Thursday, July 8, 2010

School shenanigans

So The Wast comes home from school and tells me that the class is going to plant some herbs and vegetables the following week in "Living Skills" (Kamehiran Hidup). "Great," I say.

(Sideways rant: the sale of herbs in their little pots is a complete racket in this country. You can buy them in supermarkets, curiously in -- or next to -- the fresh fruit and vegetable section. But unless you read closely, you won't notice that the bloody things were grown in Genting Highlands. The average temperature @ Genting is 24 degrees C; the average temperature in the rest of the bloody country is 33 degrees C.

What do you think happens to a plant when it's taken out of a chilled environment and let loose under the equatorial sun? R-i-g-h-t. The herbs I do have required great coaxing to achieve even a limited amount of new growth. It's too hot, not enough sun in the shade, too much rain. When I think of the extensive herb garden I had in Melbourne, and compare it to the pathetic little pots I have here, I want to scream.)

"I need a small pot," he says.

"Okay." I go get him one of my old herb containers, a white bowl with a Chinese pattern of a blue fish on it and matching saucer, in melamine. (It was actually a noodle soup bowl, but I drilled some holes in the bottom and voila! window-sill herb pot!)

The next day, he says he also needs some seeds. "But my teacher says to make sure they are for plants that can grow in our climate."

I remember a packet of vegetable seeds in the pantry. Okay. "Anything else?"

Maybe my voice is a bit dry, because he grins. "No, nothing else."

Until yesterday. "Oh, I need soil as well."

"Run out of it in the school grounds have you?" The cats have tipped over my lovely large glazed pot of Thai basil seedlings (furry little bastards), breaking it and scattering potting mix and little green shoots everywhere. I sigh, gather a plastic bag and shovel some mix together for him.

"So," I say, "you're supposed to be learning how to grow things and have had to supply your own pots, seeds and soil. What about water?"

The Wast laughs. "Oh, the teacher will definitely supply that."

I packed a bag for his gardening supplies today...and included a jam jar of water. Wonder if the teacher will detect my sarcasm.

* Kaz Augustin is a very sarcastic writer. You can find her website at She blogs three times a week, more or less, at and also has a food blog at If all that isn't enough, she's also on Facebook and Twitter. Just look for "ksaugustin".


Stefanie Worth said...

I bought into the "tiny pot" racket this summer, investing in a windowsill herb garden kit for my daughter. We have parsley, chives, oregano and cilantro -- of which only the oregano sprouted. Grrr...

Luckily, she conned, er, convinced me to pick up seed packets of the same a few weeks before we saw the cute must-have kit. I dumped in the seeds and hope we'll soon have a full row of sprouts.

While we weren't missing water, patience certainly ought to be a suggested ingredient.

Liane Spicer said...

Heh heh. I remember those school projects vair well. Except that leggy red bean vines in glass jars with soggy toilet paper in the bottom were all the rage then.