Sunday, May 2, 2010

Thinning Peaches

Ian's peach tree set a bumper crop, and in past years I have had broken branches and peaches elbowing each other out of the way, and so this year I thinned.

The peaches were mostly the size of cherries, although some were the size of peas. I tried to leave about one peach every six inches, and to favor the already large peaches over the pea-sized ones clinging tenuously to the branches, but like all things garden-ish there was not always a peach in the right spot, and I am not a ruthless gardener, so it's not entirely by the book, but here is the before:

...and here is the after:

Why thin peaches - or apples? So they don't touch each other and make homes for bugs to lay eggs So their snuggling shoulders do not leave a place where moisture can accumulate and cause rot. So I will have fewer but larger peaches (and more flavorful I hope). So the weight of the fruit does not break the branches. So the crop does not stress the tree. And (dirty little secret) because in our part of the world it is the custom and a sign of a well-tended orchard. Even though this is an orchard of one.

This is Ian's peach- you can read about it - and him - in my book, Postcards From The Hedge. It will make you laugh, it may make you cry. If you garden please feel free to be smug - I have done so many things wrong! and I hope it will make you smile, and look at your garden with a new appreciation. 

I am hoping this climbing rose is one that plays well with others - I have seen roses take down their hosts. There is a rose in England at Kiftsgate that has grown over 50 feet - in every direction. That rose could smother you while you were sleeping, or prevent your leaving in the morning. Feed me or else!

Hopefully this rose will grow into the peach tree without smothering it, and the peach tree will hold the rose up. A peach colored rose in a peach tree - I didn't plan it. Like most of the best things in the garden it was an accident. Like most of the worst things too, but that's for a morose rainy day not a sunny crisp spring day, when I am looking forward to peach juice running down my chin, and peach pie...

You are welcome to peaches if you're around when they ripen. I have a great recipe for Pickled Peaches I will post in peach season. And for peach jam  -- yum!

1 comment:

  1. It was a bad day for small peaches in the garden today. We like big peaches. Right, Honey?