Irga - amelanchier - bishmula - Amelanchier - new fruit crop - varieties, cultivation and recipes
Types of irgi, reproduction, cultivation of useful and ornamental crops in summer cottages
Irga is a very interesting, elegant and very decorative shrub. This plant combines all that is positive and valuable that has always attracted a person in berry crops.
Along with the highest winter hardiness, resistance to pests and diseases, drought resistance, Irga has truly miraculous properties - it strengthens the immune system, normalizes the functioning of the heart, liver, kidneys, improves appetite, strengthens sleep and cheers up, delighting with its cheerful, elegant look all year round.
In this culture, everything is decorative: wonderful white flowers in dense inflorescences resembling bird cherry, and bright green in summer and scarlet in autumn leaves, and surprisingly pleasant to the touch wood used in folk art, which easily turns into attractive crafts in the hands of the master. Irga has long attracted attention: walking through the forest, people noticed dark, blackcurrant-shaped fruits that were much more pleasant to the taste. Having started eating them, it was difficult to stop. So she appeared in the gardens of people, and she still lives there, delighting with elegant greenery, bright flowers and a surprisingly sweet taste of fruits ...
But not only in Russia, irga is loved and appreciated, it is widely known all over the world and, first of all, as a wonderful ornamental plant that decorates the lawns of cottages, estates, gardens and squares in Canada, the USA, in many parts of Asia Minor, North Africa and in the south of Europe.
Of course, irgi does not have such a rich history as, for example, the apple tree. In Europe, it has been known as a fruit plant only since the 16th century. It was first cultivated in England, then in Holland. Its fruits at that time were used exclusively for the production of a wonderful wine reminiscent of Cahors. Starting from the 19th century, the first industrial plantings of irgi began to be laid in the USA and Canada, where it is very popular to this day and is cultivated both in household and commercial gardens.
In Russia, industrial plantings of this wonderful culture are not yet available. However, scientists predict a significant expansion of the area for irgu in many parts of the world. Beekeeping regions have special prospects, since this culture is also an excellent honey plant.
In a wild, natural form, this culture grows in the Caucasus, in the Crimea and the Baltic States, it feels good on the edges of forests, in glades, on rocky sunny slopes, rising to an altitude of 1900 meters above sea level, and even in the tundra zone. The homeland of the Irga is North America, where the Irga is very widespread in its natural form.
Everything is interesting in this culture, even the Latin name - Amelanchier - comes from the French amelanche, indicating the honey taste of the fruit, the North American - Saskatoon - is so widespread that the whole city of Saskatoon is named after the irgi, where the irga is a traditional plant. In Russia, irgu is often called "korinka" for its similarity in dried form with seedless grapes.
The genus Irga (Amelanchier) belongs to the Rosaceae family and includes about 18 species. On the territory of Russia, the species of round-leaved irgi is widespread. It is much less common to meet guests from North America - Spikelet Irga, Canadian and blood-red.
Irga is a large shrub 3.5–4 meters high. Sometimes perennials resemble real trees, reaching a height of 8 meters! The above-ground part consists of trunks, reaching the number of 20-25 pcs., And the root system, penetrating to a depth of 2 meters, spreads in a radius of 1.5-2.5 meters. Irgi is characterized by abundant root growth, which rejuvenates the plant. The leaves, depending on the species, have an ovoid or rounded shape, usually they are dark green above and lighter below, dense, coarsely serrate or toothed to half. Irga usually blooms in mid-May, white in straight or drooping 10-12-flower racemes.
Flowering continues, depending on weather conditions, from 7 to 10 days and resembles the flowering of bird cherry. At this time, both individual irgi plants and mass plantings are extremely decorative.
Fruit ripening occurs in early - mid-July. Fruits (depending on the type or variety of plant) from round to inverted pear-shaped, with a diameter of 1-1.5 cm and weighing up to one and a half grams. In the process of ripening, the fruits change color from red to purple or almost black with a bluish waxy bloom. The fruits are amazingly tasty with a thin, tender, juicy skin. The original sweet taste, peculiar only to Irge, is due to the balanced content of organic acids and sugar.
The berries contain a significant amount of ascorbic acid, carotene and other essential vitamins. Especially a lot of vitamin C accumulates during the period of fruit ripening, after which the ascorbic acid gradually disappears. The fruits also contain tannins, anthocyanins and mineral salts. Irgu is recommended as a prophylactic agent for cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases, and the juice is recommended for rinsing with gum disease.
They consume irgi fruits both fresh and processed. From fresh fruits, a wine with a wonderful taste and a rare red-violet color is obtained. Irga is used for making juices, jam, marshmallows, compotes, jelly, candied fruits, jelly. Especially tasty jam can be obtained if the same amount of irgi fruits and one part of black currant are added to two parts of sugar. Here are just some of the recipes for what can be made from irgi fruits:
Irgi compote. Dissolve 60 g of sugar in 8 glasses of water, bring to a boil, dip the berries of irgi (400 g) in hot syrup, bring to a boil again and cool. You can add 1 g of citric acid.
Irga juice. Blanch the berries of sirgi in boiling water and squeeze the juice in a juicer or through two layers of cheesecloth. The resulting juice can be used to make fruit drinks, marmalade, jelly, jelly.
