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Anybody can grow their own peaches, as far as they understand a few simple steps to follow. You may not know it, but homegrown peaches tend to have a ‘special’ taste to them. Almost making it look like growing peaches in your backyard are somewhat different from the ones you get from stores.
Imagine the Best Tasting Peaches
You’re walking under the shade of a peach tree, taking in the scent of its ‘rich’ fruit. Then there is a dull thud not far from where you’re standing. You look towards the rustle of dry grass, and there lies one of the most ripened peaches you’ve ever seen; rich, sweet and smelled heavenly.
You bend down and pick it up, a satisfactory smile circling your lips. Eating a perfectly ripe homegrown peach is an experience anyone should strive to have. The juiciness, just like the flavor is really something to behold.
However, to get the most from homegrown peaches and nectarines, you’ll have to harvest them at their peak. You can tell if they’re approaching their peak from their scent. At their peak, you can perceive them from many yards away, and even the nectarines will deepen in color as they near picking time.
Since you can’t be sitting under the peach tree waiting for the fruits to fall, you can look out for their scent. Once they draw you closer, then it’s time to harvest them. Hold each fruit gently in your hand and twist a little bit. It should fall off easily into your hand if it’s ready. No squeezing of the fruit, as any pressure will damage it and accelerate decay.
Growing peaches is well worth the effort because you’ll get the real taste of their flavor, as most of them on supermarket shelves have lost their taste, become too dry and fibrous. In addition, it provides you with a beautiful landscape through their foliage, perfume and blossom.
However, peaches and nectarines do not grow heavily every year. But whatever the quantity, it justifies their space in the garden. Good thing is, both are self-fertile and so one tree will definitely give you fruit.
Varieties of Peaches
Coming to varieties, there are lots available. But the Rochester & Peregrine peach and Lord Napier & Pineapple nectarines are the favorites to many due to their flavor.
Since they usually ripen in July or early August outside, you can grow them in a greenhouse or a polytunnel. This will help protect the flowers from late frosts. You can even grow them against a sunny wall.
Beware of leaf curl, a fungal disease that can be caused by spring rains. This can weaken the tree and make the leaves blister, causing dropping of developing fruit. The disease can be a real pain, so it’s best to avid it entirely. You can do this by using a temporary cover (e.g. transparent plastic sheet) to keep the rain off.
Steps to Growing Peaches
1. Plant them in the sunniest, well-drained spots.
2. Feed them biweekly with high-potassium liquid feed – starting from flowering to harvest.
3. Thin the fruit when they’re still small, ensuring each fruit is 4inch apart from the next one. It may be painful, but it’s necessary to give the fruits more light and air to develop.
4. Prune out crossing branches and older wood immediately after picking. This will allow newer growths to take over and develop without any problem.
5. To encourage new shoots formation, you’ll need to prune to a growth bud. You can easily differentiate this from the plump fruit buds, because they are more pointed.
6. Since making use of cover can make pollination by insects a little bit difficult, you may want to dust pollen from flower to flow with the aid of a brush. Though negligible, it makes a whole lot of difference to a fruit set.
Finally, if you’re able to avoid leaf curl and frost damage, then you should be on your way to having a juicy-filled summer. Check out our article on the best tools for preparing summer fruits.