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  • How to grow peaches

    Thanks to John Harrison of Allotment & Gardens.

    Peaches and Nectarines

    Peaches and nectarines depend on a sheltered, south facing position free from frost pockets, otherwise, the early spring blossom might be damaged. A popular method is to train them against a south-facing wall which holds the day’s heat through the night, and if cold spring days appear a covering of horticultural fleece will protect the tender blossoms.

    In cooler areas, an unheated greenhouse is an ideal solution. Since they need a period of dormancy, a heated greenhouse is unsuitable.

    For gardeners with small or limited spaces, peaches and nectarines grow just as well in containers.

    There are many varieties available as well as many sizes, including minarettes which are very suitable for containers on sunny patios.

    Peaches & Nectarines Pests and Problems

    • Frost damage to blossoms in spring can be avoided with protective covers
    • Netting will protect the fruit from the birds and wasps in summer.

    Cultivating Peaches & Nectarines

    • Container grown trees can be planted at any time of the year, but avoid summer plantings when it will need a lot of watering until well established.
    • Bare-rooted trees are best planted in late autumn for roots to establish well.
    • Peaches and nectarines need to be grown against a warm, south facing wall, or in a sunny, sheltered site. Avoid frost pockets as the frost will damage the blossoms.
    • Both types prefer a well-drained, humus rich soil and will not thrive in thin, shallow soil. Yearly spring feedings greatly benefit plant vigour and harvest yields.
    • Depending on the variety, expect harvest between July to later August.

    Harvesting, Eating and Storing

    • Ripe fruits are fully coloured and the flesh close to the stem is soft. Once ready, they stay pristine in a cool place only for several days. They can be picked slightly under-ripe and left to ripen in a fruit bowl, but they’ll lack the same juicy sweetness that tree ripened fruit possess.
    • The fruit do not ripen uniformly at the same time. Check fruit regularly and pick as they ripen.
    • Peaches and nectarines do not keep well in storage, so best eaten fresh or bottled for winter.

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