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Greenhouse Growing : Peaches, Nectarines and Apricots

Peaches, nectarines and apricots are closely related stone fruits that can be grown in a greenhouse as fan-trained trees on a wall. The trees can take up quite a lot of space, especially the apricot, but they can be hard-pruned too. ‘Peregrine’ is a common variety of peach and ‘Early Rivers’ is a nectarine variety.

Peaches can be raised from pips of shop-bought fruit and, unusually among garden fruits which are mostly grafted, will come true to type. Plant a young tree into the open soil and train it to a fan shape by tying in the branches to wires, set 30 centimetres apart, that run the length of the wall to be covered.

Pollinate the peach flowers by hand, using a child’s paintbrush, or by tapping the wires each day during flowering. If a lot of fruits set, thin them out to about 15 centimetres apart. When the fruit is picked in August, immediately prune out the shoots that have carried fruit and tie in the new green ones to flower the following year ones.

In the spring, when the buds break, rub away excess young growth, leaving only enough shoots to replace the fruiting shots and maintain the branch framework. These trees always produce too many shoots.

Never let the roots go completely dry. Use a mulch and water as necessary. Watch out for red spider mite and use the predatory mite for biological control, or spray with Sybol, Malathion or Liquid Derris, if necessary.

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