The Good Life, condensed version

Tom, Barbara, Jerry and Margo

I often dream of growing enough fresh produce that I’m totally self-sufficient, (just like in The Good Life, except I get to have the pragmatism of Barbara, a hotter husband than Tom, and the wardrobe and attitude of Margot). 

Then I wake up, realise my alloted growing area is only the size of a single bed, and have to adjust my sights on a relentlessly edited selection of few plants and zero animals (a recent pet lamb lasted less than 24 hours before an irate neighbour threatened to call the police due to “excessive bleating”.  Riiiiiiiight.  May you be cursed with foot-rot, you cranky little ovine-hater). 

My condensed selection of plants have to repay limited time and barely any effort with usefulness, taste and good looks.  The chosen few to outperform so far include:

1. Silver Beet: full of iron, quick growing, hard to kill.  If you want to get all fancy, the colourful stems of rainbow shard are the painted jezebels of the silver beet world.

2. Rocket/Arugula: this aptly named energetic green needs to be shown discipline, or it will blast through the whole garden.  It’s a nutritional powerhouse relative to its paler salad companions, being full of Vitamin C and iron amongst other things.  

3. Herbs: firstly the tough guys, rosemary and mint (the latter in a pot, since it tends to invade your lawn, your path, and then Poland).  Next the contents of the classic bouquet garni: bay (in a pot, or your well manner bush becomes an outspoken tree), parsley and thyme.  

‘These edited edibles don’t deliver self-sufficiency, but they do give your environment a pinch of down-home earthy Barbara-type goodness (without the dorky husband). (And zero bleating).


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Caito on June 10, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Ah… “The Good Life”… careful what you wish for … we have a lot more space and I rarely see my husband in the house on weekends for the amount of work needed in the vege patch! (at least when we’re home in the ‘Berra) – hello permaculture! And sometimes he looks a lot like Tom to me. (Even without the farm-sized plot to work on, he’s dreaming up aquaponic solutions to growing some of our own produce while living in the tropics! hmmm… and there are those chickens…)

    Your single bed sized plot sounds more my speed. Realistic, not too time consuming (like the whole weekend, every weekend) and a great selection of essentials, although I would add tomatoes in there somewhere as there’s nothing quite like fresh tomatoes and herbs… Although I guess it depends on your climate.


    • I’d never thought of ‘Permaculture’ as the culture of being permanently in the garden – now it all makes sense.
      I’m jealous of your urban farm and its cultivating possibilities, but I know it wouldn’t actually fit with a lifestyle that also involves work and family – it’s just a beautiful concept that makes me want to slip on my trusty denim shirt, gardening gloves and wellington boots and head out into the sun with a basket over my arm.. (Did Barbara and Tom ever actually work? Perhaps they were part of that wonderful British class, the Trustafarians?).


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