Finally, we've had some much needed rain! Hooray! I hope it's perking up your plots.
Last week some of you came along to our Pollinator Training Event at the Brighthelm Centre in town. It was lovely to meet so many of you and everyone seemed very enthusiastic about taking part in Team PollinATE. Hopefully you all came away understanding a bit more about the aims of the project and why we are interested in studying pollinators in allotments at Sussex University. Namely, we would like to answer the following questions:
1. Which pollinators visit which flowering crops grown in allotments?
2. Are allotment crop yields limited by a lack of pollinators?
3. Which pesticides are used in allotments, and on which crops?
If you weren't able to come along, don't worry, all the information you need to take part is up on the site now. You can read or download a copy of the instructions, as well as ID guides to help you tell the different types of pollinator apart, and data collection sheets to record the number of insects visiting your crops, your crop yields and any pest control methods you use.
So in the coming weeks, if you're down on your plot on a sunny, calm day, do remember to try and do a quick spot count of the insects you see on crops that are in flower. I'll also be doing some surveys myself, and I'm looking for volunteers who wouldn't mind me surveying their plots so we can compare data. I have access to some plots so you wouldn't need to be there at the same time- let me know if you would be interested. As the summer progresses and you start harvesting crops, keep a note of how much your plot is providing. You can also play around with our fun Allotment Calculator to work out how much your produce would cost to by in the shops (Waitrose no less!) and how much of that you 'owe' to bees and other pollinators.
If you have any questions, comments or feedback about the methods or recording sheets, don't hestitate to get in contact with me for clarification.
Good luck with your surveys and I hope you enjoy getting involved!