Behold! I have a peach tree! Check out this dramatic black and white photo:
“So what?” you say, snidely, in a thick hick drawl, “Lots of folk done got fruit trees. My pappy had a peach orchard n’ made ‘is own likker an’ crumble pie from it.”
Yes, but did your oh-so-amazing “pappy” grow his trees from SEED?
I did, and that’s why I’m so proud of this little peach. You see… this tree is only a year and a half old. It’s about 7′ tall right now. I’m over 6′ tall… here’s a foxy shot of me standing in front of this particular Prunus persica:
That’s a big tree, considering its tender age. There’s a lesson here: fruit trees started in flats, transplanted to pots, chopped down and grafted, then potted again, then allowed to grow in a nursery for a while, then sold to you in a pot… aren’t always the best.
Sure, you get consistent varieties – which is important for commercial enterprises – but I believe you sacrifice a lot of vigor, not to mention genetic diversity. I’ve written before on growing your own trees from scratch and I continue to maintain that it’s one of the best ways you can save a buck plus get amazing results. It makes particular sense with peaches, since they are able to bear – from seed – in only 3-4 years. Unfortunately, they also suffer from a lot of diseases and pests, so there’s a “live fast and die young” air about them. If you’re paying $30 for a peach tree at a nursery, you’re gonna be really sad if it kicks off. If you plant a pit… then it’s sad, but not hard on the wallet.
So – how DO you get peach pits to grow? Glad you asked. It’s not hard at all… but it does take a little time. Since I didn’t actually take pictures when I started my last round of trees (I started about 40 and gave a bunch away), I drew a set of comics for you.
That’s it. It will take you less time to start your own peach trees from a pit (except for the waiting) than it took me to draw those illustrations.
One note on starting them in pots: these trees want to make tap roots. They’ll shoot a root through the drainage holes of a pot and deep into the ground before you know what happened. My recommendation is to use deep pots… or even better, plant them directly in the ground after they develop their first roots in the fridge. Just mark where you planted the little guys… and stand back. Peaches will grow really fast – trust me. Also, if you go this route, make sure to plant at least three or so in your yard to ensure pollination.
If you want to dig deeper, I’ve got a big post on starting trees from seed here.
There’s really nothing to lose in this process.
What’s the worse thing that can happen? You will have wasted a few minutes cracking pits, popping kernels in the fridge and then planting out the germinated seeds. What’s the best that can happen? Fresh, delicious, home-grown peaches in just a few years. As a bonus, you’ll be growing a variety no one else has.
And you can take black and white selfies in front of it, then post them online. Heck yeah.