I have peaches that ripen in August here in Upstate NY, and I'm looking for recommendations for a July and a September peach to lengthen my season. I'd like one of them to be a white peach.
So many to choose from. The earliest good one I grow is Harrow Diamond- great peach but bad tree. It will start to ripen for you around July 15 most years. Desiree is a new one from the New Jersey program that sounds real good but I got my first trees this season. Adams says it has "excellent quality" which is high praise for such an early peach.
You can go with one of the early sports of Redhaven like Garnett Beauty or Summer Seranade, although someone here has probably tried one of Paul Friday's (Flamen Furys) earlys that might be better. Those early Redhavens come in late July though (where you are) which is probably later than you want. I don't like any of the early whites that much but Erli-red-fre could work.
Summer Pearl is a latish white that might hold on to Sept. for you but Blushing Star might be your best bet. I like both much more than the standby, Belle of Georgia. Lady Nancy is my favorite late white, but it really needs to be sprayed for brown rot, usually at least twice with Orbit or Monterey Fungicide (Fungus Killer?). It is the only true Sept. white I grow. Just a wonderful white.
Elberta would be the classic yellow Sept peach for your area and it's surprisingly resistant to brown rot. It's a great old peach.
Adams County Nursery carries all of these.
Scarlet Pearl is a July white peach that has a vibrant flavor that is much better than Belle of Georgia. Nice color and no split pits. Hale haven is a rich flavored September yellow peach. I grow those three peaches in my yard and the parents of Hale Haven , JH Hale, Redhaven.
Thanks to both, you've given me some good trees to research.
The best early peach is Gold Dust, a yellow. It will ripen in mid/late July for you. It is the only early peach I ever tasted which had a flavor like a late peach (read: richly flavored).
For a late peach consider Indian Free, a unique red-fleshed heirloom which ripens around now for me. It has a unique flavor and a lot of people like it, it won some of the Dave Wilson taste tests. It has generally been a good tree but is somewhat prone to brown rot. In this super rainy year I Iost maybe 1/4th of the fruits to rot.
Scott, I'm surprised at you. The "best early peach is Gold Dust"? No qualifier at all. How many seasons and how many sites have you tasted this one? There's so many peaches I will never know what the best one is at any part of the season because there are new ones coming out all the time and what's more, what is best in Maryland may not be the same in the weaker sun of upstate NY. Redhaven doesn't even perform the same on different parts of my property.
I did check it out in FB+N Inventory, and they gave Gold Dust a rave review so I should probably give you a break.
Of course, I know you know all this and you were only submitting your opinion from your own orchard, but this guy may not realize the limitations of this kind of advice.
What early peaches are you comparing Gold Dust to? Now you have me curious. I know that you gravitate towards obscure antique peach varieties which my experience and pallate don't necessarily follow. Harrow Diamond has given me very good early peaches for about 15 years in all kinds of different seasons- still I hate the way the tree grows so I might just give Gold Dust a try. Problem is, Gold Dust is a CA peach so it might not do so well up here. And what about bacterial spot resistance?
Kellescat, I think Scott is unusual in his preference for heirloom peaches- I've tried quite a few, I do like the Indian Blood although I don't grow it, but for the most part I prefer many of the newer varieties. Most people think any peach we harvest from our own tree must be the best in the world because most any tree-ripened peach tastes great. The people on this site may be somewhat jaded, however, depending on how long they've been harvesting their own fruit.
One thing that's good to look at if you are only growing 3 varieties is how long the fruit holds on the tree and how long its picking season is. Some peaches ripen all their fruit within 10 days while others can hold on for 3 weeks. Some of the newer whites like Blushingstar and White Lady stay firm on the tree for a very long time and need to be picked and ripened indoors to take advantage of their very long harvest season.
Google Adams County Nursery and check out their chart of ripening dates. It has some of the info there that you need, although the dates are at least a week early compared to your season. If you choose from their collection at least you will have a reliable source.
You will find that you would need to have at least 5 varieties to completely span your season.
