Growing a peach tree from a pit by Celia Klassen Time for Tea

Let’s take a break from political stuff and controversial topics and talk about something fun and prosperous! This year I have harvested 8 lbs. of peaches from one tree I grew from a pit. There is still at least another 2 lbs. on the tree! You can do it too, and it’s fun for the kids!
I’m not an expert gardener and I don’t have specialized tools. I have dirt, a house, a fridge, a box of peaches I purchased from Utah, a zip lock bag, a hammer, water, a shovel, and time. These are all the things needed to grow peaches!
The first step is to choose a peach that grows here. I chose peaches I purchased from Utah called Rosa peaches. If you’re growing from a grocery store peach see if you can find out where they came from, because a peach variety grown in California isn’t likely to grow in Idaho.
Step 2 is fun….eat the peach! I started with about 10 peaches; they’re not all going to make it, so you need a lot more than you want so that you end up with some even if most don’t make it. From my 10 I got two trees. Wash the pit to remove all the flesh and leave to dry overnight.
If you have an older/careful kid you can have them help you with this part. Take the pits outside onto hard ground like a patio or driveway and very gently hammer the pits to open them. If the peach was overly ripe you may find they had cracked open inside the pit already. Inside the pit is a seed that looks somewhat like an almond. If the inside part got damaged with the hammer you’ll have to throw it away.
Get a zip lock bag; I used a quart size for 10 seeds. Put a small amount of dirt (potting soil is best but loose dirt from your yard will work, I used potting soil) in the bag and add a tiny bit of water. You want the dirt to be moist but not enough water to drip. Add the seeds to the dirt, zip the bag closed, and put them in the fridge.
Now comes the part the kids don’t like…you wait. Eight weeks minimum. I put mine in the fridge at this time of year, and then I got it out in about January or February. Don’t take them out to look at them, just shove them in the back of the fridge and forget about them. If you share your fridge with others you might want to tell them what you’re doing so they don’t think the dirt is some very old leftovers and throw it out!
After a minimum of eight weeks take the bag out of the fridge, don’t open it yet, let it sit at room temperature overnight. Prepare several pots (I think I had five pots for my 10 seeds) with soil and make sure they also sit at room temperature overnight. I had my bag of potty soil in my un-heated garage so I had to bring the pots and soil inside overnight so it thawed out. If the dirt is frozen you’ll need more than 24 hours. Place the seeds in the dirt four inches deep. This means your pot needs to be about eight inches tall. I used smaller ones and transplanted as they grew which could be why I lost several. Place the pots near a window where the sun will come through, and keep the soil moist.
This part was so fun, they sprouted up much quicker than I thought and once they were above the soil surface they grew SO fast! Not all of them grew, and some grew and then died. I was left with about five successful plants and I transplanted them so they had one pot each. Note that these fast growing sproutings are very thirsty. I went away on vacation and had a friend water them once the two weeks I was away and I lost two more trees. The remaining three looked very sad when I came home but I managed to revive them. Somehow I lost another and was left with two which I babied. I kept them moist which involved watering almost every day.
When the weather began to warm up I stuck the pots outside on days that were warm and not windy, making sure I didn’t put them outside too early, waiting until the day warmed up, and then bringing them back inside late afternoon when it started to cool down. I did this most days until I was sure we had had our last frost. Then I dug a hole in the middle of my lawn! The location is important…a lot of people suggest growing them against a south facing wall. I just planted mine somewhere that I knew got a lot of sun. Those babies grew up so fast I felt like I could stand there and watch it getting taller!
The first two winters I covered the trees. The first year I bought special tree covers, the second year they were too big so I wrapped each of them in an old sheet. Bubble wrap is good too as long as there are spaces for it to breathe. We had an early frost the next year and I thought I lost them. I cut them down to the ground and cried a little. But then big sprouts started coming from the bottom! That was two years ago and this year I got so much fruit and the tree is so tall I can’t reach the ones at the top! I’ll leave researching pruning to you as I’m still learning that to. From pit to peaches, with the re-start where it died one year and the tree had to begin again, was five years. This isn’t an overnight project but I’m telling you biting into that juicy, straight-off-the-tree-I-grew-myself peach is so worth it!

Thanks for reading!

Read more in this week's print edition.Subscribe Today!