Monday, 10 October 2011

My Quince.

Temperate Climate Permaculture: Permaculture Plants: Quince Tree

Bought 10 Oct 2011.
Quince - Leskovac / Serbian Gold
Large pungent aromatic apple-shaped fruits that ripen to a lovely shade of yellow and make the most delicious jelly.
Despite their Mediterranean origin quinces thrive in damp soils and heavy clay, should fruit reliably throughout Britain.
Season: October - November
Rootstock: Quince A (semi-dwarf)
Planting Distance: 4m (13ft)
Approximate Height: 3m (10ft) after 10 years
All quinces are self-fertile. Instances of poor pollination are nearly always caused by bad weather at blossom time, limiting the activity of insects.
This quince tree is growing on a semi-dwarf rootstock, ideal for the average garden.
Quinces need a sunny site and a neutral soil to crop well, a pH of 6.5 - 7.5 is ideal.

Growing tips
• Quinces prefer a sheltered site, neutral soil and plenty of mulching and watering in the early years, and they baulk at chilly wet weather.
Otherwise they are easy garden trees, self-pollinating and attractive as standards or half-standards on pear-seedling rootstock (conversely, the commonest pear rootstocks are quince).
• You should need only one tree as most varieties crop freely from youth to old age.
In Dorset, my mother has a 'Portugal' at least 80 years old and 12 metres (40ft) tall, with twisting branches which bow to the ground before returning skyward.
It produces a huge crop of golden fruit each year.
• Pick quinces in October or early November and ripen them loosely packed in boxes in a cool store, and well away from apples.
Unblemished fruits should keep all winter, releasing a fantastic aroma when you open the packing.
Try them studded with cloves and baked with a leg of pork, puréed with a touch of honey and served with game, or add a few slices to give a fragrant touch to apple pie.
My favourite use is exquisite ruby-red quince jelly, which has a flavour that lingers like good wine.
I eat the first jars with bread or meat within weeks of bottling, but hang on to the last, loath to finish it until next year's supply is in sight.

The hardiest quince of all is 'Leskovac', which crops heavily with large apple-shaped fruits.
Quince charming - Telegraph