How to grow peach trees from seed

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Growing peaches from seeds will produce a fruit-bearing tree in around three years. The trees are ideal for sunny gardens, greenhouses and conservatories both for the fruit they produce and for the attractive display of peach blossoms in early spring. Although growing the seed will require stratification in the refrigerator or other area below 4.5C, peach seeds are easy to sprout and, once established, grow quickly.

Choose a ripe peach and remove the seed. Peaches that are still firm, with a stone that clings securely to the fruit, may not be ripe enough to germinate. You will need a soft juicy peach that has ripened fully before harvesting. The stone should pull away from the fruit easily. Wash the stone to remove any traces of fruit and set aside to dry for several days.

Remove the hard outer shell of the seed by cracking with a vice grip or pliers. Once you crack the shell, you may be able to insert the edge of a knife or skewer into the crack and pry it open. Grip it in a nutcracker to open completely, if necessary. Crack with a hammer by holding the stone on the side and tapping with the hammer. Avoid splitting the shell and crushing the seed in the process. Discard the outer shell. The inner nut meat should resemble an almond and should be firm and white.

Soak the seed in tepid water for 24 hours. Fill a glass jar with moist potting soil and plant the seed. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator or a cool area that maintains a temperature of 1.5C to 4.5C. Check the seed by watching for roots to form in the soil. Fine white roots will be visible through the jar.

Remove from the refrigerator about four weeks prior to planting if you intend to grow your peach tree outside. Pot in a suitable container and place in a sunny window. Houseplants can be started at any time once the roots have begun to form.

Plant in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day, but avoid southern exposures. Too much warmth from the sun early in the spring may cause the peach tree to bloom before the last spring frost that will kill off the blooms.

Select an area that has well-drained soil and a neutral pH. Amend the soil with well-composted manure to improve the soil texture and drainage. Mulch around the base of the tree with several centimetres of leaves or straw. Avoid placing mulch too close to the trunk of the tree, as this may cause the trunk to rot.

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