I am finishing up the last of the best peaches I have ever grown. While this year’s harvest was not the largest I have ever grown numerically, the individual peaches were the biggest and sweetest that have ever come off of my tree.
I wish I could say that I did something to produce these wonderful peaches. My unusually large peaches were the result of a bit of bad luck that that kind of turned out to be a blessing in disguise. On March 3 we got a very bad late season freeze. When it hit, the redbuds, plums and peaches were in full bloom. When the ice thawed, my beautiful redbuds looked horrible and all of the flowers were gone from my fruit trees. I was sure this freeze would ensure that I would harvest exactly zero peaches and plums this summer.
While my prediction turned out to be correct for the plums, the peaches surprised me. A couple of weeks after the freeze I noticed little peaches beginning to form. Over the next few weeks, the peaches that survived the freeze turned into HUGE peaches. Now I don’t mean that my peaches were super huge, but they were much larger than they had ever been in the past.
Turns out, the freeze actually did me a favor. While researching my next Texas Gardener article about new white peaches from Texas A&M, I discovered that commercial producers routinely remove (pinch) up to half the buds on each of their trees. This bud removal allows their trees to produce BIGGER PEACHES!
When I read this, I understood why my peaches were so big and so good. The freeze “pinched” my buds for me. Until now I did not know that this was something that you needed to do. However, after seeing the results first hand, it is a garden chore that I will now be sure to do every year!
Right now I only have one producing peach tree. It was literally the first thing I planted when Sally and I bought our little place in Brenham. Since Sally and I are empty nesters, this one tree produces enough for us to enjoy fresh and also make lots of preserves. This year, once we ate all we could, she made 24 jars of peach preserves. If you would like to make your own peach preserves here is a great post with video from the Georgia Peach Council. Enjoy!