For the past month, we have been harvesting ripe peaches from our tree. The peaches are too high to test their ripeness by scent, so I press them gently to see if the flesh feels soft beneath my fingers, then I give each soft peach a half-turn and if it is ripe it comes away in my hand.
Last night I came home, in the wind and rain, to find a couple of peaches on the kitchen worktop. “I found those on the ground,” King of The Hill told me as I exclaimed over them, “they’ve come off in the wind. There may be more down, these are just the ones I saw on the path. If you want to rescue the ones still on the tree we might want to pick them tonight too.”
So after tea (and enjoying a juicy peach) we went out into the wild wet twilight and picked up a handful of further windfall peaches that nestled in among the nasturtiums and vegetables below. Some were too rotten to rescue, and went straight onto the compost heap. I twisted off a few more that were on the tree within my reach and seemed vulnerable. The tree is perhaps ten foot tall, and it wasn’t really a night for stepladder antics so these remained to take their chances along with the firmer ones within reach.
For every ripe peach that we have harvested, there is at least one that has split too deeply or been too damaged by insects to harvest, I’ve removed these from the tree whenever I could to focus the tree’s energy on the harvestable fruit.
but we are still well into double figures of lovely juicy sweet peaches. The tree seems to have thrived this year since we removed the dilapidated summerhouse that it was wedged up against. (The posts below were put in to train wires for our espalier apples, but we’re likely to swap them out for something smaller.)
I didn’t know that it was possible to grow peaches on a free standing tree in this way, rather than training them on a wall; especially on a windy exposed site like ours, but this tree is living proof otherwise. And there really is nothing like a freshly picked juicy peach.