Christmas preparations delayed my arrival on the plot until 3pm so there wasn't much time before sunset at 4.
With this in mind I set to hoeing the vacant bed for next year's roots where the chickweed had got a hold. Our president, Hugh Merret, assures me that chickweed means that the soil is in good heart and that it can be eaten as a salad crop but for me it is just a nuisance. As I am beginning to experiment with a no-dig policy I couldn't follow my previous practice of turning it in so I got my hoe out.
Not wanting to tread the soil firm just before hoeing I stood on the next door old strawberry bed, which will need digging over to clear the old plants, and hoed a strip while clearing between the young leeks. These have much growing to do to be useful and may, or may not, grow through the winter - as long as there is no competition from weeds! After I had raked the weeds off onto the path I had a strip I could walk on to hoe the rest.
Then, as it got dark, I dug up some leeks to take home - and one (that had split and was dying) to add to the compost. Then I picked a few leaves off Russian Kale and a few leaves of Curly Kale. While doing this I saw how many old leaves were collecting round the brassica plants so I spent a few minutes picking them up and pulling any that had started yellowing on the plants. I finished with quite a big bunch of leaves to add to the compost bin.
It having rained so much recently and the soil being so wet, I then had to spend a few minutes cleaning my tools before putting them in the car to take home - in the gloom of dusk.