Gardening | Potted peaches bring summer orchards into the backyard

Imagine growing your own peaches in a pot on the back deck. Photo: Shutterstock
Imagine growing your own peaches in a pot on the back deck. Photo: Shutterstock

Peaches and nectarines are absolutely delicious summer stone fruit that come in both yellow and white fleshed varieties.

Nectarines are basically a hairless peach, and both peaches and nectarines can be grown in the home garden if you live in a climate with enough "chilling hours".

They are best suited to areas with cool or cold winters, however there are some varieties that will bear fruit in warmer climates.

Peach and nectarine trees vary in size from medium-height trees down to dwarf varieties that grow to around two metres tall and wide, which are perfect for smaller gardens and growing in pots.

As space becomes a premium in modern housing developments, gardens have become the domain of dwarf plant varieties.

Columnar fruit trees, such as the crimson rocket peach, tick all the boxes.

An upright columnar growth habit to two metres tall, crimson rocket retains a naturally narrow shape and requires no pruning, making it ideal for gardeners unsure of how to manage a fruiting tree.

Dwarf varieties of peaches and nectarines, including pixzee and nectazee, are another excellent choice for those short on space or container growing.

They can be purchased as a two-way graft, which means that you can have both a peach and nectarine growing on the one tree to save on even more space.

In addition to delicious fruit, peach and nectarine trees also have pretty blossoms in spring.

They need a spot with at least six hours of sunshine a day and well-drained soil or a medium-sized pot filled with good quality potting mix for pot-suitable dwarf varieties.

Imagine picking your own amazing peaches and nectarines all through summer. They can be used in trifles, tarts and crumbles, grilled on the barbecue and tossed into a salad, made into jams and salsa and of course eaten delightfully fresh and juicy.

Delicious fruit comes with its challenges though, and fruit fly are the nemesis for peach and nectarine trees. A good deterrent is Rich Grow Naturally Based Fruit Fly Spray Concentrate.

It's formulated to control and repel fruit fly on all fruit trees using naturally-based ingredients, garlic, pyrethrum and an organic compound, piperonyl butoxide that acts as a synergist - which despite having no pesticidal activity of its own, enhances the potency of pyrethrin.

It's safe for use up to one day before harvest. Fruit protection bags or insect exclusion nets are also excellent.