Peaches and Nectarines …. the stonefruits

Peaches are closely related to almonds. Look closely at the leaves and the peach stone next time you are in summer’s garden. There are freestone and clingstone peaches – the flesh clings to the stone or it doesn’t – and clingstones are most often used for preserving, bottling or canning. We have the Anzac and China Flat varieties, both freestone, white fleshed and early varieties. Peaches are heavy feeders and need good summer irrigation to bear well. Peaches are prone to overcropping, breaking branches and prolific growth, so thinning and pruning is important. Simon Rickard’s workshop gave some pointers.

Nectarines are smilar to peaches but a bit more fragile to grow and tend to have smaller fruit. Our variety is Goldmine. Growth and management is the same as for peaches.

Pruning fruit trees could take up a whole book, but the Canberra Organic Growers Association have some tips. As does Peter Cundall. In time we will put out our own step by step visual guide.

MAIN TASKS:

Autumn – Clear away and compost any unripe or rotten fruit on the tree, as well as leaves to minimise disease and pest problems.

Winter – Spray for leaf curl before buds swell and open. Consider a biodynamic application of tree paste of BD500. Apply compost. Light prune only if needed for structure.

Spring – Second spray for leaf curl. Consider a biodynamic application of tree paste of BD500. Feed with compost, spray foliar application of seaweed and/or wormjuice every month whilst trees are starting to flower and fruit. Thin the fruits. Late spring/early summer prune for fruit production. Sticky tape around the trunk may help pest control and wormwood hung in the branches ia another tactic used.

Summer – Thin the fruits, may need to protect from birds and possums with netting. Late Summer prune for fruit production.

Generally – Pick ripe. Wait for the fruit to fully ripen on the tree – fruit won’t ripen after picking. The alliums, garlic, chives grow well and benefit peaches, as does lucerne, clover and nettles.

Eating – Straight off the tree. Pies, stewed, jams, dehydrated.

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