Busy Busy Busy

Quite how it has got to February already I am not sure but this is one of the first moments I have had chance to sit down in front of my computer and pen my latest post. Many like to ease themselves gently into work after the jollity and frivolity of Christmas but not Team Efficient!!

On our return from the festive break we immediately spent a day recording the number of leaves of the plants in our 7000 pots and then spent the next three days chopping them all up!! We score each plant as we harvest them as to whether they are dead or alive and then they get put in the oven to dry down ready to take dry weights which we then use in our analysis. The ovens live in their own building and are managed by Chris who very kindly puts up with us filling them up with all our blackgrass samples. And I literally mean ‘filling’……..


There was then a very quick turn around to sow the next 7000 pot experiment! The seeds all got put into the incubator to germinate and then another three days of sowing them all during which I amassed approximately 56,000 steps putting all the pots into their correct randomisation as discussed in The Importance of Being Random

In amongst all this flurry of activity in the glasshouse, the plants that live out on the sandbeds have started to grow too. And of course they can’t grow without us checking up on them every so often which of course means measuring them. Currently every fortnight they get the height of the tallest leaf measured and the number of tillers counted and this will continue for a few weeks to come. Doing this for nearly 3000 plants is not easy, particularly in a day, which is often the only time we have available. Imogen has very kindly been my scribe on a couple of occasions and we even managed to coax Lieselot out of the lab to help us this week. There are certainly muscles in my legs I didn’t know I have.


Today I have actually been wearing a white lab coat, which is rare for me I will admit but safety always comes first when spraying herbicides. The plants in the current 7000 pot experiment had reached approximately 3 leaf growth stage and so are ready for spraying. This task takes three days using three different herbicides and we’re half way through. Going to be a long end to the week I think.

And the story of the picture on the front of this blog post?  It is there to remind us all that no matter how old you are and the size of the task you have in front of you, there is always time in life for when you see an empty box and you have the urge to get in it and you do.



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