Growing Palate-Pleasing Peaches

Author: Meera, February 6, 2013
Perfectly ripe peachs can be made into luscious jam

Perfectly ripe peaches can be eaten off the tree or made into luscious jam


In the orchard area of the Henny Penny Farmette, we’ve planted several fruiting peach trees. Today, during this first full week in February, the Desert Gold peach trees (Prunus persica) broke into bloom.


These trees are more tolerant of heat than some of the varieties, but if planted in the desert Southwest or even in the hot interior valleys of California, the peach trees will perform better if given a little afternoon shade.


There are basically four types of peach trees: fruiting, flowering, combination fruiting and flowering, and dwarf. All peaches require heat during the hot weather months of their growing cycle and won’t properly set many blooms or be well pollinated during springs that are cold and wet. These trees also need some chilling during the winter months when they drop their leaves and go dormant.


We’ve discovered that our peach trees benefit from regular feedings (I’ve used fish emulsion tea, manure tea, and even chicken manure worked into the soil around the base of the tree) two or three times a year. For mature trees, plan on cutting away 2/3 of the previous year’s growth or cut each branch back about 1/3 it’s total length.


The Internet has some great videos that demonstrate how to properly prune your peach trees.


Buds on a peach about to break into a pink bloom

Buds on a Desert Gold peach tree about to break into a lovely pink blooms


If you’ve prune your peach tree properly, you’ll have lovely, large fruits. Another technique to increase fruit size is to thin the number of fruits on the tree. Taking away some of the smaller fruits and reducing the size of the crop means that the remaining fruit can enlarge before ripening.


Peach leaf curl, peach leaf borer, and scale insects are pesky problems for peach growers and gardeners. Treatment requires spraying with Bordeaux mixture or lime sulfur twice a year. Nurseries suggests you spray your peach trees in November and again just before the buds swell.


Now, our trees are ready to flower, be pollinated by the honeybees, and produce some luscious peaches by the end of May. I’ll use the ripe peaches to make some palate-pleasing jams.






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