How to Maximize Your Organic Fruit Bounty by Planting Peach Trees for Consecutive Harvests

As gardeners, many are already aware of the benefits of successive planting strategies.  Planting a row of beets, carrots, peas, etc. every two weeks during planting season allows for you to harvest continually as long as the weather allows.  But did you know that same concept can be applied when planting fruit trees?

For instance if you like peaches and have decided to plant a peach tree in your yard, why not plant a series of trees that produce at different times, allowing for longer periods of harvesting?  This gives you an extended bounty of organic, local fruit from the closest possible source – your own backyard.

I love organic peaches, and nothing says summer like a fresh peach still warm from the afternoon sun, ripe and juicy, they’re fantastic.  But with a typical peach tree there’s an intensive couple of weeks where hundreds of peaches are suddenly ripe and ready to be processed or eaten.  The massive canning and freezing undertaking can get tiresome and make even the stoutest gardener think about resenting the sudden influx of delicious fruit.

The solution for my small backyard was to plant three peach trees close together (about three feet apart) in a triangular shape in one roundish hole approximately 8 feet in diameter.  The three peach trees are:

  • May Pride – A yellow freestone peach that ripens toward the end of May
  • Mid Pride – Also a yellow freestone peach that ripens late June/early July
  • August Pride – Another yellow freestone peach that ripens mid-August

Planting these three trees means that I essentially have fresh peaches, ready for the pickin’ from late May through early September, depending on the weather and other natural factors.  For example, instead of 75 pounds of peaches all at once, I have 25 pounds of peaches at three intervals throughout the year.

All of the trees are grafted on the same rootstock so the roots intermingle and grow happily entwined with one another.  The trees are also pruned yearly to keep their size to a manageable six to seven feet in height, essentially the size of a large shrub, and the three trees take up no more room than one large tree.  Keeping the trees small in size means that there will never be unreachable fruit in high branches unable to be harvested.

In addition to the successive fruit that the trees produce, their blossoms are also staggered.  So instead of a couple of weeks of lovely pink flowers from one tree, we get almost a month of flowering as one tree sets fruit and drops its blossoms, the next one is beginning to flower.  And peaches are just one fruit that work well with this strategy, consider applying the same thought process to apples, citrus, and pears.

There are some other great articles here on permanent agriculture, such as Permaculture: Perennial Vegetables Save Gardening Time and Energy, or Apple Varieties for Warm Climates.

Image credit: Sabri76 at Wikipedia under a Creative Commons License.

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4 thoughts on “How to Maximize Your Organic Fruit Bounty by Planting Peach Trees for Consecutive Harvests”

  1. Yum – I love peaches. Of course, once your peaches are all grown and ready to be picked, it’s very important to have a plan for how to use them. One of my go-to comfort foods/guilty pleasures is a good peach cobbler but another tasty peach dessert is this Classic Peach Melba Semifreddo Sundae – semifreddo is a great alternative to homemade ice cream and when topped with broiled peaches and raspberry sauce, it’s pure heaven.

  2. Hi,
    So your idea is great! I have a few questions: Does it matter if the trees are NOT all from the same rootstock? Do they have to be dwarf trees or can you do this with standard trees too? Can you put nectarines together this way? Do you know if it’s possible to Plant pears and nectarines together?

    I have ordered two different varieties of pear and one nectarine and a paw-paw tree. I would love to have a longer harvest and I definitely want more fruit trees, (apples, peaches, Plums, cherries,) as well, but if they get enormous and require the recommended twenty feet planting distance I haven’t got any more space for them. I’ve been told they have to be so far apart because of their mature size, but if I don’t let them grow so tall and wide by pruning carefully, will they still be “happy” and grow good fruit?

    I’ve been warned away from the pre-grafted trees where four or five different branches from different varieties are put onto one tree, because eventually only one of the kinds will dominate the whole tree. I can see clearly how the three trees in one small area might work, but have you actually done this before or seen it working somewhere?

  3. You must live someplace much warmer than Colorado because there is no way we could have peaches in May. Our last frost day isn’t until the middle of May.

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