In the summer of 2007 we obtained a new piece of land and started the development of our orchard.

It is important for us to demonstrate that aesthetics and economics are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we are convinced that the best quality is produced in a diverse and beautiful landscape. We aim to cultivate nature in such a manner that she becomes fertile. And fertile means: bearing fruit.

Landscaping and ecological compensation

The Pomaretum is an organism.

This core idea shapes the design concept. Within the triangular-shaped plot, plants and animals exist in a meaningful exchange. On the outside we have the shell of the organism, which to the northwest and northeast consists of hedges and shrubs, to the south rough pastures. Songbirds can find nesting boxes dotted all over the plot, amphibians and water insects can find shelter in a small wetland . A pair of mallard ducks visit the pond frequently to breed and rest.

Within the organism is the centre for fruit production for which the ecological elements provide the basic furnishings. These create a site of refuge for beneficial insects. Biodiversity is a vital part of any organic production system as it provides stability and resilience, thus the area of ecological compensation takes up 20% of the entire orchard.

Poma Culta: Breeding of apple varieties

A third of the orchard is reserved for the breeding efforts of Poma Culta. The trees are planted in designated blocks and are primarily selected for vigour and resilience to diseases. Viable seedlings are grafted upon rootstocks and cultivated in a spindlebush form. Finally they are further tested for agronomic traits.

The model: LIBDA

In the middle of the Pomaretum lies the demonstration site for dessert fruit. It incorporates around twenty different varieties of robust and resistant types of spindlebush trees. The area is protected by anti-hail netting and is equipped with a drip-irrigation system should there be a water shortage. The project LIBDA ( Low Input Bio-Dynamic Apple growing) aims to show that by using known natural techniques, the use of pesticides can be drastically reduced. The site is maintained according to biodynamic guidelines by Biohof Rigi staff. The apples are sold via farmer-to-consumer direct marketing channels.

Standard Trees

In the southern part of the orchard 60 standard trees grow tall. They are all different, mainly local cultivars. This part of the orchard is used for the production of apple juice. Therefore, the criteria for choosing these particular varieties were: sturdiness, fire blight tolerance and suitability for juice production. Additionally, the area is under-grazed with sheep.