pizzas. Growing herbs in the garden is a great way to easily produce tasty herbs that will add flavour to your cooking.

Pizzas are adaptable to different tastes and preferences but adding herbs fresh from the garden is a great way to add flavour and interest to your meal.

To create a pizza herb corner, I believe there are a few essentials you will need to grow, including oregano, basil, chives, thyme and rosemary. Oregano tastes best on pizzas with a savoury meat such as sausage or with mushrooms – simply sprinkle or crush dried oregano on top of the pizza as desired.

For these herbs it is important that they get a good amount of sunlight and warmth, so, if there is a sunny corner, it would be ideal.

Toppings can be grown to personal taste but try some home grown onions and even some chillies, although if you don't have a greenhouse or polytunnel, they will need to be grown indoors.

Now is the time to sow aubergines also, so if they are a favourite pizza topper make sure to get growing now. Harvest your crops as you need them for pizzas.

There are a few options for pizza ovens available, and the most popular is probably the Ooni or the Gozney Roccbox. They both have a gas option for ease of use, which I highly recommend. They are certainly an investment but, at the end of the day, when we are spending more time at home entertaining ourselves, I believe it is warranted.

Creating your pizza garden can be a great summer activity for kids. It is no secret that every kid loves pizza. In fact, it is safe to assume that all adults love pizza too. Pizza is not only enjoyable to eat, but is fun to make with kids. You can even teach your children to grow their own pizza gardens.

Participating in fun activities like these, children will build self confidence, along with a sense of accomplishment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

• Tara Kate Linnane is passionate about sustainability and growing all things edible.

Together with her husband Barry, she has embarked on a journey of designing edible spaces and getting others started on their gardening adventures. Follow their journey on Instagram @twopeas_inapolytunnel or visit thefoodscapedesignco.com to make contact for information.

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