I Planted a Peach Pit; I Grew a Peach Tree.

This blog was written early this past spring (2020), due to the wildfires all of the critters have moved along to clearer air, and a safer environment. Until they return I will be posting drafts I have stored.

I was skeptical when I first planted the Peach Pits, now that the Tree is thriving in the beginning of it’s fourth year I am pleasantly surprised. My neighbor gave me the old “good luck” with a hardy pat on the back adding “It won’t have fruit for at least 5 years”. He didn’t make the comment with malice, it was his well founded belief. He has numerous fruit trees surrounding his full time residence in Santa Clara 60 miles from here. I go to him for advice about my fruit trees. One day he asked me why I did to which I replied “I figure you have extensive experience owning an orchard and all”.

“I don’t have an orchard”. He replied “What makes you think that?”

He was correct I made an assumption he was a fruit farmer with an expanse of Plums, Lemons, Cherries and Peaches. He is not a farmer instead he relies on knowledge his father passed down to him.

The bare tree in the foreground is the Peach tree I planted from seed.

I started the tree in a large planter pot filled with a mixture of compost and Worm castings. The compost was retrieved from my compost tumbler before it was finished. There were bits of leaves, twigs, and I believe straw as well as other organic refuse from around the yard. Filled the pot to the halfway mark then added Worm castings creating a 50/50 mix. Seeds germinate in the Worm scat faster than any medium I have used in the past. Twice a year I brew “Worm Tea”, after diluting it 1 quart to 2 gallons of water I distribute it around the trunk into the ground. I use the same for all of the plants, trees and vegetables. A cautionary note: if the plants have fruit on them avoid getting the Worm tea on them. It is manure, just the thought of harvesting the fruit then eating it if the fertilizer coated them just doesn’t sound good. Do yourself a favor wear gloves, as well.

My Worm tea brewer.

This is the beginning of the trees fourth year and it is loaded with Peaches, last year I harvested one dozen. They are big juicy sweet specimens I was hoping they would be as good as the tree that I took the seed from. This year the tree is supporting more than 100 Peaches bending the branches to the ground. It’s not a huge feat for them to touch Terra firma as they are only 2-3 feet from the earth on the trunk. They are arcing so drastically something needed to be done for support.

My compost tumbler, it sits there full of organic material, rolled at least once a week; it’s easy to forget.

Mrs. Lebec suggested using a 6 foot ladder temporarily to prop the worst offender and deal with the others later. The solution came this morning when UPS delivered the 8 foot long tree stakes I ordered. I wasn’t sure what I ordered, my preference is to use 2 inch diameter x 6 foot long wood supports available only at a nursery or big box store. These I ordered are 8 foot x 5/8 inch dia. plastic coated steel tube, 10 items for around $50, delivery free via Prime. I had few choices of where to purchase them due to my being self quarantined.

I use a “stake slide hammer” to drive supports in normally, it is a handy tool one of which isn’t used very much but is effective when it is employed. I bent the first stake, I was not just a bit heavy on the slide I was ruthless with it. I have driven dozens of poles into the ground with it which makes the endeavor nearly automatic. I used the bent support regardless and it appears to be fine.

I surrounded the tree with six of them, tying the drooping branches to them. I completed the tasks by wrapping a string around them circling the tree. As I went around the tree, branches needing support were drawn on the support side of the stakes enabling them to be held in a vertical position. The string will not do, it is much too thin, although it is two ply white twine. My concern is it will deteriorate before the end of the summer with the fruit on the limbs. I envision all of the Peaches cascading down on a warm July day. 1/4 inch 4 ply jute twine is on the way, if I double up on it around the tree it will survive as long as it is needed.

This is an old photo of my other Peach tree when it was healthy. It died this summer as a result of Curly leaf syndrome, it’s waiting to be cut down. Care must be taken when doing so as the tools become spreaders of the disease and must be washed with bleach. The wood should not be composted, burned or re-used as that will also spread the disease. I will hire a professional to dispose of it.

This winter I will trim the branches, it is recommended to leave them until the 4th year, (as per my neighbor). It sounds correct and that’s what I based my strategy on right wrong or indifferent that’s the plan and I’m sticking to it.

Jacques Lebec Follow the Fork in the Road

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