Mid-summer means the arrival of peach season. This post and video will help you know when to pick your peaches.
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When to Pick Your Peaches
I love August! All of the summer garden bounties really start to kick in and there is so much good stuff to eat from the garden! My favorite is fresh peaches! The arrival of mid-August signals the start of peach season in our area. The earliest varieties are usually ready beginning around the 10th to 15th. When I first started growing peaches I always struggled with when to pick your peaches. I thought a post on the topic and a video might help those of you that still struggle a bit to know when to pick your peaches.
I filmed a video a few years ago when it was time to start picking our peaches, I hope it helps!
7 signs to know when to pick your peaches
For most of their growing life peaches have a green undertone to their color. In the last few weeks before your peaches are ready you will start to see some drastic changes in the color of your peaches (along with a big increase in size). You will start to see the color change from green to yellow then to orange.
Depending on the variety you are growing that orange color will deepen and maybe even redden as the peach gets ready to pick. If your peach has any hints of green left in its color then it is not ready to harvest and should be left on the tree for a few more days.
As you start to see these color changes it is the first sign of when to pick your peaches.
Next, you will start to notice a nice peach smell around your tree. This is very variety-dependent, some trees will get a very strong peach smell, while others you may need to put your nose right up to the fruit to smell the peach flavor! But that sweet peach smell is a big indication that your peaches are ready to harvest.
Another indicator of when to pick your peaches is touch. Before your peaches have started to ripen be sure to take a minute and feel the unripe fruit. It will be almost rock hard with no give at all to the flesh.
As peaches approach their final ripeness you will start to notice the flesh “gives” to gentle pressure. Squeeze the fruit gently with your fingers and if the flesh gives and feels soft under that pressure the fruit is ready to pick. Pay particular attention to the top of the peach where it attaches to the tree. If this area is soft the peach is ready.
Birds love ripe fruit, so if you see the birds becoming interested in your tree you know the fruit is about ready. Be sure to get some Bird Netting on your tree right away to protect your fruit and start checking daily for ripeness!
5. Time of year
Baring some major weird weather in the spring (think extra early or extra late spring). The fruit on your peach tree should be ready about the same time each year! Our tree is ready between August 4th to at the latest the 15th, like clockwork every year! So keep track of your picking date from year to year and that will give you a big indication of when to pick your peaches.
If you are still not sure if your peach is ready to harvest, the last method for knowing when to harvest a peach is to give one a taste. Pick one peach off of your tree that you think is ripe and give it a taste. A ripe peach will be soft and juicy. If your harvested peach still feels firm, lacks juiciness, or isn’t sweet then the others aren’t ready for picking. If the peach isn’t what you expect from a ripe peach then leave the rest on the tree for a few more days.
This one may sound a little funny to you, but if you have been watching your tree closely you will notice a change in the shape of the peaches are they get ready to harvest. A ripe peach will be rounder and plumper as it reaches maturity.
When you feel like a peach is ready to harvest lift upward and pull gently on the fruit. If the fruit requires a hard pull to get it to come off the tree then it isn’t ready and should be given a few days.
All of the peaches on your tree will not be ready to pick at the same time. Harvest time for peaches can extend over a week or more. So you will need to check the fruit on your tree daily and harvest the ripe fruit, leaving the others to finish ripening.
What if you mess up?
Peaches are very forgiving! If you pick them too soon and once you eat the first one it is still firm and not sweet then you can simply set your fruit out on the counter in a single layer and let them ripen! They may not be quite as sweet as they could be if allowed to ripen on the tree, but they will still turn out great!