2019 Members' Experiments

Sign up has now closed for our 2019 Members' Experiments .

This year we offered members the opportunity to participate in up to four experiments, each requiring differing amounts of time and growing experience.

2019 is the 61st consecutive year that we have been running this citizen science research, continually adding to the bank of knowledge in organic growing principles and practices thanks to the hard work and dedication of our members - the Experimenteers.

If you've been unable to join our Members' Experiments this year but are intrigued to give it a go, please do consider signing up next year - the more the merrier!

Please see our 2019 experiments below to give you a flavour of what we do. If you took part this year and need to submit your results, please use the relevant links below.

Experiment 1 - Improving germination of round peas

Many older heritage varieties of peas have a tough seed coat making the seed slow to germinate. We would like to test a number of methods such as scarification and pre-soaking to see if the extra effort is worthwhile. This is a quick experiment to do, and would be suitable for schools to take part.

  • You will need: 1m2 plot or 3 small trays with compost
  • We will supply: Pea seeds and instructions
  • Time required: A few minutes a day for 3 weeks

Enter the results of your experiment here

Experiment 2 - Boosting the population of natural helpers

One of the key benefits of companion planting is that it can attract predatory insects that help to control pests. We would like you to record the predatory insects that visit a range of plants. This will help us build a better idea of suitable plantings to build up populations of predatory insects throughout the growing season. We are particularly keen to try sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) that has recently shown to be good at attracting hoverflies.

  • You will need: 1m2 plot
  • We will supply: Seeds for attractant plants and an identification key for predatory insects
  • Time required: 20 minutes monce a week for 3 months

Enter the results of your experiment here

Experiment 3 - Testing the health of our soil

We all know that a healthy soil is vital for a productive garden, but less of us know how to practically test the health of our soil. We would like to develop a simple soil health kit that is easy for gardeners to use. We will outline a range of tests to try so you can give your garden a soil health check-up. We would then like you to let us know which tests were most useful and practical to do.

  • You will need: A garden will a small patch of soil
  • We will supply: Testing instructions and charts
  • Time required: Total 2 hours, flexible to suit

Enter the results of your experiment here

Experiment 4 - Home grown lentils

The humble lentil was once a common staple peasant food and there is evidence that it was cultivated in the UK, before it became less popular as a food. More recently, Hodmedods, a company specialising in producing UK-grown legumes and grains, has tried a number of varieties, obtained from Sweden and France, and managed to produce several commercial crops in the UK. We would like to test the feasibility of growing them in your own back garden!

  • You will need: 3m2 patch of well-weeded plot
  • We will supply: 3 different varieties of lentils and growing instructions
  • Time required: 30 minutes a week over 4 months

Enter the results of your experiment here