Potentially far more challenging than preparing the sand was splitting the four species of seed into the right amounts for each plot, and then mixing these with each other and the sand. With 30,000 Meadow saxifrage seeds weighing a whopping 0.6 gram I was worried about a) how to measure this out appropriately, and b) avoiding a sneeze and losing the whole lot. With our most sensitive scales weighing a minimum of 1 gram (but see later), this wouldn’t be done by weight. It would have to be by sight. At least the other three species would be straightforward, as each plot requires 1.5 grams, 3 grams and 5 grams respectively.
Or so I thought. Continue reading
About ten days before we planned to cultivate the plots and sow the seed I met Duncan, our contractor, at the trial site to mark out the plots. Armed with a measuring wheel, a very long tape measure, lots of stakes and a thumper, we planned our strategy. Or, rather, Duncan did. Here he is, working out his cunning plan. Continue reading
Richard’s colleague had provided contact information of a stockist of the plot marker pegs, whose website had a lot of detail. Their sales department was also helpful, so I was able to work out exactly what to buy. They were a bit pricier than I had hoped, but the stockist (M & P Survey Equipment) kindly provided us with a charity discount, which helped. Having looked in the box that arrived here, I’m hoping that Duncan and his men are good at puzzles, because it looks a bit like a Meccano set in there. My job was to paint the numbers 1 through to 12 on the surface marker plates, so that in future years we know where each plot is. I have used a Humbrol paint on the aluminium marker plates – at least I hope I’ve painted on the right bits. Continue reading