Tamsin Borlase is the genius behind market garden Bosley Patch, where organic fruit and vegetables thrive.
Visiting Bosley Patch is one of those inspirational experiences that makes you want to never ever lose contact with the earth ever again. For the past seven years, Tamsin Borlase has been running the site as a market garden packed with organic fruit and vegetables, as well as a few lambs, pigs and hens. And a cheeky dog called Pip.
Formerly of the Soil Association, Tamsin set up the garden when her children were young on land near Henley that she grew up on. Her parents live across the lane, and her brother is just down the road too. The little kingdom her family occupies is full of cake, incredible bread, and a lot of hard outdoor work.
She runs the site on organic, sustainable principles, feeding the soil with this amazing 12-year crop rotation, municipal compost, hen and pig manure and her own green waste. Water comes from an impressively small borehole hidden around the back of the site.
There are four polytunnels of varying sizes and a couple of greenhouses which host early salads and tender fruiting vegetables. Tamsin already has more than 200 tomatoes planted out in one of the polytunnels. Another tunnel is made from the discarded lighting rig from a Kasabian gig. This is a very cool garden.
One of the things Tamsin was desperate to be able to provide was an “abundance” of fresh food for her family. “We didn’t want to be extravagant, but we did want the children to always have their food around them, so we could be generous,” she explains, cutting me a very generous bag of polytunnel salads.
The children certainly understand where their food comes from, too. The two friendly Berkshire pigs that are snuffling around on one plot aren’t just there to churn over the soil and dig up the chicory roots that Tamsin uses to break up the hard pan of clay that lies beneath the alluvial topsoil.
The family expect to be well-stocked for gammon, sausages and every other type of pork cut you can imagine. They also keep lambs, which the children both adore and relish eating once their time has come. It’s an impressively practical life that this family leads.
If you want to find out more about Tamsin’s market garden, visit her site. Her blog, which is full of practical tips, is well worth reading. And if you’re lucky enough to live near Henley, then you might be able to order one of her veg boxes.