Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2007

County once noted for its peach orchards

July 19, 2007

Did you know that in 1982 a congressional resolution passed proclaiming July to be National Peach Month?

Peaches are sooooooo good!! I just bought some delicious freestone peaches at a local grocery store and it made me think about all the great orchards we had in our county until just a few years ago.

We looked forward to going to Don Young's farm south of town every year. That orchard is no longer there, and we really miss it. When we moved into our home in 1951 there was an orchard of peaches and cherries on the lot on the west side of us.

Leavenworth County was noted for its many orchards in the 1800s, but through the years it became more difficult to have good crops, partly due to the changes in weather and the constant care they need. They had to be protected with weekly sprays of insecticides and fungicides to insure a healthy tree with worm-free fruit. It also depended on the cooperation of Mother Nature.

When I was a kid, Mr. Mondero gave me six small peach trees and showed me how to plant them. He said, "Plant these and you can go do other things while they are growing."

It would be so easy to just plant a peach pit from a good peach, but it just doesn't work that way. Peach stones have to be stratified before they will germinate.

The peach stone needs to soak in water for 24 hours then be wrapped it in a damp paper towel and put into a plastic container and put into a refrigerator for four months. This replicates what would occur in nature when it would fall to the ground and lay there through a long winter.

After four months in the refrigerator, when the weather warms up in the spring, you can plant your seed and wait for it to grow. There is still no guarantee it will have the best fruit. The plants you get from the nursery are budded onto rootstock and are your best bet for a good tree.

Enjoy your peaches and cream.


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