INCREASE – Intelligent Collections of Food Legumes Genetic Resources for European Agrofood Systems

CSE step-by-step

Step-by-step guide for the INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment: How you will explore uncharacterised and forgotten bean varieties with us

Congratulations! You have been accepted to participate in the INCREASE Citizen Science Experiment! Welcome to your bean growing adventure! We are excited to embark on this journey with you to explore the diversity and characteristics of various old bean varieties.

Here is a step-by-step guide to participating in our experiment:

  1. Selection of bean varieties:
    We begin by selecting a subset of bean varieties for each participant from our extensive collection. This selection process considers our experimental design and the locations of all registered participants.
  2. SMTA phase:
    Once the specific bean varieties are determined, we will activate the SMTA (Standard Material Transfer Agreement) for you. We will notify you about your SMTA activation by email along with instructions on how to proceed. This agreement can be easily accepted through our dedicated app. Please find more information on why this step is necessary here.
  3. Bean seed distribution:
    After you accepted the SMTA, our bean team will gradually dispatch the individual seed packages to each participant. You will receive an email notification once the seeds are on their way. Please note that it may take some time for the seeds to arrive at your location. You will receive five old bean varieties (subset of the large collection of more than 1,000 varieties) and our control variety which is a modern and early flowering bush type bean.
  4. Bean validation:
    Upon receipt of the seeds, it is crucial to validate their arrival and condition. You can do this by accessing the "My CSE" section of the app and completing the validation process.
  5. Experiment planning:
    Now, it is time to plan your experiment. Within the "My CSE" section of the app, you can find all the necessary steps to plan your experiment, including the choice of your level of participation (basic, medium, expert), which determines the number of traits you are going to evaluate. You can find more details on the different levels here. It is important to note that you can adjust your participation level at any time during the experiment.
  6. Sowing:
    Finally, it is sowing time! Please keep some seeds aside, just in case the first sowing attempt fails. It is also important that you record the sowing date or in case needed, also the re-sowing date in the app.
  7. Bean cultivation and observation:
    Now comes the exciting part: growing your beans and recording observations according to your chosen level of participation! All traits are listed under “My CSE”. Remember to take pictures along the way using the provided colour checker, which helps us to compare and evaluate the bean pictures, regardless of different lighting conditions or perspectives. While you are encouraged to harvest, cook and taste some beans at the green stage, please ensure that some pods are allowed to ripen until maturity to harvest seeds for future sowings. By following these steps diligently, you will contribute valuable insights to our understanding of bean varieties and their traits. Thank you for your participation, and enjoy the journey!
  8. Potential challenges of conducting a biological experiment:
    It is important to acknowledge that sometimes gardening can encounter unexpected challenges, leading to the loss of plants due to various unforeseen circumstances. No one should feel ashamed if this happens; it is a natural part of experimentation. If all plants of a variety die, please report this under "My CSE" → Plant Growth → Plant Death. Furthermore, do not become disheartened if certain varieties do not perform well or fail to flower under their conditions. Remember, this experiment aims to determine which varieties are suitable for different regions, and failure is also a valuable scientific result. Embrace the process and continue contributing to our collective knowledge of bean varieties.
  9. Connecting with other participants:
    You’re a loner? That is fine with us. All relevant information for the experiment is communicated via email, on the website and through the app.
    You have more fun when you can exchange with others? Join our language specific Facebook groups – or the English one if you want to communicate internationally.