We were so excited to discover fruit on our Peach Tropic Beauty over the weekend (Prunus persica) I cannot wait to taste a freshly home grown peach!
It is a Subtropical peach recommended to grow in the local area and is a self-pollinating yellow fleshed variety that requires only 150 hours of chill. The tree is deciduous (bare of leaves in Winter) and can sometimes handle frost. Our tree is quite young (2-3 years) and in good condition and is expected to grow 2-5 metres. It prefers a soil with good drainage and Neutral soil (6.6-7.3pH) in full sun or shade (80%). In hindsight, we could have added gypsum and compost when planting as well as planting it on a mound to improve drainage, as our soil is heavy clay.
We were very surprised to discover fruit so soon. Harvest is expected in November – December and the fruit were very firm when we visited over the weekend. Apparently, we need to net it and attach some fruit fly bates, another learning experience. Pruning is also recommended after fruiting and seaweed in spring or autumn will support strong growth and protect them against “Peach Leaf Curl”. According to Sustainable Gardening Australia spraying your tree with lime sulphur spray several times over winter prior to buds bursting is recommended.
Peaches are best left on the tree until ripe, as their flavour is far more intense, however, fruit picked while firm is wonderful for cooking and will still ripen away from the tree. They contain Vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, magnesium and beta-carotenoid and is a fruit with excellent flavour and often used for Jam Pickle and Preserve. I hope we get to try some when we visit next and I urge any visitors to help yourself and enjoy some, ensuring you leave some for other guests. According to Jackie French , peaches need low growing plants or bare ground around them. She recommends a clover and Lucerne mix if cut every fortnight or grazed by chickens or geese. Lucerne, comphrey, clover or dandelions are also recommended to grow between peach rows and slashed regularly. Nasturtiums will also supress grasses and as they die will return to the soil as mulch, and they will also repel sap sucking pests.