Getting out in the garden is a great pastime, and with the popularity of ‘growing your own’ on the rise again, many people are increasingly thinking about how to make their gardens and allotments more wildlife-friendly, as well as beautiful. There are lots of reasons to make space in your garden for wildlife – including the many garden creatures that will happily make a home in your garden.Insects are really beneficial in the garden and very much worth making an effort to attract. One way to show how useful they are and also give you an idea of how successful your horticultural endeavours have been, is to work out how much your garden produce would have cost if you had purchased it – and how much of that the bees (and other insects) have benefited.
The interesting part is that as you add weights or counts, the spreadsheet will calculate for you how much it would have cost you to purchase that produce at the shop.It also calculates how much of that value is directly a result of insect pollination. Different crops have different needs for pollination (from zero need for root crops such as potatoes, or entirely self-pollinating crops such as French beans; to apples and squashes which are 100% reliant on pollination). For tomatoes, for example, the need for pollination is ca: 25% – therefore 25% of your tomato yield is as a result of bee interaction. Therefore if you grew £100 worth of tomatoes, your bees would have been responsible for £25 of that!The ‘Garden Shop Calculator’ is free to download from the University of Sussex | Buzz Club . All we request is that you send back a copy of your data at the end of each year.If you are able to download the document then please email: Linda here who will send you the document via email.
Fill in only the green boxes on the spreadsheet.
Enter either the weight of your harvest, in grams or in ounces; or the number of items picked (such as, 5 apples).
These categories are quite broad and do not take variety in account; the estimated values are based on an average of many different varieties of crop types. We might make this more detailed in future, but for now please just put all of the same type of crop together.
You can add data to the spreadsheet in 2 ways:
(1) – Total harvest. Keep a record of what you pick over the harvest season (in a notebook or similar). Add up the final total for each crop and add that total to the spreadsheet when you finish picking from that type of plant. This is the easiest option if you’re not very familiar with spreadsheets!
(2) – Ongoing. Add in numbers as you go along. For example, using apples:
If you have picked 500g of apples one day, type =500 in the “weight in grams” box, on the line for apples. If you then pick 450g the next time – double click the box that currently has 500 in then type 950 into the box ( i.e. 500+450). Excel will update with the new number.
Repeat the above process each time you have more numbers to add. Please remember to save the spreadsheet after each successful addition, it probably helps to keep the previous version until new numbers are added and saved in case of problems.
Columns update automatically after new data is applied. Your final date will show the percentage of your total crop yield that is directly the result of insect pollination.
This information received was given to researchers at the University of Sussex, and it was calculated how much each garden had produced, what it would have cost to purchase produce, and how reliant the crops in the survey were concerning insect pollination. We then returned the data to volunteers, providing them with results which shows the significants of the 'Bee' for their gardens, as well as identifying crop type. The final results being were impressive – with the growing total values ranging from ca: £10 to over £800, with the largest ‘bee value’ coming in at £427. This was apparently much more than the cost of renting the allotment space for that year; so those bees were really earning their keep!