A mystery surrounds the tending of my quince tree in Rhode Island. I talked about planting QT in Simply Quince, and also about how a team of quince-loving friends and neighbors help tend to the tree’s needs during the months I’m not around. Last spring, it became clear that a mysterious person had taken an interest in QT. When I went to prune the tree, five out of five of the branches I felt needed to be removed (to add light and size the tree), had been tied off (with professional ties!) by someone other than myself. Puzzled as I was, I took comfort in the fact that the mystery person was knowledgeable about how to prune a fruit tree.
In early June when the small quinces formed, I bagged the baby fruit with nylon “footies” soaked in Surround (a fine inorganic clay). Bagging the fruit was last summer’s “organic” attempt to prevent infestation by codling moth larvae. Growing quince organically in New England is a challenge—a challenge I’ve tried and failed since planting QT in 2007. All summer long, I cut out the orange rust that routinely plagues the tree and I fertilized QT with an organic, low nitrogen fertilizer. A the end of August when I headed west, about 3 dozen sizable, footie-bagged quinces hung on the tree.
By then, I had totally forgotten about QT’s mystery friend. Then, in mid-October, when Hank, my quince-loving friend and neighbor, went to harvest the fruit, he discovered that someone had picked QT clean! What?! Someone stole QT’s fruit! The fact that someone had harvested my quince without permission was bad enough, but not receiving a detailed report about how successful the “footies soaked in Surround” had been in preventing worm infestation, now that really upset me.
If my mystery quince-lover is reading this post, or if anyone knows the identity of a mystery quince-lover living on Aquidneck Island in Little Rhody, please get in touch with me. I’m a benevolent Queen; I support all interest in quince by all quince-loving folks. My disappointment is less about someone taking the fruit than about knowing how well the clay-soaked “footies” worked to prevent the fruit from protein invasion. So, whoever you are, rather than keep your identity and love of quince a secret, come forward and join Team Quince. Team Quince Aquidneck Island welcomes your expertise and ideas on how to grow organic fruit this summer. Without folks like you, I may have to resort to nuking QT, and I really don’t want to do that…yet.
The picture below was sent to me by one of QT’s friends in celebration of the first day of Spring! Quince on!