Peach picking strategies?
Some of my early peaches are about ready to be picked and I wanted to get the lasted thoughts on picking strategies. My problem from previous years is that I lose at least half of my harvest to some critter (squirrel, raccoon??). Same old story - - just as they are getting ripe on the tree, most of them disappear.
Two thoughts came to mind:
1) Enclose the tree in a wire fence/cage, including the top. I have some extra wire fencing laying around and I could probably take care of one tree at a time, but IÃ¯Â¿Â½m not sure that will stop the animals - - will they just dig under it?
2) Pick the peaches early. As in rock hard. I'm sure I'll lose some flavor doing this but at least I'll get the peaches instead of the animals. But I wonder if I'd be losing too much flavor. In other words, why bother growing peaches if you pick them under ripe and get these tasteless rocks you buy at the supermarket?
What do you folks do?
Do either of these make sense?
Is there a point where you can pick the peaches before they're soft and let them ripen up inside and still get maximum flavor, or does that only come from fully ripening on the tree?