I did recently discover the Adams County Nursery site and their harvest date chart is excellent. I actually have Crimson Rocket (said by a local nursery to be early to mid Aug) and SweetNUp (said to be mid to late Aug). I've found that my actual dates match up with Adams...I picked my last SweetNUp last week. Even though I'm upstate NY, we are by the lake and so our climate is similar to Southwest Pennsylvania, or wherever Adams is. So their charts seem to be dead on for me...my two kinds span Aug 10 to Sept 13.
This means that your earlier recommendations of some of the Red Haven sports will fill in the late July early August gap that I have right now.
I do understand that besides differences in climate, soils and weather, peach favorites are very subjective. But you guys are giving me some good leads.
Hman, my Gold Dust opinion is primarily based on the fact that peach experts in California (the likes of Andy Mariani, David Karp, Todd Kennedy - not sure whom exactly but of this group) consider it the best early peach, and that is reinforced by my own experience. I am not growing many early peaches so it is mainly tasting peaches from other local orchards that I have as a comparison and I am sure there are varieties I have missed. The fact that it does well in both California and in my backyard seems to cover a pretty big variance in climate, but indeed it may not cover every place.
Yes I am unusual in my taste for heirlooms, but Dave Wilson gave Indian Free to random folk in a tasting along with modern peaches, and they rated it one of the highest of all time. I have had the same experience in the last week watching peoples eyes light up as they bit into one of my Indian Free peaches. Note that Indian Blood usually refers to Indian Blood Cling aka Indian Cling which is a very different peach than Indian Free -- Indian Cling is more a cooking peach. I have many heirloom peaches I would not broadly recommend because they are too small, too "out there" in flavor or texture, or too unproductive, but Indian Free is a good fit on every count.
While you are dissing my choices I'll diss yours: I have Summer Pearl and its getting topworked next spring -- its a fine white peach but is not much better than Georgia Belle for me.
I should add that I really enjoyed eating my Georgia Belle and many other "average" peaches this year, any backyard-grown peach tastes great compared to the garbage we get in the stores here.
Kellescat, didn't you have the same cool wet June and July weather I had? It threw my ripening dates all out of wack, with some peaches ripening on time some over a week late and weirdly, some of my Euro plums ripened early.
Of course ripening dates are never accurate to the calendar and are more reliable from date of bloom which can fluctuate about 10 days here in the northeast in my experience. Still, as long as you get peaches that ripen sequentially you will usually be OK as far as spreading your harvest- just not this year.
I did have a wet and cold June, but I've gotten good harvests for two years now and the timing seems to match the Adams website. I also selected a nice spot for my orchard, with tall pines to the north which trap the sun's warmth and on a slight slope which drains all the cold air away.
Anyways, you're right, as long as I use one source as a guide, it doesn't matter if I'm a week earlier or later...because everything will be a week earlier or later.
Scott, I'm not dissing your choices, I said I like Indian Blood and would probably grow it if a nursery I deal with sold it. I never get around to grafting peaches. As far as Gold Dust, I just think it's not very well tested out here and you've probably not grown it long enough to have even seen a cold winter for your spot. I also know that disease issues are different here. One tree in one site for a few seasons may inspire your endorsement but I think a caveat is in order also.
If someone is only planting 4 or 5 varieties of peaches I think they are probably best off trying stuff that's been well tested in their region. That's just my opinion. I also was just trying to point out that you endorse older unusual varieties more than others on this site
I didn't say I was crazy about Summer Pearl, but I like its firmer texture and lack of extreme fuzziness in contrast to Belle of Georgia. Also, I can't move a BG peach without bruising it. I don't even really like whites. The only one I grow that's worth the effort for me is Lady Nancy- and it does take some extra effort. The NJ program did a taste comparison of about 20 different whites a few year back. The highest score was 8 and only Lady Nancy scored it.
Actually I also like to eat a few of the Peento's like Saturn, but I don't like all the thinning and all the brown rot. It's just a juicey sugar rush that's a nice contrast to Red Haven in that season.
