Gary Strachan – "Write" Said Fred

Off The Wall Essays From Deep Within A Capricious Mind

Self-Sufficiency in the Suburbs

With a view to creating a herb/salad garden, yesterday I bought some edible plants from the garden centre. Well, if truth be told, I intend to create a couple of tubs of herbs and salad shrubs; calling it a garden is somewhat stretching the growing area’s description.

Consequently, this afternoon I’ll be planting rocket salad, red/orange/yellow peppers, thyme, mint and rosemary into two large pots. Containers that’ll not only provide us with home-grown salad produce, but also provide a fragrant ambience in the garden corner where my wife and I oft enjoy a mid-morning coffee.

I’ve grown herbs before, finding them a reasonably resilient garden tenant who aren’t overly high-maintenance. Unlike caring for your human offspring, you can normally keep them contented enough to flourish with a regular watering. They won’t need to be entertained by a day out on the rides at Alton Towers, or them expect you to pay their monthly mobile phone bill….. You could, of course, take the tub of herbs to Alton Towers if you really wanted to, however as they’d fail the ride height restrictions I’d moot there’d be little point to the excursion.

Mint is a herb I’ve found that thrives with very little care and affection; a secret I’d love to be able to expose. I’m sure it’d been invaluable during my thirty year marriage. In fact, mint is so resilient I’ve found if you plant it in border soil it’ll overtake the flower beds; subsequently, to control it I always plant it in pots. Another advantage rearing plants has over raising kids!

Incidentally, I’m not being serious with my whimsical swipes at the challenges of rearing offspring. They can enhance your life in so many ways that cultivating plants can’t even begin to match….. I’m struggling to think of them at the minute, but I’m sure there’s loads.

The last occasion I planted a tub of various herbs, one of the edible shrubs I planted was marjoram. For the unacquainted, a peppery tasting plant that provides a flavoursome accompaniment to Italian dishes.

Prior to me adding the marjoram to the plant pot, which also contained mint, sage and thyme, my wife picked up the herb to read it’s label. Misreading the plant name as marijuana, she momentarily panicked that we’d breached UK law on possession of recreational drugs.

Despite growing herbs in my garden previously, until today I’d never entered the self-sufficient world of nurturing home-grown salad. I’ve watched 1970’s sitcom The Good Life, whose whimsical plotlines revolve around suburban self-sufficiency, however I’m reliably assured I can’t count that as me living off the land.

good life

As mentioned in paragraph two of this essay, today’s inaugural dabble into the world of cultivating salad is with the pot planting of rocket leaf, along with three different types of sweet pepper. Plants I’ll nurture with the love and care of one of my offspring. I don’t know yet which offspring; however for the salads sake I hope it’s my son, who I’ve a lot more time for than my daughter!…… Again I’m kidding, I dislike them both equally!!

Not only do I intend to undertake horticultural maintenance today but I’ve committed to attempt making a rustic table from some old fencing panels/posts. I’ve never made a table before, but I’ve made a bed (in fact that’s a daily morning task of mine).

However, I’m undeterred by my inexperience at carpentry. On the contrary, I’m confident I’ll have the woodwork wherewithal to create a sufficiently robust piece of garden furniture with discarded wood, and the twelve packets of Blu Tac I bought this morning.

Actually, I need to bring this narrative to a conclusion, I need to crack on with my garden chores….. Incidentally, has anyone got a wood saw I can borrow?

Categories: Blogs, humour, parody

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