Peach Shrub in Permaculture and Peach Chutney inside your Pantry
July and August mean delightful times come for those of us with peach trees. Ideal for fresh eating, they also make delectable jams, preserves and chutneys. Handsome small tree, peach is very simple to develop, and it rewards you with rapid returns of affection - fruiting at times the next year from planting! Peaches are reputed to have short lives - only about 15 20 years, they're fast to exhaust themselves by producing fruit with wild abandonment. A superb addition to any permaculture garden, this plant comes in typical (12' high) and genetic dwarf (6' high) sizes. The latter one is great for children's spaces - it is a tiny charming Vladislav Davidzon tree that generates regular sized fruit.
Best avoided in the Western side of the home, where it breaks winter dormancy all too often before its time and looses fruit to late frosts, peach is best suited for Eastern or even Northern exposure. Peach will too demand some friendly business of other plants, soil biota, and, most likely in Western climate, some type of protection from extremes of weather, as each plant needs certain conditions to prosper.
A sample peach guild includes plants that assist with soil building (comfrey, hairy vetch, alfalfa, daylily); plants that encourage beneficial insects (blossoming chives, fennel, yarrow, ornamental thistles, blue mist spirea); plants that offer some protection for your young tree (can be fast growing annuals for example sunflower, fennel, hollyhock, or perennial asparagus). Plant guilds are mixtures of plants (and ! creatures)) Which might be mutually beneficial and supportive for optimum health of the complete - and with each and every plant we strive to invite song birds, beneficial insects, native pollinators, earth worms, garden snakes and several other creatures to the ecosystem of the garden.
Unseen are various pollinator plantings and comfrey, asparagus
Harvest that comes from a peach tree guild includes herbal flowers like red strawberry clover and alfalfa blossom - equally are also good for making mineral-rich herbal teas, and can be harvested throughout season.
Red Strawberry Clover blossom, harvested for tea
Perennial flowers for example feverfew, yarrow, Queen Ann's Lace, angelica or valerian with their miniature blossoms attract many beneficial insects, which help keeping pests away. Add a plant that helps to open the land - mullein, carrots, daikon radish are all great with their long tap roots. Comfrey is just a choice plant for a fine groundcover and it makes mineral rich mulch. May Night Salvia and catmint add late spring colour & nectar, as does Clary Sage.
Clary Sage (background) is wonderful and in going simple Western gardens
Throw in other plants like daylily (edible flowers and young shoots), broccoli and kale , chives, peas or beans - only package it complete!! You will have to water your peach tree - so water its guild as well and get more bounty & wellness as a return. Some things will thrive, others will fade away - the guild will get into its own balance, and evolve. Bumble bees and bees come to crop nectar from sage plants, worms dine on the rich earth created by the varied root systems. Come July, you taste your first fruit and hopefully decide that more peaches have to be planted to allow for this particular party of flavor to take.
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