To Grow a Peach

These days we’re so used to just walking down the supermarket aisles, it's easy to forget how much work it takes to grow delicious food.

Take peaches, for instance. 

To Start a Peach Tree

Peach trees can be started from seeds, but are usually propagated through grafting. This helps make sure the fruit will keep the traits of that variety. It’s a delicate process. Even in today’s modern world of robots and machines, grafting is still mostly done by hand.

Waiting for Fruit

Good things come to those who wait. Peach trees typically begin to bear fruit in their 3rd to 4th year after planting. This period allows the trees to establish a strong root system and grow enough to support the weight and nutritional needs of the fruit.

Peaches in the Lone Star State

While peaches can be grown in many parts of Texas, the Hill Country region (several hours south of our home), particularly around Fredericksburg and Stonewall, is renowned for its peach orchards. The climate and soil conditions in that area are ideal for peach cultivation, making it a prominent region for peach farming here in Texas.

Healthy Trees for Abundant Fruit

It takes a lot of work to keep peach trees in great health.

Pruning: Regular pruning is essential for removing dead or diseased wood and shaping the tree to allow sunlight to penetrate the canopy, which is crucial for fruit development.

Watering: Especially during the growing season, ensuring the trees have enough water is critical for fruit development. Too much water can be harmful, so it's important to get the moisture level right.

Fertilizing: Providing the right balance of nutrients through fertilization supports healthy growth and fruit production.

Pest and Disease Reduction: Farmers have to be vigilant in combating pests and diseases in order to have a great crop of peaches.

Weather Risks

Even when a farmer does everything in his power to take care of his peach trees, there are still factors outside of his control.

Frost: Late spring frosts can damage or kill the blossoms, drastically reducing the year's yield.

Hail: Hail can physically damage the fruit, making it unsellable as fresh produce.

Drought: Insufficient rainfall can stress the trees, leading to poor fruit development or even tree death if not mitigated with irrigation.

Excessive Rain: Too much rain, especially close to harvest time, can lead to fungal diseases and can cause the fruit to split.

Harvest Time

Peaches are usually harvested from late spring through the end of summer, depending on the variety and where they’re grown. The exact timing is crucial. Peaches continue to ripen after being picked, but they have to reach a certain maturity on the tree for the best flavor and texture.

Peaches are usually picked by hand. It's very labor-intensive, but it's important because peaches are delicate and can bruise easily. Hand picking also makes it so that the peaches that are at the right stage of ripeness can be selected.

Savoring the Fruit

So the next time you pull out a delicious, sweet peach from the jar, savor the flavor. It took a lot of work to raise that peach.

And don’t forget to send up a prayer of thanks to the wonderful Creator who “giveth us all things richly to enjoy.”

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