Quince belongs to the Rosaceae family. It usually grows to about 3 meters, but properly maintained and cared for, it is able to grow up to 8 meters. Its large aromatic yellow fruit is an ideal ingredient for tasty marmalades, jams, juices, compotes ,pastes and concoctions . Among his benefits, it is said to have many healthy properties and contain a lot of valuable micro- and macro elements. In the autumn-winter season, quince should be a constant component of the diet. Because its concentration of vitamin C is several times higher than in any other plant. Supports the immune system in the fight against cold and flu. For those pro-health properties, it has recently reappeared as a superfood.
Characteristics of quince
Quince is a fragile fruit, especially in the early stages of development. During growth, it is exposed to cold and gusty winds can easily damage it. That is why it is so important to create favorable conditions under cover for later flowering and fruiting . Quince fruits reach full maturity only in October, and sometimes frost is already being felt. A polytunnel is an effective solution for the first seasons. Foil protection gives the plant time to acquire natural resistance to cold and pathogens.
Soil and positioning
It is a shrub which does not have high requirements for soil, so it can be planted on most substrates. Of course, it blooms more profusely and provides better yields on fertile soils. Avoid alkaline soils that lead to iron deficiencies and cause higher disease exposure. Quince tree should be positioned in a sunny and warm area, with slightly acidic soil and pH between 5.6 – 6.6. The substrate in the greenhouse should be light , with a loose structure and enriched with organic matter (compost). Any weeds should be removed before planting and systematically during its development. The area for quince should also be characterized by a low level of groundwater. Both excess and water shortage lead to slow growth and loss of fruits.
As a plant susceptible to frost, quince is not suitable to grow in places where such a phenomenon occurs too frequently. Its cultivation in cool locations slows down growth, produces less fruit, with less aromatic qualities.
Planting quinces in polytunnels
When soil and location suit the plant’s requirements, planting of shrubs can be performed in spring or autumn. Spacing should be no less than 3 meters between seedlings. In large polytunnels and for correct growth, they can be spaced at 5 x 5 m. A small foil tunnel can be used for young shrubs – creating favorable conditions for the development of the plant under cover. Protected against frost and cool winds, quince will grow much faster to then reach fruiting stage.
To improve vivacity of quince tree, it is cut about 80 cm above the ground in spring. It is arranged in such a way that each side grows evenly and all branches have access to sunlight.
The shrubs can also be formed as hedges. Even though they give a lot less fruits, they also occupy much less space (every 50 cm). When placing quince in a garden tunnel in autumn. Mound made of soil should be built around the stump, which will be then removed with the arrival of spring.
Quinces – harvest and storage
At the time of harvest, care should be taken not to damage their skin, any lesion or wound would result in a deteriorating process. Remember not to keep quince fruit with others, as neighboring crops can soak up their aroma. Quince fruits can be kept in a cool place for several weeks and processed afterwards.