Hman, I could agree a caveat is perhaps in order, but I have my tree in a horrible spot and have had major outbreaks of all the major peach diseases which it has done very well against so I do believe it is worth recommending. More than just this one peach, I have found the only failings of west-coast peaches in the east to be rot, splitting, and bacterial spot, and Gold Dust has shown none of these failings. Plums on the other hand are a different matter entirely: most west-coast plums will not be happy in the east. If you think there is some other failling of west-coast peaches I should be on the lookout for I would like to know. I had thought all peaches were hardy in zone 6 so the hardiness should not be relevant.
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.
If you like that quote get a Gold Dust :-)
When I started growing fruit in the East 20 years ago, I always gravitated towards less common varieties and always to the ones most noted for taste. It often takes 10 years before I realize why something is not "common".
I only now appreciate the Bartlett pear, for instance. For most of my other pears, psyla and scab have become a battle to manage. These pests were not a problem the first 12 years- now they're here to stay.
With peaches, the first ones I tried were either heirlooms or varieties that are grown commercially in the east. None of the heirlooms panned out, unless you count the popular ones like Elberta or Hale. Of the new varieties, I never planted a peach that didn't have resistance to bacterial leaf spot. I'm thinking that this disease might have shown up one year if I'd planted susceptable varieties, even if I got away with it for several just like scab and psyla on pears.
Also the chilling hours on Gold Dust are low, which suggest that it may not harden adequately to survive a real winter here. When the road less traveled leads over a cliff it doesn't have much charm. Of course having to cut down a tree isn't driving over a cliff, and if I find a good source, I may try Gold Dust myself. It sounds like a taste winner, but I have plenty of other peaches to fall back on if it is not a survivor here or if the flower buds don't survive below -10 or so. What has been your test winter since you began growing peaches, Scott?
One thing I didn't mention when I said I wasn't dissing your choices was that the only thing I intended to be dismissive about is the idea that there is any definitive "best" when it comes to varieties of fruit.
Hman, I certainly agree that many heirlooms have major disease problems. I think the presence of highly susceptible heirloom varieties has also made my disease issues worse overall. I am trying to compensate for that by pulling out the most troublesome varieties. On the other hand for peaches in particular I find the taste spectrum of the modern peaches to be near-zero: they are almost all alike compared to the huge differences in old peaches. For example the old Crawford school of peaches with their intense mango flavor, etc (get Clayton if you want a seriously disease-resistant modern peach with all of the old Crawford flavor). While many of the good tasters do need to be ruled out on disease grounds, I have found that there are still plenty of good old peaches which are disease-resistant. Indian Free is one such example; it is also one of the most resistant to peach leaf curl of all peaches. The main goal I have of growing so many old peaches is to find the few that I consider "winners" in terms of the combination of taste and growability. I have many others besides Indian Free that I think are great tasters but I don't broadly recommend them (yet) since my experience is limited. This year for example the very best peach I had was a Foster, an heirloom. It is of the Crawford school, but with a richer and better-balanced flavor compared to the other Crawford-types I have tried. So far my tree has been very unproductive, but it may just be the rootstock (don't use Pumiselect on a rocky hill), and I am going to put that variety in a better spot to see how it does.
Re: my remark about "best", of course I agree. If I was not in a rush I would have typed more there. What I was thinking in my head is that many people (including myself) consider it the best-tasting early peach, and the abbreviated version above is what came out on the keyboard.
Scott, I think your contribution to this discussion is great and that you are exploring the more unusual peach varities is not just a service to yourself but to all of us. You know much more about the qualities of peach heirlooms than I do and I almost completely defer to your observations about some of the pleasing and possibly more interesting flavor that can be derived from their exploration.
I got off on the wrong foot with heirlooms when I managed an estate orchard that was growing 50 differnt varieties of peaches and nects, the majority from good old Southmeadow Nursery. Needless to say, none of them were as good as the catalogue indicated.
I'm just playing the role here of the more consevative old hand who loves taking the road less traveled but has often found that it takes more time than the interstate.
