I do tend to waffle on about peaches rather a lot, but, although they are something of a labour, a perfectly ripe peach has to be one of the most delicious of fruits. A few weeks ago I was busy hand pollinating the peach blossom – see previous post tickling the peaches. On a good sized fan trained tree with heavy blossom this takes quite some time to do properly. It is important though, as there are few pollinating insects flying when the peaches are in flower. Today, I noticed that we appear to have achieved great fruit set, so that the effort looks like being rewarded. Small fruitlets are clearly visible now amongst the fading petals, and a very high percentage of flowers appear to have been successfully pollinated. It is, of course, a little too early to get excited – there is often a natural drop of fruit later in the year – and many things can go wrong before we get any ripe fruit, but there is, at least, a great prospect for our peaches this year.
All three of our peach trees will need thinning later, when the fruitlets are about the size of a walnut. The Pêche de Vigne, which is the most developed of our three peaches, will probably need to be limited to just two, or at most three, fruits per branch, and some support may be needed so that the relatively slender branches can take the weight without damage. Our Early Rivers peach, which was completely covered in blossom, will most likely need extensive thinning. Even once the poorly placed fruitlets, such as those facing the wall, are removed there will still be too many for the tree to bring to perfection. Our Bellegarde peach bore the least blossom this year, much less than Early Rivers, but will at least need poorly placed fruitlets to be removed. Hopefully, the embryonic fruits that are visible today will develop well over the coming months.