The Emerson Kitchen Garden
Gardener Trude talks about her time at Emerson
I came here first to Emerson as a student in September 2014, to do the biodynamics course. I had been planning for some time to come but I had to wait until my youngest daughter moved out to start university. Eventually that happened and I could start my biodynamic training.
Part of the course was to restart the kitchen garden again, together with Janice Witherspoon and Nik Marten. I worked on this project every Monday, and on Thursday afternoons. I learnt a lot. We had to restore the glasshouse, with glass recycled from a Michael Hall greenhouse. The fields were overgrown, so we needed to cultivate them, before we sowed and planted out little seedlings. Three other mornings every week, I worked at Tablehurst farm in the garden. That was a very different setting - a large garden with a shop to supply. When my year at Emerson was over, Tablehurst farm agreed to take me on as an apprentice for one year. And then Emerson asked if I would take on the biodynamic garden at the College.
It is both strange and wonderful to be back in the Emerson garden. I really love the atmosphere here. The peace and the beauty. The robins that always keep me company when I start to dig. The visitors that come by. I hope to be able to keep this up, and to grow more food and flowers for the people living here.
Right now it is a more quiet time in the garden. We still have some crops we regularly bring to the kitchen. And the planning for next spring has of course started: what crops to grow, how to organise the rotation, looking in seed catalogs.
Next spring we will expand to the other side of the hedge. We have already put horse manure and leaf mould on the soil, and will try out a “no dig”approach. This new plot will become squash and brassica beds next spring. We will also expand with the light root. This fall we harvested 23 kg. There are not very many people in England growing this, so I feel very grateful to be included in this project, and looking after these beautiful plants. You can read more about the light root here.
Back in Norway I have 4 children. They are all grown up, and are busy with work and studies. But they come regularly to visit, and they all think Emerson is a very special place. I still live at Tablehurst farm, and together with my partner Torsten we are houseparents in Tablehurst Cottage.
Do feel free to come and visit me in the garden.