Our visit to Schweiben Alp Permaculture Community
Permaculture way of gardening has been at the heart of our gardening experiments.
We are often adapting this technique as I mentioned in Organic vegetable harvest.
We decided to visit Schwaibenalp Permaculture community again this year. Europe was experiencing a heat wave between July and august. We wanted a reprieve from this heat for at least a couple of days. So what better than to combine a yoga seminar, cool alpine climate and wonderful nature at the same time.
This was our second visit. We took an open day tour last summer. I liked the place so much and have been dreaming of staying there at least for a weekend.
I could switch off completely from my day to day life routine and enjoy nature and good company at its best. The visit was short so we plan to visit again next summer.
We were very lucky with the warm and dry weather. The temperature up at this altitude was just 5 degrees cooler although Schweibenalp is 1100 m above sea level.
Nature and good views at its best here if you can brave the roads and are experienced in driving through these tough steep alpine roads.
I made a few films of the most beautiful spots and the permaculture way of cultivating trees, plants and herbs and have tried to summarize them in my video.
What is Permaculture?
“Permaculture emphasizes the sustainability and cooperative support in all processes of life. This begins with the development of symbiotic plant communities and includes all life cycles in nature. Going further, permaculture includes sustainable energy procurement, sustainable building construction, and sustainable community development. “
More information can be found : https://www.alpine-permakultur.ch/en/permakultur/
Perennial Nursery and Vegetable garden
This community has a wide range of plants and has an extensive nursery.
They grow herbs, medicinal plants, perennial vegetables, aromatic herbs, berries and native shrubs.
Because of the high altitude the season is later than in the valleys and flat lands. I saw the Redcurrant bushes ready for harvest almost 2 months later. Yet it was admirable how they have cultivated so many varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs etc.
To combat these extreme weather and the short season in these alpine conditions, this community use different methods to cultivate vegetables. They use hills, terraces, heat traps and ponds in addition to cultivating traditionally robust vegetables. Also known as “Pro Specie Rara” in Switzerland.
Pro Specie Rara has undergone a massive revival in the past few years. The big supermarkets like Coop stock them almost permanently in their organic section. These vegetables are usually organic.
Visitors can also buy saplings, and seeds from this Permaculture community.
Permaculture Herb Terrace
Herbs are cultivated using stone terraces here. The stone terraces help storing the sun energy and creates a micro climate which enables the cultivation of a rich variety of herbs. Despite the short season and these extreme weather conditions the herbs are very aromatic and contain high concentrations of essential oils.
The Schweibenalp Permaculture community has planted more than 48 different herbs in mixed culture.
They sell their high quality herbs and its derivatives in shops.
Fruit Tree Community
They have cultivated diverse fruit tree communities on Schweibenalp. Fruit trees grow better when they are accompanied by herbs, perennials and berries. This attracts pollinators and contain essential oils to combat disease.
These fruit tree community contains supporting plants like legumes and herbs to distract herbivores. These other plants not only support the tree’s growth but can be harvested.
Finally to conclude, I can say it was a very educative visit overall. I could film a few of the spots for my memory.