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How to Make Soil Pies

Hi Flog!

So, remember the micro- pipette method I mentioned a couple days ago? Well, as the name implies, everything is micro- the sample size, the vials, the pans, and the numbers.  The process begins by weighing out 2 grams of each soil sample. Each sample is put in individual “tornado tubes” AKA vials filled with 20 ml of both water and sodium hexametaphosphate (try saying that ten times!). Vials are then shaken for approximately 30 minutes to create a uniform solution. Then, drum roll please…., comes the macro part of the process, the settling time. A 1 hour and 45 minute settling time… But this wait means I have time to write to all of you!

After the wait, comes the final part of the micro-pipette process that involves separating the clay and sand components of each sample into two different miniature pie pans. That means that 10 samples = 20 pans, 20 samples =40 pans, and 25 samples = 50 pans, etc etc etc… Guess how many samples I did today??!! 50! That’s 100 mini soil pies! Sometimes I feel like a professional baker making this many pies!

 

Anyway, as my first week at the garden comes to an end, I’ve developed more efficient methods and routines to help me be as productive as possible .I might even get close to finishing all 300 samples by the end of next week.  I’ve also been introduced to an amazing community of scientists and can’t wait to learn more about their research!

Till next week!

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