One thing Jo and I have been wondering, over the past three years of allotment growing, is: just how much fruit and veg are we harvesting from Plot #59? I’ve thought in the past of trying to track and measure the weight of the crops that we pick, lift and cut from the plot, but the sheer faff of weighing and recording has always seemed likely to be more effort than it was worth just to satisfy our curiosity.
Well, now we have an excuse for taking those measurements, and a means of recording them, and a good reason to do so, in the form of MYHarvest.org.uk.
The website is the front-end of a research project by three academics from the University of Sheffield, who are interested in getting in touch with home and allotment-based grow-your-own gardeners. The aim of the project is to “estimate the contribution people who grow their own fruit and vegetable crops are making to UK national food production”. They hope to gather significant evidence to support the use of land within towns and cities for growing food. And if that means more allotment sites are made available, then that has to be a good thing.
The research is focusing on the 25 most popular UK food crops – simply because there won’t be time to collate the data on every possible species and cultivar – but you’re welcome to record anything outside the list as ‘other’. And I’m sure the researchers will enjoy spotting the more unusual and/or interesting crops that participants end up recording.
Anyhow, we’re going to give it a go, for as long as our good intentions hold out. We’re up to (an estimated) 7Kg of rhubarb so far, and counting.