Bee a part of it!
All of our projects rely on input from ‘Citizen Science’ – which means we need your help. If you have a spare square metre or so of space, in a garden, allotment, back yard or even an open balcony, and fancy joining in with with any of our projects in 2016, then let us let us know.
Bees 'n Beans
The eponymous project, Bees 'n Beans aims to look at pollinator populations across the UK, with the help of Citizen Scientists. Growing three broad bean plants and performing a simple pollination experiment (involving net bags, and a bit of manual help for some flowers!), will allow us to compare yields of beans from across the country, and see if the bees are doing their job.
This year we are asking volunteers to try growing beans both in 3L pots and in their garden soil, to see if the need for pots can be removed from the protocol, and if this helps with the robustness of the plants.
You can keep track of our progress here, or on our twitter, @LJBees.
Bee-friending your garden: Companion planting.
This is a new experiment this year, focused in Brighton, where we are hoping to look at if growing ‘bee-friendly’ flowers (or any flowers, really) close to crop plants can improve their harvest. There is plenty of advice on how growing these flowers will help support bees - but does that mean the bees will do a better job too?
Would we be better off with vegetables in the flowerbed (or flowers in the veggie bed), or are some companions not-so-friendly? Let's find out.
Shopping in the garden
Growing your own food is rewarding and fun, and it's always nice to know how well you've done in the year. We're going to be looking for gardeners / allotment holders / people with particularly enthusiastic window boxes, to record the yields of fruits and veg they make over the year. We can compare the price of similar items in supermarkets or specialist growers, and get an idea of how much your local pollination was worth over the year!
This project is in the process of being updated for 2016, with a much easier-to-use spreadsheet to give you instant results - so you can see as you harvest, how much it has paid off.
Get the Buzz with Sussex
We are also pleased to be a part of the new Sussex Citizen Science initiative - the Buzz Club
Why are some species disappearing, and how quickly? How many are left, and where are they found? What about our garden favourites – how are they doing? And what can we best do to help? How can we turn our gardens into havens for bees, hoverflies, and other wildlife?
The Buzz Club aims to answer these questions by bringing together the enthusiasm and curiosity of the UK public, with the latest large-scale "citizen science" projects from the University of Sussex.