The tree has those limp leaves of a peach, curving down like little crescent moons. We got it at Hartke’s, a local independent nursery, so it should do well here if we can keep the squirrels, starlings, and common grackles away. Our tree has some little peaches on it, but we were told to remove them to allow the tree to concentrate on making roots in the first year.
After the first year, we should probably continue to thin out the budding peaches. Some sites say to have no more than a peach every four inches. Others want us to limit us to a peach per branch. I took a peach off our little tree and ate it, soft seed and all. It was smaller than a ping-pong ball, but larger than a grape. I’ll pick the rest off today.
The little peaches won’t go to waste, though they taste nothing like peaches yet. I found a recipe for pickling unripe almonds that I will use for these little signs of hope. It has 2.5 cups of white vinegar with a cup of honey and 3 tablespoons of sugar spiced up with some dried red chilis, 2 cinnamon sticks, a table spoon of cloves, and two tablespoons of coriander seeds and 2 bay leaves.
I’ll cut my little peaches in half, for they are a bit large. Then I’ll cover them with hot brine in sterile jars, and can them in a water bath. With that amount of vinegar they should be fine.
We never could grow peaches in Houston because we did not have enough cold. It is measured in chill hours, the number of hours below 45 degrees in a year. Central Houston had only about 450 chill hours a year, while St. Louis apparently has over 1500 chill hours, more than you need to count. If it wouldn’t shade out my vegetables, I would make our entire little city lot into an orchard.