Great thread guys.
Scott, a few questions, if you will. How would you rate Gold Dust as a commercial peach for roadside sales, the biggest factor being firmness, not that it has to be really firm, but is it as soft as Georgia Belle? Is it free, semi-free, or cling? Does it bloom with your other Midwest/East coast peaches? Lastly, when exactly does it ripen (+/- Redhaven)?
Olpea, I would say Gold Dust is a bit more firm than average. It is freestone. I don't recall its bloom time but usually I remember the few that are out of whack so I expect that is average. My harvest time guess is a week before Redhaven. It needs to be thinned early to get large fruits. Productivity has been average for me but its in one of the worst spots in my yard, a splash of dirt over bedrock (it is on a hill made steeper by terracing and they cut down to bedrock in spots).
Less soil, more flavor.
Time to dive in and offer up some reading material:
If you are facinated by old literature on the subject of peaches, check out this little jewel. The body of the text can be searched. In the vicinity of pg 130, before and after are descriptions of how various growers were growing peaches, prefered varieties, soils, exposures, etc..
KS was one of, if not the largest peach producing state until 1906 I believe it was, a Fall freeze wiped them all out. There were 10's of thousands of trees in the state just prior to the freeze. In 1899, parts of the state had lows in the minus 20s but a lot of trees survived that fine though many buds didn't.
Hope you all can find something interesting at the link.
Here is a link that might be useful: The Peach: the Kansas Peach
Thanks for the link Michael, its fun to read those descriptions to get in the head of these old orchardists. I have read many old books and there is always an interesting mix of old wisdom and old hogwash side by side -- the hard thing is to distinguish the two! It is interesting also to read there that some people were not spraying their peaches at all, in spite of having curculio, peach scab, etc.
.. one other really interesting thing I just noticed is for the people not spraying for curculio they mention that only "early" peaches are bothered. Now one thing you have to remember is back then there was no Red Haven, and in general peaches were about a month later on average. So their "early" in modern terms will mean both early and midseason, meaning these old orchardists are saying the late peaches by modern standards are relatively immune. I had never really thought about it but now that I do I think there is some truth to that in terms of how much damage various varieties were getting this year.
Ain't it fun panning for gold? I agree about the hogwash/wisdom dilemma. Just reading through about 10 different accounts where some prefered good bottom land soil and others had a horrible time with it makes me wonder. My trees are all in that bottom land soil, 42" deep topsoil, one drawback though pH 7.5 and highly calcareous. this year's peaches were very yummy but I don't have anything to compare them to and no experience with others (barring the rocks in the grocery stores) other than those from the Palisade area of western CO. Those were great, other than that I can't remember.
The modern take on bottom soil as far as I can tell is that it often leads to excessive vigor. Comes down to the old balancing act of fruit production- too much vigor, and you get poorly colored and flavored fruit- too little and the trees are short-lived and production poor with small fruit. Guess you could call it the Goldylocks syndrome.
In the west, you can get a handle on it just by controlling water, but after 20 years of growing fruit in the east I am still struggeling to come up with the right balance. I came to fruit trees through vegetables, so I went for too much vigor for the first 10 years. First, too much compost than too much mulch!
Dwarfing rootstock certainly seems to simplify this dance with apples. M 26 is harder to excessively juice in my experience than more vigorous ones.
Soil texture is as important as soil depth, of course. As I've said before on this forum, I actually prefer a sandy soil- you can usually add water in a home orchard if it's needed, but you can't easily reduce it.
I have young peach trees(3YRS OLD) which I planted last yr. unfortunately I made a poor decision in the spot I planted them & it's causing some distention with my wife. I have decided to relocate them, but need some advice.What is the best time to tranplant. Also I live in NJ & last week we had a noreastern here & hence the ground is extremely saturated.When would you suggest transplanting them??. Thank you.Bob M.
Hi Bob move it now before it starts to come out of dormancy. We got the same noreaster and the ground is drying now. I have some construction going on and today the contractors are moving my fig trees with the backhoe since the ground has dried enough.