Connecticut Garden Journal: Peaches Are Not Just For Georgia

Jun 29, 2017

We think of peaches as a special summer treat from Georgia or New Jersey, but they were originally grown in China and can be grown in Connecticut. 

Peaches taste amazing eaten right off the tree. The first step is to select varieties with hardy trees and flower buds. Reliance, Red Haven, and Canadian Harmony are good choices. Hardy flower buds are important because if you get a cold snap in late winter, like what happened in 2016, you can lose the entire crop.

You also can grow peaches in a pot. Select natural dwarfs, such as Bonanza, that grow to six feet tall.

In your yard, find a protected spot to plant. Ideally, it will have a east-facing slope to slow the flower's opening and reduce the risk of getting zapped by a late spring frost. Peaches like a well-drained, loose soil. If you have clay soil, build a raised bed or mound to plant on for better water drainage.

Prune peaches to an open vase shape allowing light to enter the center. Fertilize in spring with compost and an organic fertilizer to get one to two feet of new growth each year. You'll get fruit in three years.

Peaches are short lived due to a number of problems. Peach leaf curl is a fungal disease that deforms the leaves. Spray copper sulfate in later winter or grow resistant varieties such as Frost. Peach tree borer can tunnel holes into the bark, opening the tree to diseases. Keep your trees healthy and if you find holes, stick a metal wire in them to kill the tunneling larvae.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about potato beetles. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.