Source: Suomi-Unkari [Magazine of the Finland-Hungary friendship society], 1952, no. 5
Translated by ML-Theory.
In 1952 the first citrus harvest will be gathered in Hungary! Until now citrus fruits have been grown in Hungary only in greenhouses.
The experiments on growing citrus outdoors were began in the winter 1948-49. It is known that citrus, the Mediterranean ever green tree never “sleeps”, not even in the winter, but develops year round. For this reason it is badly suited for cold temperatures. To protect the citrus trees from freezing Hungarian scientists have adopted the method of trench cultivation. The citrus tree saplings are planted into 80-100 cm deep slanted trenches in the East-West direction. In the winter the trenches are covered with conifer branches or reeds so that the young trees are surrounded by the suitable temperature. Almost half the trenches are covered with a glass pane so that the saplings can receive light even in the cold months. The trenches are typically surrounded by hedges that protect the trenches from collapsing and also retain warmth. In the summer, stones of different types and colors are placed around the trenches, the stones absorb and release the sun’s heat and light.
Growing citrus in trenches is cheaper than in greenhouses. The Hungarian cold resistant citrus tree, which is suited to the country’s climate, is the result of long term experimentation. Hungarian gardeners have received a lot of help from Soviet scientists who have, after arduous struggle, been able to grow citrus even on the Pamir plateau at 4000 meters altitude. In the early spring of 1951 they sent 3000 different varieties of cultivated lemon, orange and mandarin saplings to Hungary for trials.
The scientific research center of citrus cultivation in Hungary is the state experimental farm in Fertöd, western Hungary. It is located around the castle that used to belong to the family of count Eszterházy. This count used to own more than 125,000 hectares of land. The Hungarian people’s republic has founded a scientific research station and gardening school in this castle.
Hungarian citrus growing has been begun on a large scale on the western shore of lake Balaton, in the large market towns of the plains, and in the co-operative towns of Turkeve and Karcaginja Kisujszállás. After a few years Hungarian citrus will be cultivated on an area of 1,250 hectares and it can be expected to produce a harvest of 180 million citrus fruits that will satisfy the needs of the country.