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The current fine weather combined with our spring water for irrigation has brought many crops on earlier than usual. Although the weeding is never under control, there is currently no danger of losing anything to weeds. The wood chip compost has come into its own, but benefits hugely by being passed through the tractor mounted shredder, to break up any small pieces of wood. It's used mainly as a mulch around newly transplanted vegetables. This week the outside courgettes were planted out, along with most of the squashes.

Today we transplanted the celery and celeriac into beds that only a few days ago were a green manure. It's all a bit experimental, with the objective of reducing cultivations and keeping the tractor wheels off the beds. The grass/clover mix was first flailed very short, followed by a couple of passes of the stone burier. This leaves a beautiful tilth of fine soil, firmly rolled, and overlying the clods of green manure. The celeriac went in quite well until the bottom of the row, where the transplanter dug into the clods. The next pass, for the celery, was much worse, and was abandoned after a few metres. The plants were rescued and replaced into their module trays, and the stone burier re-mounted, set to cultivate deeper. This made the tractor work very hard and took several more passes before the bed was ready. Anyway, the plants are all in now and have been mulched and irrigated. Considering this area hadn't been cultivated for several years and is not our best ground, we shouldn't have been surprised that it was so hard. Provided the bed positions remain the same year on year, and the compost mulching continues, it should get much easier. Also, this narrow strip was the only part of the green manure not to have included deep rooting chicory in the mix.

Covid 19 Update: There are still limited UK crops available at the moment, so we are dependent on what the wholesalers can provide. However, the supply of produce has improved recently, and we have more of our own produce available. We have decided to reduce all contact to a minimum in the hope that we remain uninfected and can continue working. If anyone here becomes ill, it is likely to cause a suspension of deliveries. If you are self-isolating, please let us know by email what arrangements you have in place to avoid contact with your driver. We will still need empty boxes back, please, and it is more important than ever to keep them dry and serviceable. May you all avoid the virus, and if not, then make a full recovery.

Tea and cakes at our open day



Leeks planted through ground cover


Brassicas planted through clover


Compost made from docks


Arkstone Mill Produce, Arkstone Mill, Kingstone, Hereford HR2 9HU
Tel: 01981 251135
paul@arkstonemill.co.uk