How to cultivate the quince in a biological way
The quince (Cydonia oblonga Mill., 1768) is a fruit tree species of the Rosaceae family. Already cultivated in 2000 a.C. from the Babylonians and considered sacred by the Greeks, it is native to Asia Minor and the Caucasus area. The fruit is called quince, distinguished in quince roundish ones and quince pears the longer ones.
The fruits in general are called cotogne; in particular, the apple-shaped varieties are called quince apples, while the elongated ones are called quince pears. In this sheet we will see how to cultivate the quince in a biological way and the precautions to be taken to apply this technique.
Due to its small size it is a plant that can also be grown as a single specimen in small gardens, while in rational orchards it can be grown in 3 x 4 or 4 x 4 sizes. Increasing the density becomes more complex to maintain production criteria ecological agro.
For the plant it is preferable to choose the autumn or early spring months, taking into account that the quince plants need a full sun exposure to better vegetate while it is very rustic also in relation to the climate, tolerating also the return of spring cold and particularly cold winters. The quince still requires a minimum period of vernalization of 100 hours of cold below 7 degrees during the winter, while a good flowering is required from 250 to 350 hours.
Although rustic plant from the best production in medium-textured soil well endowed with organic substance that is administered in pre-implantation with 10-12 kg of mature manure inside the individual holes. It tolerates calcareous soils that cause extensive chlorosis, poor fruiting and less fruit size, so the pH of an optimal soil should be between 5 and 6.5. For the plant it is advisable to resort to quince beds already ready for planting, ie plants from 2 to 4 years of age. These plants are ready to be bred according to the desired shape. As for the water supplies, even if plant able to vegetate even without artificial inputs, because of its deep and extensive root system, it is appropriate to intervene in the summer period in the early years. Subsequently the best technique is that of a slight superficial harrowing to stop the capillary ascent and evaporation. The use of irrigation, if necessary, must be done considering that it is necessary to prolong the hours of watering in order to be really useful to the deep root system.
For maintenance fertilization it is necessary to resort to grassing and growing with legumes, to the integration with mature manure or compost worked immediately in the first layers of soil, to avoid oxidation and immediate loss of organic substance. Never administer nitrogenous fertilizers, unfortunately much used technique that alters the physiology of the plant and the consequent biocoenosis of insects and parasites.
The form of breeding to be adopted more opportune is that to vase, leaving since young people the plants with 3 or four principal branches that are impalcano to around a meter from the earth. You can adopt spindle or bush shapes but the vase gives the best guarantees of physiological and ecological balance.
The cuts that must be carried out periodically are borne by the basal suckers that are formed, however, especially on plants born of frank or seed and to ventilate the internal parts to allow the penetration of sunlight and the renewal of old branches.
The flowering usually takes place from May to the first ten days of June and the fruits ripen and should be harvested in the autumn period. Harvesting can take place slightly earlier but for optimal ripening it is necessary to wait until the peel of the fruit is slightly golden.
Like all pome fruit, it can be affected by the bacterial fire (Erwinia Amilovora); an important disease for the quince is the Monilia which mainly affects the flowers. Among the insects we remember the Carpocapsa, on the fruits, and the eastern tignola, on the shoots; Effective biological control interventions can be adopted for the Carpocapsa, while the presence of the Tignola decreases significantly in the absence of nitrogen fertilization. For these last two insects it is advisable to equip your orchard with rows of shrubby species, also from fruit, diversified and increase the grassing to increase the useful entomofauna.