2016 Members' Experiments update

Persian clover

With our 2016 members' experiments well under way we thought we'd update you on how we're getting on with the three experiments here at Ryton Organic Gardens.

Using Persian clover as a no dig green manure

The Persian and Crimson clover got off to a shaky start. It emerged OK, but got eaten by sitona weevils, so we had to resow it at the beginning of May. This was the case for many members who requested seed for resowing. The cold spring did not help matters, making the clover grow slowly leaving little leeway for pest damage.

The second sowing did much better and reached full ground cover by the end of June, with very little weeding needed. The Persian clover was quicker to flower at 6 weeks after sowing, followed by the crimson clover at just over 9 weeks.

Both are great to look at now, and there is a lovely smell of sherbet wafting over from the Persian clover flowers! When these crop have finished flowering, they will die down naturally and form a mulch to leave over the winter, ready for the next season.

Growing field beans for human consumption

At Ryton, our field beans and broad beans got off to a promising start, but were badly attacked by slugs just before harvesting at the end of June, so yields were poor. We had no problems with blackfly or bruchid beetle this year. Broad beans were higher yielding than the field beans.

We found that the field beans tasted nice and sweet if you ate them small, but developed a bitter taste more quickly than the broad beans if the beans were allowed to become large and tough. Most of our fellow experimenters will have finished harvesting by the middle of August, so we're looking forward to finding out how they got on.

A survey of vegetable growing and seed saving – who saves seeds and who doesn’t?

We have had a good response from the seed saving and vegetable growing survey, so a big thanks to those that have filled out the survey and returned it. If you signed up for this experiment at the beginning of the year but haven't sent your results in yet you don’t need to wait until the September deadline before you return it. Also remember, you don’t have be a seed saver to fill out the survey. We are interested in hearing from those who don’t save seeds too so that we can build up a realistic picture of who does what.

How to submit your results

  • post to Garden Organic, Wolston Lane, Ryton on Dunsmore, Coventry, CV8 3LG,
  • email to experiments@gardenorganic.org.uk
  • enter online by logging in to the Garden Organic members' area here.

About Garden Organic Members' Experiments

We have been running our citizen science projects with Garden Organic members for almost as long as the charity has been going. Every year Garden Organic members are invited to take part in a number of experiments which help expand knowledge of organic growing. We always aim to offer a range of experiments suitable for all gardening abilities and growing spaces. Next year's experiments will be published in the Autumn/Winter edition of The Organic Way so keep a look out.

If you are interested in getting involved but are not currently a Garden Organic member, please click here for more information about joining us.

Posted: 
Wednesday, 10 August 2016