Tag Archives: peaches

Peach Blossom

The peach blossom has just started to open in the polytunnel where we have a mystery peach tree. I have no idea what variety it is – it certainly is not the sort that I bought, as the fruit is quite different and ripens at the wrong time of year, and, given that there are few interesting old sorts offered, I guess it is a fairly modern variety. I have left it in place for now because it is vigorous – in fact, a little too vigorous for where it is planted and the manner of its training, healthy so far, and produces a good crop. The blossom has just started to open on the west facing side of the tree and the rest will follow over the course of the next couple of weeks. So, it is time, once again, to tickle the peaches: I use a soft paint brush, of the kind one would use for watercolour painting, to gently hand pollinate the flowers, as, even with several bee hives on the site, there are not many pollinators around at this time of year.

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Winter work

The blog has been quiet for the past year, largely because we did little in the garden. The only crops we planted were chillies and tomatoes in the glasshouses and polytunnel and a bed of potatoes outdoors. We tended the fruit trees and the soft fruit, but otherwise took a year out. Now we have been working to tidy things up ready for the new season. Continue reading

Time for tickling

It is that time of the year when the peach blossom has burst forth. Peaches and cherries produce arguably the most attractive display of spring. Aside from admiring them, during flowering one must pay a little attention to pollination, or the crop is likely to be rather meagre. Although we have a veritable hoard of honey bees pitched up not so far from the glasshouses, at this time of year they only fly during good weather and seldom seem to find their way into the glasshouses even on mild and sunny spring days. There are few other pollinating insects around at this time, so to ensure that a reasonable amount of fruit sets, they must be hand pollinated. Continue reading

Tidying up the glasshouse fruit

Our two main glasshouses, which are mounted against a more or less south facing wall, are used for various fruits. In the summer they house part of our tomato crop as well as, variously, aubergines, cucumbers, tomatillos, peppers, and such like. Amongst the permanent planting, we have one vine in each, two figs in one, and two peaches trained against the wall in the other. The peach house also has one recent addition, which we will train against the end face, although it remains to be seen exactly how it will be supported. This latest addition came as a free replacement for a supposed pêche de vigne, which was, when it fruited, found to be quite a different sort. With spring around the corner, and the peach buds shortly to open, it was time to give things a bit of a tidy. Continue reading

When is a Peche de Vigne not a Peche de Vigne?

A couple of years ago we bought a young peach tree, a Peche de Vigne, from Dobies and planted it in the polytunnel. The first tree was damaged and a replacement was sent later in the year. I have been really looking forward to trying the fruit and this year it bore for the first time. We have been eating the fruit for the last few weeks, and took the final, now rather overripe example, today. The peaches were on the small side, a fairly smooth skin, covered with a pleasant crimson flushing that covered most of the fruit. The flesh was white, adhered to the stone, and was of reasonable flavour, better than supermarket fare but by no means exceptional for a garden fruit. The fruit was not the equal of our glasshouse specimens of Early Rivers and Bellegarde. Continue reading

Thinning the peach bush

Peach bush overburdened with fruit

Peach bush overburdened with fruit

Following successful hand pollination, our young Peche de Vigne was carrying a large amount of fruit; far too much for the strength of the branches and too much for the tree to bring to perfection. This is quite normal, and, unless the set has been particularly poor, peach fruitlets need to be thinned each season to allow select fruits to develop to their full potential. It is also common for fruit trees to naturally shed a certain amount of their crop. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘June drop’, although with an early fruiting peach it might happen before June and with orchard fruits quite possibly after June. With fruit trees such as apples, thinning may be needed to discourage biennial bearing ­– the condition where the tree bears a large crop one year and very little the next. Some varieties are especially prone to biennial bearing, but thinning the crop should help. Continue reading

Sowing this week

There was little time for sowing this week, but we did plenty of planting out. One has to be careful with tender plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. We usually plant these in the glasshouses and polytunnel around the first week of May. The weather has been mild, though, and the temperature has not dropped below five degrees in the polytunnel for a couple of weeks, and has barely been anywhere near freezing this year, so we decided that it was probably a suitable time to plant these out. Continue reading

Pinching out the fan trained peaches

Some weeks ago I wrote about disbudding the peach bush growing in our polytunnel. At the time I mentioned that those in the glasshouse would need doing soon and that I would show what was needed for fan trained specimens. Well, I pinched out the unwanted shoots a few weeks ago and was only reminded that I had not yet written about it when I was thinking that it will not be long before poorly placed and excess fruitlets need to be removed, at least from the bush and Early Rivers fan; Bellegarde, being a much later sort, is slower to develop. Continue reading

The prospect of peaches

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. Continue reading

Disbudding the peach bush

In our polytunnel we have a small peach tree, a Pêche de Vigne, which I planted in a very large container sunk into the main bed to keep the roots from spreading into the other growing areas. The tree will, if the hand pollination was successful, bear for the first time this year. Last year there was a little blossom but the tree was too young to carry any fruit and in any event it would have been unwise to let it try, as it is better in the long run to give it time to establish properly before bearing. This year, it has carried a great deal of blossom and I have pondered the dilemma of how best to contain its growth within the confines of the polytunnel. Continue reading