Gardening Guidance by GardenInMinutes

Looking Back at 2017 Garden Trends

Like anything else, horticulture sees its fair share of yearly trends. Some stick around, some are fun, and some are a little odd. It’s fun to look at trends over the years and how they differ. Whether it’s an aesthetic craze or popular growing technique, gardeners express their creativity through growing trends. These trends usually originate from newly revealed information, a meaningful cause, or from someone’s example. People gravitate towards originality and creativity, and gardens are perfect for showcasing these qualities.

Unique heirloom veggies, tiered garden beds, and organic pesticides are a few examples of trends that have survived their predecessors due to their benefits and results. As we look back on the popular trends of 2017, we have to wonder which ones will go the distance. You may be tempted to try every fresh gardening idea, and you can! They’re interesting and let you expand your gardening creativity. As long as you keep your garden irrigation on point, ensure the climate is right, and give your plants helpful nutrients to feed them, you should be able to experience any garden trend.

The following are a few practices that we’ve seen grow in popularity during 2017. If one sounds particularly fun or innovative that you haven’t tried yet, make 2018 the year you try it!

Heirloom Gardens

Gardens comprised of heirloom vegetables have grown in popularity; this is evident by scrolling through Instagram alone! Heirlooms are beautiful, nutrient-rich, flavorful plants that aren’t hybridized with other varietals. They have a common ancestor and developed through open pollination in specific climates which lead to their unique style. While their yield isn’t as frequent as hybrids, heirlooms are being rediscovered and loved for their rich flavor and local suiting. Heirloom seeds have interesting stories about their parentage and produce less-uniformly, so harvests are spread out. Because they take after their parent, gardeners plant heirlooms accustomed to their region which will yield the strongest results. Of the recent trends, this one has a strong chance of sticking around.

Heirloom Tomato Green

Living Wall

This trend is both aesthetic and growth beneficial. Wall gardens utilize non-traditional space, add unique color and texture, and look beautiful. Acting as living art that can spruce up any environment, wall gardens are a great way to grow things such as herbs and flowers. They utilize minimal space, soil, and water to create a unique take on traditional, horizontal gardens. This trend is, in a way, a part of the urban gardening trend that will be discussed later. Basically, living walls bring gardening to more urban areas that aren’t privy to the ground space typically needed for a garden.

Tiered Gardens

Aesthetic and easier on the back, tiered garden look beautiful because the tiers add an extra dimension. Like building a step garden, these are perfect for showcasing flowers and vined plants or growing tall and short plant on different tiers, simultaneously. The different planting heights can bring short plants such as lettuce up closer to you and keep tall plants such tomatoes or sunflowers at a reasonable height. They give practicality for ease of plant management and aesthetic appeal to a section of your yard.

Tiered Garden Kit

Growing with a Purpose

Pizza gardens, salsa gardens, cocktail gardens, and salad gardens — these are a few examples of gardening with a purpose. This trend is about creating a garden comprised of vegetables used together in one recipe. Most gardens are beautiful, but the vegetables don’t always work together in a meal. Growing with a purpose means the garden, when ready for harvest, can be used in one recipe. The result is a completely homegrown meal, snack, or drink that emphasizes the beauty and tastes of your work. Additionally, it provides an extra incentive to grow. For gardeners who need a goal other than nurturing life, they can create a garden that will be turned into a delicious meal for family and friends.

GardenInMinutes Salsa Garden Guide

Urban Gardening

As mentioned earlier with living walls, urban gardening is a trend quickly growing in popularity. Once common in the early and mid-1900’s, urban gardening is seeing a renaissance. Whether it’s a hanging planter on the windowsill, a small garden bed on a porch, a rooftop raised garden, or converted lot, urban living can support the beauty of a garden with a little creativity. It helps localize some of the urban area’s produce, reduces the transportation needs for food, and introduces plants and vegetables that may not be common to the area.

Enjoy The Trends and Start Your Own!

These are some of the trends that we’ve seen which we think will stick around and continue to grow (pun intended). Many gardening trends are regional due to climate and growing conditions. However, trends can start from anywhere, and if you have an idea, you should share it with fellow gardeners. Who knows, it may become a national trend!

