- Pruning - 2 hours (more because I am a pruning novice)
- Thinning - 3 hours (3 different times)
- Harvesting - 3 hours (3 different times)
- Picking up overripe fruit off the ground - 2 hours
- Canning, jamming, and dehydrating - 8 hours
What did I learn this year about peaches?
- Next year I will try to spray the trees with some kind of organic oil.
- If we don't spray, we lose about 1/2 the peaches to larvae (which must be cut out of each peach - gross, but still worth it.)
- I must, must, must be severely brutal when thinning. No mercy!
- Peaches are much sweeter if I pick them just ripe.
- But if I pick the peaches just before they are ripe, they are slightly less likely to have larvae inside.
- Home grown peaches beat grocery store peaches by about a million miles.
- If I don't pick the peaches off the tree, I must pick them off the ground.
- If you are choosing a variety of peach, consider picking a "freestone" variety - we picked JH Hale and Hale Haven, which seem to be "clingstone" - harder to process because you have to do more cutting.
- Dehydrating peaches for 16 hours might be a little overkill. Next year will check them after about 6 hours.
So, all in all, growing peach trees is worth the work - especially if we can preserve more of the crop next year. Keep in mind that we will have to do this EVERY year of the peach tree's lives (although apparently peaches only live about 10 - 15 years, rather short lived compared to an apple tree). Right now, that may seem like a burden to some people. In the years to come, I believe it will seem more like a blessing.
PS - Don' t ever try putting your jars in a pyramid for a cute picture like I did above - we lost a pint that way. RIP.