Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

Peaches in Florida

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Until quite recently, the idea of successfully growing peaches here in north central Florida was little more than a dream. New varieties have made that a reality. The photo of the peach shown above was taken today (May 10, 2016). If I’ve ever had a sweeter peach, I sure don’t remember when. It was like taking a bite into peach-flavored sugar – and I mean that in the best way possible. I planted these trees in December, 2014 (17 months ago).

Peaches developed for low chill requirements have all the flavor and texture of the best standard peaches, but they tend to be smaller – especially if they are not thinned to one fruit for each six to ten inches of branch. I have planted two different varieties – Florida Prince and Tropic Beauty. Florida Prince is now fully ripened, and the Tropic Beauty fruit is still green, which means the season is spread out more. A big advantage that the early ripening Florida Prince has is that the fruit ripens before insects become a real problem here – something that I was concerned about when I first planted them.

Peach trees are every bit as beautiful as most ornamental trees, so consider adding some peach trees to your orchard. I’ll be writing posts on how to lay out a fruit tree orchard, how to plant the trees, and more on some of the other varieties of fruit trees that we have planted on our one acre homestead.

What kind of fruit trees are you growing? Please reply and let us know.

6 Comments

  1. Darlene

    My success with fruit trees is less than with my vegetable garden, but I keep trying! I do have one peach tree (can’t remember which Florida variety) but no fruit. Looking forward to your article for further instructions on its care.

    I have a key lime tree, two fig trees, and an avocado tree that provide a small amount of fruit. However, I do quite well with my bananas, grapes, papayas, and my ever-bearing mulberry tree…my biggest crop comes from all the coconut palms my husband planted 10 years ago. Literally hundreds of coconuts all over this property! Just wish they were easier to crack into!

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Good morning, Darlene. I had a Key Lime tree in a pot so that I could move it to a frost-resistant location when needed. It did OK in a pot, but like any tree, they do a whole lot better in the ground. We’re a bit too far north for that to be a good option for Key Lime. I might try just covering one, though. It’s a chore, but Key Lime pie probably makes it worth the effort (one of my favorites!).

      Our bananas grow well, but produce fruit only rarely, and even then they’re nothing to brag about. Congratulations on growing your own bananas. Some folks around here are able to grow papayas, but you have to have just the right location. I’d like to try them sometime, but too many other projects are higher on the list right now.

      Thanks for writing!

  2. Peter S. Kelley

    Good Morning –
    Nice to hear of the success you’ve had with the young peaches and good to see that you’re back writing in your blog.

    Peter Kelley

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Thank you, sir. It has been a long time since my last post. I found that it’s a whole lot easier to get motivated to actually do things than it is to sit down and write. I admire your ability to do just that! I’ve accumulated a nice list of topics – some of which are partially or completely written.

      Mr. Kelley is the author of The Passing of Tulee Main.

  3. Jim Pescha

    It is good to hear that you are having success with your peaches. I have not fared as well with my fruit trees. I had two peach trees and two apple trees die on me. Also my citrus trees had a heavy die back from a hard freeze a few years ago. They are just now making a come back. I have put in a persimmon and a pomegranate as well as some grape vines and a mulberry. We’ll see how these do.

    The garden has gotten a little larger this year when I added a peanut bed and plans to add another raised bed this summer. But the gardens are doing well. I’ll be picking summer squash and tomato’s next week .

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Jim, I remember you pointing out the dead peach tree near your back fence. Ours are doing very well. So far, anyway. My apple trees have fruit on them, but the trees just don’t look as healthy as the peach trees. The pear trees look about like the apple trees look – OK, but just not as well as the peach trees. The persimmon trees are all looking very good at this point, but their trunks are still quite thin and needing stakes to hold them up during a wind. I’ve already been picking squash, and I have some good sized tomatoes but they’re still green.

      (Jim is active in Beekeepers of Volusia County, Florida, as am I. Be sure to visit his blog, Living a Simpler Life.)

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