This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I decided to-day to put some of my seedling peaches on exhibition, and took nine varieties out, placing them in Division J., No. 6, of the Pomological Annex to Agricultural Hall, making eighteen plates. I hope you will see them on Saturday and find them worthy of notice.
My seedling peaches have now borne six successive full crops, the yard 25x150 feet, yielding on twenty-five trees from thirty to one hundred bushels each year, last year being the great crop. They give us a full and continuous supply from August 15th to October 20th, the latest being the best and most valuable to propagate; but this year the continued cold weather leaves them less bright in color, and less perfectly sweet than in all previous years.
I have very reluctantly concluded to give some of them to the public-, at least so far as to name them, and announce that they can be got of me in the form of cuttings, unless some one chooses to propagate them.
I hope you will allow me to name the large October freestone No. 3, (yellow) the "Meehan." It is the finest peach when perfect that I have ever seen. On at least three occasions some of them have weighed half a pound each; the best were in 1872 and 1874. In 1872 they were sold on Chestnut street by Bilyeu at $12 a crate (basket and a half) and retailed at 15 cts. to 25 cts. each. Last year the tree bore nearly fifteen bushels, and was "much broken then and still more by the storms of July 10 and September 16, this year. There are four plates of these on the exhibition tables. No. 12 is a magnificent golden yellow clingstone; No. 13 is almost identical with No. 12 - both perfectly sugary and rich; Nos. 14 and 15 are very fine yellow freestones, differing very little, but 14 the most prolific; in most, years it is scarcely distinguishable from No. 3. No. 11 (exhibited) is the latest, and not yet ripe; it is a very rich yellow cling, but not equal in quality to Nos. 12 and 13.
It is too late for the white melting peaches, of which I have some very valuable. No. 1 is the best (poor specimens are on the plate). It is very large, a freestone, perfectly white, and perfect as a melting peach. I have put two other whole freestones on the stand - Nos. 22 and 24 - but they are not worth propagating.
In September two very fine white clingstones ripened which I have never shown. Both are very large, heavy, rich and melting; but still, being clingstones, are not so much in favor.
Of the small white melting freestones - most delicious peaches - coming from September 1st to 20th, I have five different seedlings closely resembling each other. These are the Willow Class, and breed true from seed, at least have almost always done so with me.
I have been engaged in raising seedling peaches now for more than thirty years, and although always producing good and even excellent peaches in reasonable frequency, have never until now got peaches of permanent value. These are of four or perhaps five classes; first, the August red peaches, similar to the New York "Rareripes;" second, Early September blush and white; third, the white melting "Willow," all freestones; fourth, the blush and white free and cling, late September, and fifth, the yellow October peaches, free and cling. Of each of these I have four to six trees, distinct seedlings, yet perfectly identifiable as a class. Of the fifth class there are eight trees, four cling and four of freestones, all worth propagating, and without exception very large in size, rich in quality and the most prolific in bearing. I have so often sent you specimens of these since 1870, that both last year and this I refrained, though the crop was conspicuously fine.