We’re really excited about our new field trial in partnership with Hozelock.
The trial is designed to determine whether foliar feeding container grown plants can increase the abundance and nutritional value of flowers, and whether this affects bee visitation.
Tubs, hanging baskets and window boxes are great ways to introduce additional flowers into gardens. However, nutrients in container growing media normally only last around six weeks, after which nutrient deficiency can result in poor growth and flowering, potentially limiting the quantity and quality of nectar and pollen available to bees.
Foliar feeds enable the quick, short-term supplementation of micro and, macronutrients essential for healthy plant growth, as well as biostimulants which promote growth. Foliar feeds have been demonstrated to benefit commercial horticulture and floriculture crops, but as far as we know no studies have explored the effects on nectar and pollen production.
We will be growing tubs of nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) and will be using the Hozelock Pure sprayer to apply a weekly foliar application of either comfrey feed, seaweed feed or water (as a control). We have sown the seeds this week, and plan to carry out assessments throughout June and July.
We are looking for a part-time field/lab assistant to support the project. Further details about the post and how to apply can be found on the FutureWorks website (closing date 23rd April 2017).