Valuable old fruit varieties on meadow orchards
Wiesbaden, the capital of Hesse, is surrounded by rural suburbs where more than 40,000 fruit trees grow. Among them are a large number of very different fruit varieties, many of which are old and very rare. Although there are still about 3,000 different fruit varieties in German orchards today, including about 1,200 apple varieties, there are only a few trees left of many, especially old fruit varieties.
Yet many of these old fruit varieties represent an important genetic resource. Moreover, various studies have shown that the content of antioxidants and polyphenols in old fruit varieties is up to 1/3 higher than in newer varieties. In modern varieties, these have been bred out so that the apples do not turn brown after cutting.
Old varieties also have eight times more secondary plant compounds than modern varieties. Secondary plant compounds are extremely healthy. With their antioxidant effect, they can prevent cancer and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. True to the saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Old apple varieties are also particularly well tolerated by allergy sufferers.
Preserving orchard meadows through nature conservation measures
Naturefund has been working to preserve Wiesbaden's species-rich orchard landscape for a good ten years. In 2012, we started our first litter orchard project. In 2017, we hired the first full-time employee in orchard care. Today there are three employees. With this energetic team, we have been able to care for more than 2,000 old standard fruit trees, replanted a good 500 fruit trees of old varieties and de-bushed countless orchard meadows and brought them back to life.
Currently, we are faced with the challenge that many of the old fruit trees in Wiesbaden's meadow orchards have almost reached their lifespan of 80 to 100 years. In the next five years, many of them will die. For this reason, we want to replant numerous new tree seedlings of the old fruit varieties in the coming years.
We are also taking a further step: in cooperation with a pomologist, we want to develop a mapping regarding the locations of old varieties in order to obtain an exact overview of the current stock and to find species that have not yet been discovered. These rare old orchard trees need our special protection. At the same time, we want to inspire many people for the fascinating old varieties.
Our bee colonies grow on meadow orchards
Already in 2018, 24 gute Taten e. V. supported us in our efforts to combat bee mortality. The natural habitat of meadow orchards needs an ecological balance and for this very reason the preservation of important species. For this reason we already maintain three beehives. We observe the colonies weekly, take care of the boxes, feed them in winter if necessary and monitor their health. In the meantime, we have two healthy colonies and we have already been able to draw new offshoots. One of these offshoots has already produced a queen, which is busy laying eggs. Bees are indispensable for the preservation of ecological diversity and their buzzing sweetens every beautiful spring day. The protection of meadow orchards is of central importance for the bees in Germany and is a major concern for us, which we want to expand even further.
Protect local nature and orchards with a donation of just 5 €.
Help us with this project! For only 5 € you can preserve 1 m² of meadow orchard in the long term. For 25 € you can help us plant a tree seedling of an old fruit variety.