Eight years on, the orchard plan is finally edging towards ‘fruition’. The apple trees are starting to fruit, fitfully, but since I planted on standard rootstocks it will probably take a couple of years before they produce in quantity. But knowing it was going to take a long time, we interspersed peach trees with the apples, since they grow quickly but are generally short-lived (at least in Maine). The largest tree is a Lars Anderson, and it set a good crop this year; maybe 30 pounds on a 12′ tall tree.
Alexis, Weezy, and I picked them this morning, since a good number were ripe, and the birds and bugs were starting to get at them. The ones in the trencher in the photo above were the ripe ones, and we blanched, sliced, and froze about 4 quarts. We gave some to the neighbors, left some in Georgetown, and brought a tray home to process as they ripen.
So far I like the Lars Anderson variety (purchased from Fedco). This particular tree got badly mauled by a porcupine a couple years back, and I cut it back as best I could, but I was afraid it would die of fungal infection given all the broken wood. But it has grown over nicely and came through for us this year. There are a handful of peaches on several other trees, but the Lars seems to be the earliest, and plenty tasty. A couple weeks back I budded a handful of different peach varieties onto about 10 plum rootstocks that I have nurseried in the orchard rows; in another year I’ll plant them out to fill in more gaps, and hopefully we get larger and larger peach crops. If anybody has advice on how to prevent peach trees from dying unexpectedly (often with oozing rubbery clear sap), I would love to hear it.