Nothing compares to the taste of a home grown, freshly picked peach or nectarine.  Bursting with flavour and heavy with juice, once you have tasted peaches from your patch you’ll never go back to those rubbery, gooey things from a can again.  As well as being super tasty, peaches and nectarines are also really darned good for us, having a fair whack of Vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, magnesium and beta-carotine.

Oh, and just so we are all on the same page, nectarines are essentially a smooth-skinned peach…that’s why we have whacked them all together on the one factsheet.

Peaches and nectarines grow really well in the cooler areas of Australia, as they need a nice mild climate, and a cold winter.  If you live in an area that is prone to late frosts, consider protecting your peaches and nectarines with shadecloth or similar, as these late/spring frosts can severely damage the flowers (and negatively impact yield).

Find a nice sunny position in your patch for these super stone-fruit, ensuring the soil is full of organic matter and free draining.  This can be a bit of a challenge on some of Australia’s heavy clay soils, so incorporate some gypsum and compost prior to planting, and consider planting your peaches on a mound to improve drainage.

Food wise, give your peaches and nectarines a bit of seaweed feed a couple of times a year (spring or autumn).  This will not only help them grow big and strong, but it can also act to deter the dreaded “Peach Leaf Curl” fungus, the bane of peach growers everywhere.  The secret to fighting this funky fungal disease is “winter washing”, which involves spraying your trees with a low environmental impact lime sulphur spray, several times over the winter dormancy period, until bud burst. What this does is prevent fungal spores from taking hold, and will go a long way to preventing issues come spring time. Ripper!

Peaches and nectarines are best left on the tree until ripe, as their flavour is far more intense, however, fruit picked while firm is fantastic for cooking and will still ripen away from the tree.

These superb stonefruit are ideal for smaller gardens, as they are generally self fertile, meaning they don’t require another tree for cross pollination.  But, if you are really pushed for space, consider a dwarf nectarine or peach, a multi-grafted tree, or a multi-grafted dwarf (half peach, half nectarine)!  Some of the fabulous varieties stocked at many SGA Certified Garden Centres include:

Nectarine – Arctic Rose: Freestone, New generation of white fleshed nectarine. Picked and eaten when still quite firm they are a taste sensation. Matures throughout February. Spray at bud swell with copper to control curly leaf. Prune previous season’s growth as required. White flesh. Picked firm, they are very sweet with little or no fruit acid. A delicious, new, very sweet flavour with little or no fruit acid. Bright red colour over a creamy-green background. Used mainly for fresh fruit but has potential for drying, bottling and cooking. Freestone. Fruits February. Best eaten fresh. Self fertile.

Early Rivers An easy to grow fruit tree, that can be maintained in a large pot. Two years to first fruit, and four years to high yield. Spray at bud swell with copper to control curly leaf. Prune previous season’s growth. Mid-season bearer. An older variety that bears well and has tender and juicy, rich crimson blushed coloured fruit over yellow skin. Delicious yellow flesh fruit. Excellent for eating fresh, stewing, preserving or drying. Self-fertile.

Nectarine – Flavortop: Yellow flesh, freestone. Vigorous and productive. Large firm fruit with melting texture and great flavour. Matures late January to Mid February. Fresh fruit, drying, bottling and cooking. Self fertile

Nectarine – Goldmine: Freestone, white flesh. Excellent flavour, sweet and juicy. A reliable cropper. Fruits February. Fresh fruit, drying and cooking. Fruit does not keep well. Self fertile

Nectarine – May Grand: Freestone, yellow flesh. Excellent flavour, firm flesh. Late December to Mid January. Fresh fruit, drying and cooking. Self fertile. Medium-sized fruit with good flavour. Late January to February. Best eaten fresh. Self fertile

Nectarine – Queen Giant: Freestone, white flesh. Crisp and juicy with very good flavour. Mid to late January  Fresh fruit and drying. Self fertile

Nectarine 3 Way Multi-Graft Goldmine / May Grand / Fantasia A combo of white and yellow flesh fruit. Fantasia: excellent yellow flesh freestone, large fruit. Late December to Mid February. Fresh fruit, drying and cooking. Self fertile

Dwarf Nectarine – Nectazee: Freestone, yellow flesh. Compact tree for small gardens.

Peach – Daisy: White flesh, freestone. Firm and juicy with good flavour. Mid January to February. A quality peach best used for fresh fruit. Self fertile.

Peach – Double Jewel: Yellow flesh, freestone. Juicy fruit with good flavour. Good cropper. January.  For fresh eating, drying, juice and stewing. Self fertile.

Peach – Elberta: Yellow flesh, freestone. Soft flesh fruit. Heavy and reliable cropper. February. Fresh fruit, juice, stewing and drying. Self fertile or use J.H.Hale.

Peach – Golden Queen: Yellow flesh, clingstone. Firm and juicy. Heavy cropper requires thinning. Mid to late March            Fresh fruit, juice and especially for preserving. Self fertile.

Peach – Peacharine: Cross of peach and nectarine. Smooth skin and peach like flavour. Yellow flesh, freestone. Late January to mid February. Fresh fruit, juice, stewing and drying. Self fertile.

Peach – Redhaven: Yellow flesh, freestone. Very good flavour, medium texture and moderately juicy. Matures mid-late season. Used for fresh fruit, stewing and drying.

Peach – Tasty Zee: White flesh, freestone. Very sweet, juicy and firm. Matures late season, early to mid February. Used for fresh fruit and drying.

Peach – Anzac: White flesh, freestone. Soft and juicy when ripe. A very good bearer although quality may vary. Early maturing, late December to January. Used for fresh fruit and juice.

Peach 2 Way Multi-Graft Tasty Zee/ Doublejewel: A combo of white and yellow flesh fruit. Fresh fruit, drying and cooking. Self fertile.

Peach 3 Way Multi-Graft Redhaven/Tasty Zee/ Doublejewel: A combo of white and yellow flesh fruit. Fresh fruit, drying and cooking. Self fertile.

Dwarf Peach – Pixzee: Yellow flesh, freestone. Excellent flavour. Dwarf tree for small gardens. Fruit is normal size.     Fresh fruit but has potential for drying, bottling and cooking. Self fertile

Peach/Nectarine Multi-Graft Dwarf: Your two favourite fruits on one dwarf tree!  This magic little miniature is a multi-graft with Pixzee (Dwarf Peach) and Nectazee (Dwarf Nectarine). A self fertile combo, would do well in a big pot.  Thin fruit to improve fruit set and minimize plant health issues.

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