Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

A peach of a year... literally!

Just for fun!, Gardening, Food, Living well on less $, Weather

Blog post with more photos

I was just about to give up on my 2 peach trees since I hadn't had a real harvest in several years.

In fact, I've barely had a bloom in recent memory. Was their absence of bloom due to Wisconsin temperatures returning to former colder norms, I wondered, after those warmer temperatures of the 1990s?

But this year I was pleasantly surprised: my trees bloomed last spring! The blossoms were sparse, but they were there. Pretty amazing when you consider our cold, long winter.

My peach trees are the children of a volunteer tree in my yard. The parent tree just appeared one year and I was fortunate enough to recognize the leaf as being a fruit tree. I am guessing a squirrel must have planted it either from a pit taken from an area peach tree or one scavenged from someone's garbage. Since the mystery tree was growing at the edge of my yard, I just let it grow until it matured enough to bloom. (I usually do this with unknown plants and have often been pleasantly surprised.) One year I was given a very unexpected Mother's Day present: my little tree was covered in pretty pink blossoms. It was a peach tree!

That first tree was a great producer. I picked several grocery bags full of delicious freestone peaches that year and for several after. Because my tree started ailing, and it's location wasn't great, I planted a few pits to start new trees. That is how I got my present 2 trees.

Peach trees are rather fragile. I had read that even in commercial orchards, they often only live for 15 years. Since my trees are the standard height, they want to get tall and leggy instead of being an easy to harvest dwarf type. Still, free is good, and homegrown peaches are a real treat.

We are on the borderline of the peach belt temperature wise, but there are some varieties that are more cold tolerant. Thankfully, my peaches were the freestone variety. I have never had to spray them or use chemicals either. My fruits sometimes have dots on the skins but this does not affect the inner fruit.

I have spotted a few apricot trees in the neighborhood, but never a peach. Maybe this fall during the great nursery stock markdown sales at gardening centers, you might decide you want to try your hand at peaches. If the tree is inexpensive enough, what do you have to lose? Give them a try.

This year's harvest of 50* or so fruits was enough to give me hope for future harvests from my 2 trees. I sure enjoyed those past years of bounty, having peaches-o-plenty to eat for weeks, share with neighbors, and make a freezer full of homemade peach pies. As most gardeners say, maybe next year will be the year of plenty again?

*Although my trees had a pretty decent bloom and weather cooperated allowing blossoms to set fruit, I lost the majority of tiny peaches in a strong rain.


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