Yes, it´s true: we spray too.
There’s no witchcraft involved, no magic, no voodoo. Organic apple growing is really very simple: instead of synthetic chemical treatments and fertilisers, we only use products made from natural ingredients and organic fertilisers. Exclusively, no compromise.
But there are still differences in organic farming: for example bio-organic farming and bio-dynamic farming.
Bio-dynamic farming brings the soil, animals and humans into a natural agricultural cycle. Every measure taken is tested holistically against the ecological system, even the influence of the heavens is considered. Bio-organic farming focuses on sustainable management of the eco-system, protecting against external influences. Both approaches have the same goal: to maintain nature’s sensitive balance, instead of disturbing it. To keep it for the next generation. And the generation after that.
Bio-organic apple farming.
Farming fruit organically means protecting the environment, the climate, and producing fruit sustainably. We organic farmers have made it our life’s mission to sustain the fertility of the soil for the long-term future using natural fertilisers. Compost is the best example of this. What many people don’t know is that ecological agriculture doesn’t completely avoid using products to protect plants. It’s simply that are used only naturally occurring substances, such as sulphur and vegetable oils.
The number of apples growing on a tree has a real impact on the quality of the apple. Less is often more: fewer apples, better quality. We organic farmers use tools or sulphur to thin the blossoms. It’s also important that a natural lower limit is not exceeded, so there are not too few blossoms on the tree - otherwise the apples could grow larger than nature intended.
The key is “balance”: natural equilibrium ensures a balanced harvest will blossom for years to come.
To ensure the trees get the most from the earth’s nutrients, any weeds under the trees are removed. Organic farmers don’t use chemicals that don’t occur in nature. They use naturally occurring substances. That’s why the area beneath the trees is weeded, it’s more labour-intensive and more expensive – but doesn’t disrupt nature’s cycles.
Bio-diversity is a good friend to organic farmers. It helps them use as few plant protection products as possible. The aim of biological pest management is to ensure an ecological equilibrium between the crop, good insects and creatures, and pests. This is why organic fruit agriculture creates space for helpful life forms. So now you know why our meadows often have hedges and stone cairns. The helpful creatures have somewhere to shelter and repay us by regulating pests, reducing our need for plant protection products.
We literally apply this ‘fundamental’ principle to the soil: the better the quality, the better the trees and apples flourish. So, our organic farmers promote life that’s nurtured by the soil as well. They use organic fertiliser from plants and animals. Manure and vegetable compost have a lasting positive effect on soil activity and structure, encouraging humus (the organic component of soil) formation. Compost and green manure (=sowing plants) lead to nutrients being collected. Rooting is additionally promoted and the soil is becoming airy.
Bio-dynamic apple farming.
Bio-dynamic farming looks at the big picture. It views agriculture as a single, living, unique organism. Human, animal, plant and soil work together holistically and with synergy.
The cosmos, the soil and even the spiritual powers of animals influence the cultivation and harvest of the fruit.
The bio-dynamic farmer uses compounds with natural substances as food for the soil. These activate and harmonise vital processes in the soil, as well as in the plants and animals. Usually these compounds are prepared on the farm itself, for example as spray compounds from horn and manure.
Bio-dynamic farms often raise animals and cultivate vegetables in addition to their fruit-growing business. Nevertheless, it is rare for every square metre to be used for agriculture. Part of the meadows will remain uncultivated to encourage helpful organisms to flourish.