Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Citizen Science

There is now a growing movement ( well I've become more aware of it anyway!) towards lots of individuals all across the country observing, watching, trialling or deliberately looking out for things and then feeding that information back to Institutions, Membership Organisations, Universities or even folk like the BBC so that scientists can get a widespread picture of seasons, wildlife, pests and diseases or in our case how well a particular seed type reacts to different growing conditions. Most of you will have heard of things like the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch that I wrote about back in January so you know the sort of thing I mean but there are loads of other examples too so if you fancy giving it a go why not have a hunt around and see what's out there.

This year we signed up for 3 different Garden Organic experiments as things were ticking over nicely and we didn't think they would pose too much of a challenge if anything happened with my health. Luckily we have managed to complete two of them already and still have a little time left to kick off the third without skewing the data too much.

The first test was one for J - he had to run various quick and easy tests at the allotment that in theory, help determine what soil type we have. This he duly did one cold day earlier in the year. The odd thing for us is that we have been using our allotment for 10 years or more so we're pretty familiar with the vagaries of it's soil - it's very clearly, very obviously skin chaffing sand!! -  but it was interesting to see how the tests panned out and hopefully our feedback will help the organisers refine things a bit. We look forward to seeing the outcomes when then are published later this year.

The second test was more fun for me - we had to try to germinate 60 pea seeds of the same type using 3 different preparation methods 20 just popped into a compost tray and watered; 20 pre-soaked over-night and then popped into a compost tray and watered and the final  20 "scarified" - hard outer coat sanded and then popped into a compost tray and watered. Over the next 3 weeks we have had to check them each day to see how many germinate of each type - the ultimate aim is to see whether ether of the preparation methods actually make any appreciable difference to the number of seeds that germinate and the speed they germinate. The bonus is we get some really pretty salmon-flowered pea plants to add to the plot. Our new garden shelves came in really handy for this as I could keep an eye on them without having to slip and slide down the garden too often.

19th March 2019

30th March 2019

10th April 2019

The third and final test we have signed up for is a trial of lentil types to see how viable lentils are as a garden food crop - we have two different varieties and we have to sow some in April and some in May and then check them at agreed intervals. Hopefully J will be able to get that one started this weekend providing I keep the dramatics to a minimum...

1 comment:

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment, due to an upsurge in "odd" comments all comments are moderated. I hope it won't put too many of you off. I think I've also finally fixed the issue that meant we couldn't reply to comments