Summer’s the peachiest time of year and, if you’re a real peach enthusiast, you might like to try growing a tree of your own so you can pick and eat the fresh fruit at its most luscious.

Peaches, which are thought to have originated in China and to have been grown since about 2000 BC, are very easy-going, deciduous fruit trees. Varieties can be found to suit a wide range of climates.

Most peaches are self-pollinating – this means you only need one tree for successful cropping – which is one of the reasons they’re so popular in the home garden. And, better still, peaches are pretty trees that are worth growing for their spring show of blossom alone.

Peach trees are most readily available in winter when, like so many deciduous plants, they’re sold bare-rooted or recently potted. But, since the introduction of dwarf peach varieties that are suitable for permanent pot culture, they’re often found on sale in containers and can be planted at virtually any time of year.

Peaches are great for impatient gardeners as they tend to fruit within a few years. They do best in an open, sunny position with well-drained soil. Mix in some compost or manure and some organic plant food (such as Yates Blood & Bone) before planting. A layer of mulch over the root area will help retain moisture, but keep the mulch away from direct contact with the trunk.

Winter pruning should open up the centre, remove crowded branches and weak stems, and encourage new growth. Remove excess fruit – they can be rubbed off – in the early stages so that the remaining fruit will grow to a good size. Feed regularly with Thrive granular Citrus Food through the growing season.

With such popularity it’s not surprising that peaches are prone to a number of pests and diseases. Most can be prevented by following a regular care regime.

Yates Garden Fresh Cookbook has a delicious recipe for peach compote.


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