Members' Experiments

Are our weeds attracting more beneficial insects than cultivated plants?

Each year we organise several citizen science experiments that our members can participate in to help inform the way we grow organically. This experiment - to look at the wildlife benefits of weeds - is taking place in spring/summer 2023.

Complete the survey

To fill out our 'What do you think of weeds?' survey please click here.

Enter your records

To enter details about the insects you monitored in your garden, please click here.

Background to the experiment

We would like you to find out how well a number of common weeds found in gardens compare to popular cultivated plants in their ability to attract beneficial insects. We're asking members to observe when the weeds and the cultivated plants flower and which insects visit them, over the period of a year.

Despite an increase in the uptake of sustainable gardening practices there is still continued pressure to keep a ‘tidy’ weed free garden, often assisted by the use of synthetic herbicides. Whilst we don’t want our gardens to become overrun with weeds, there is still a happy balance where a more relaxed attitude towards weeds might provide valuable habitats for beneficial insects that boost biodiversity and provide many benefits to the gardener such as pollination and pest control.

There has been work that has demonstrated that some common field weeds are more effective than commonly cultivated plants at attracting a diverse range of beneficial insects. However most of this work was done in field scale situations with less work done in gardens.

Please view the members experiment protocol here.