Irgi syrup. Add 0.5 kg of sugar to 1 liter of juice; boil for 15-20 minutes, pour into boiled bottles, seal and store in a cool place.
Fruit drink from irgi. Mash the washed berries, squeeze the juice out of them. Pour the pomace with water, leave it for 10 minutes, then bring them to a boil, mix the broth with the previously obtained juice, add sugar at the rate of 1 cup per 1 liter of water. Withstand 10-12 hours. Serve cold.
Of the fairly large variety of species of irga, three of the most common and valuable both in food and in decorative terms should be distinguished - these are alder irga, canadian irga and blood-red irga.
Irga alder-leaved is a multi-stemmed shrub up to 4 meters high with a smooth dark gray bark. Leaves are elliptical, almost round. The autumn color of the leaves is bright yellow. The flowers are white with a subtle aroma, up to 20-22 mm in diameter. Fruits are purple, up to 15 mm in diameter and weighing up to 1.5 g, very sweet and pleasant to the taste. With proper care, a 7-8 year old plant can produce up to 10 kg of juicy berries.
Irga canadian - a tall tree-like shrub, reaching eight meters in height. It has thin drooping branches. The leaf is oval, elliptical or oblong. Young leaves are pinkish, purple or coppery, the autumn color of the leaves is dark red or orange. The flowers are large in loose inflorescences, up to 28-30 mm in diameter. Fruits are sweet with a fleshy, dark pink pulp weighing up to 1 g. The maximum yield is 6 kg per bush.
Irga blood-red - a slender shrub up to three meters high with an ascending crown. The leaves are oval-oblong, 306 cm long. The summer color of the leaves is bright green, the autumn color is orange. The flowers are large with elongated petals 10-14 mm long. The fruit is almost black, sweet and tasty. Fruit weight up to 0.7 g. Harvest - up to 5 kg per plant.
All these types of irgi are unpretentious to soil conditions and are able to withstand frosts up to -40C, they bear fruit abundantly every year.
The unpretentiousness and high winter hardiness of irgi plants are due to their biological characteristics: the deep bedding of the roots saves the plant in very harsh winters, and the root system developed in width allows the bushes to deliver nutrients not only from depth, but also from a large area.
Irga reproduces quite simply. The most effective methods are sowing seeds and grafting with a cuttings on mountain ash. In the first way, species of irgi are propagated, and varieties are grafted with a cuttings.
Sowing seeds is the simplest and most effective method and, as already mentioned, it is applicable to the reproduction of irgi species.
Seeds are best isolated from freshly harvested fruits and sown immediately after harvest. They are sown directly into the ground, in well-prepared, fertilized ridges. Immediately after sowing, the beds are watered abundantly.
Seedlings usually appear in the fall, less often in the spring of next year. One-year-olds reach a height of 10–12 cm, two-year-olds reach 40 cm. With good nutrition and care, you can get well-developed one-year-olds already next year, suitable for planting in a permanent place in the garden.
Less often, when breeding irgi, grafting with a cuttings is used. To do this, two-year-old rowan seedlings, which are found in large numbers in forest-park zones, are chosen as a stock. It is not difficult to prepare them - in the fall, after rain, the seedlings are easily pulled out of the ground. Due to the highest degree of survival, even plants planted in spring feel great. Vaccination is carried out in the spring during the period of sap flow at a height of 10-15 cm by the method of improved copulation. The survival rate of cuttings is quite high and amounts to 85–90%.
Often, amateur gardeners carry out inoculation at a height of 75–80 cm in order to create standard forms of irgi - extremely decorative and used in landscape construction all over the world.
Irgu, as a highly decorative shrub, is often used in landscaping, for specimen, group, border and thickened plantings. Often planted plants produce a magnificent looking hedge.
As mentioned earlier, the irga is absolutely not demanding on the growing conditions, and practically no care is needed for it.
Before planting, the soil for planting holes is fertilized per 1 m3: 6-7 g of organic fertilizers, up to 40 g of superphosphate, 25 g of potassium salt and no more than 30 g of nitrate. When planting, the seedlings are buried 5-7 cm in the soil, some amateur gardeners recommend cutting the plants, leaving 5-6 buds. The most favorable planting period is autumn.
Irgi plants take root very well, and the next year you can get a small harvest of sweet berries (provided that they are planted in two years); and in the same year (subject to grafting by cutting).
To create a strong bush with evenly spaced side shoots in amateur gardening, selective pruning is used, which consists in removing too long branches, removing weak, diseased and broken shoots, cutting out trunks that do not give new growths. It is advisable to feed the plants with organic fertilizers immediately after such an operation.
In addition to pruning, irrigation is sometimes used to obtain high, stable yields. Since 2001, modern irgi plantations in Canada have been irrigated with drip irrigation installations, with such a system of soil moistening, yields increase by 25-30%.
The crop can be harvested already in July, usually in several stages, since the irga is characterized by non-simultaneous ripening, and passionate fans of fruits - birds also do not allow to postpone eating the fruits.
In conclusion, I would like to wish all gardeners and summer residents without exception to have this unpretentious and extremely ornamental plant on their site.
Nikolay Khromov, Researcher, Ph.D. I. V. Michurina