There is something cooking in the kitchen, and it is looking far from tasty!
It is a nice mixture of hydrogen chloride and hydrogen peroxide, with a pinch of soil added for flavour. The boiling and simmering of this disgusting soup will remove all the organic material from the soil, leaving us with the pure basics: grains of sand, silk and clay.
These, we analyze with the fancily named Grainsizer 2000, a laser-scanner for particles, that will tell us the soil texture of our samples. Important, as it will help us calibrate the soil moisture measurements from our ‘microclimate daggers’.
As the grain size of a soil defines how much water it can hold, such a calibration excercise is critical to know what water is truly available in these soils we are looking at. A big job, but the team is on it!