How It’s Done
1) Peach trees – Many varieties of peaches have been tried. This will allow for harvesting over a longer period of time. Don’t use varieties that tend to have split-pits. Use normal root stocks.
2) Containers – We use wolminized lumber, but normal lumber would be all right since the inside is lined with polyethylene. The bottoms must have holes to allow drainage, with a construction that would allow a fork-lift to pick up the box.
3) Soil mix – The soil must remain porous for good aeration and drainage. Life expectancy of the tree is 7-9 years.
4) Irrigation – Once the trees are placed in the field, a trickle irrigation system is installed. Water soluble fertilizer is injected into the water to feed the trees.
5) Over-wintering facility – A Quonset style tunnel house was built to protect the peach trees during winter. A heat source of approximately 100,000 BTU will be necessary if temperatures inside the tunnel house are to remain above freezing for an extended period of time. Because the trees are in a greenhouse-like setting they will begin to break dormancy by late February.
6) Pruning – The trees are pruned to allow light penetration. Most importantly, the trees must be pruned to a fan shape, allowing the tree to be only three feet wide. This allows the trees to be picked up by a fork-lift and also allows the trees to be packed tightly together to maximize the space in the tunnel house.
7) Results -The system works remarkably well with the trees yielding around 70lbs.of peaches per tree. Because of the six week jump on normal outside peaches, sugar content is much higher, thus producing a very high quality product.