Growing a 'Pizza Garden'

Although new gardeners may be happy with growing anything in their gardens, seasoned gardeners grow with a purpose. They want to put the vegetables they have raised to specific culinary use. Each vegetable could go into a separate meal like tomatoes in a sauce or carrots for a salad, but what if those home-grown veggies were utilized within one recipe? Welcome to the veggie pizza garden!

Pizza is loved by many in part because it can be built to anyone’s specifications. Basically, you can put anything you want on it, and fresh ingredients make a phenomenal pizza. If you want to enjoy the heavenly tastes of fresh garden vegetables, use them atop a pizza. To appropriately plan a veggie pizza garden, you’ll want to know:

• How to space
• When to grow
• What to grow

Gardeners can use many styles of gardening such as pots or row gardening, but the most efficient use of garden space comes from employing the square foot gardening plant spacing method.

Why Square Foot Gardening?

Square foot gardening saves space and water by eliminating the need for walking rows, in favor of planting in more condensed sections in your garden. Using a square foot style garden watering system will separate your garden into these planting squares which are used to organize your planting. Furthermore, it delivers water directly to where it’s needed so less goes to waste. Square foot gardens can be any size, but for the purpose of growing a veggie pizza garden, we will use a 4-by-4 model.

Square foot gardening style garden watering system

Photo by GardenInMinutes

Note: If the square foot gardening planting method is new to you, you can learn more about it in this square foot gardening 101 article.

The Veggie Pizza Garden

As mentioned earlier, pizza topping choices are figuratively endless. This garden plan will focus on the five core ingredients for a veggie pizza, and you, as the gardener, can add/replace vegetables as you see fit. Based on the growing needs of plants in a veggie pizza garden, fall and the early spring (after the final frost) will be the ideal times for warmer states. Late spring and summer will be too hot unless in northern colder states. Overall, the key is to grow these plants in an environment where temperatures won’t consistently drop below the mid 40’s and rise above the low 80’s.

What to Grow:

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a primary pizza ingredient. Used as both a base sauce and topping, a fresh garden tomato can elevate your veggie pizza to new heights. Tomato plants are larger, so only one is permissible per square foot, and they can be harvested around 90 days. The good news is one plant produces multiple tomatoes, which you’ll need to create a sauce and topping slices

Onions: Onions, sliced and grilled, are a staple pizza ingredient. They add a light crunch to the toppings along with a juicy, sharp flavor. Nine bulbs can be planted per square foot and are ready to within 90 to 100 days.

Spinach: Spinach adds texture and some dark green color to pizza, making it look and taste delicious. Like onions, nine spinach plants can be planted per square foot, and they can be harvested in 75 days or so. Extra spinach can be used to create a side salad as well, and don’t forget to top it with some extra sliced tomatoes and onions!

Bell Peppers: Both green and red bell peppers are the “belle” of pizza toppings. They are colorful, crunchy, and are best served roasted to a small char on top. They are similar to tomatoes, with only one plant per square foot. They can be harvested within 60 to 90 days, and some fresh raw slices could accompany your side spinach salad or even top a slice. One caveat to bell peppers — leave at least one planting square between them and tomatoes. If planted in too close of a proximity, the pair create a great environment for the Colorado Beetle, which will give you problems.

Basil: An aromatic and beautiful herb, basil brings out the classic Italian flavor in sauce and as a topping. It can be planted two to a square foot and can be trimmed within 50 days of planting. Harvesting leaves from an herb nurtures further growth, and basil can be used in many other recipes in case you gain a surplus. For pizza sauce, cut the basil into small pieces, and for a topping, try enjoying the leaves whole.

Pizza Garden Planting Layout

Photo by GardenInMinutes

Obviously, you can’t grow cheese, and it’s fairly time-consuming to create your own flour. These things will have to be purchased from your local store, but the sauce and toppings all originate from your very own garden! If you have a 4-by-4 garden, these ingredients only take up five squares. It’s up to you what to do with the remaining 11. You can triple your pizza topping potential or you can add other favorite pizza ingredients like oregano or jalapenos. Regardless, now you have a veggie pizza garden plan to surprise family and friends!