This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The result of another season has strengthened my conviction that on our grounds Cumberland is the earliest peach yet fruited, closely followed by Saunders and Downing, with Alexander, Amsden and Musser very little behind Wilder, although ripening some fruit nearly as early as any, continued to ripen much longer, so as to close with Rivers and Louise, which came in fully two weeks behind the earliest varieties, Early Beatrice coming between.
The season being unusually early, we picked the first ripe specimens from Cumberland on June 24th, and marketed the first bushel June 26th, and to-day, July 23d, we pick the last Wilder, Louise and Rivers, while Hale's will barely be ripe by Aug. 1st. The other new early sorts which are growing on our grounds, and which we expect to fruit in a year or two at most, are E Canada, Early Rose, Hyne's Surprise, Ash by's Early, Baker's Early, Brice's Early, Early Lydia, Nectar, Gov. Garland, Waterloo, and McKain's Early, all having globose glands, except Early Lydia, which is glandless and Waterloo, which has reniform glands. I make this distinction that they may be recognized, as the glandless varieties, are invariably weaker growers, and the leaves and young wood are more or less subject to mildew on some soils and during some seasons. We are indebted to Mr. T. V. Munson, of Denison, Texas, and to Mr. Hynes, of West Plains, Missouri, for most of the aforenamed varieties which have not yet fruited. Mr. Munson has probably the largest collection of quite early peaches in the country, which he is testing with the view of making public the results of his experience.
In an article published in the Denison Daily News of June 20th, 1880, he says, "the present season has been a peculiar one, retarding tne maturity of the extra early varieties, while the later came on in unusual season. This has thrown the ripening of nearly all vari eties up to Hale's Early, into a heap. It has been noticed, too, that the old, well-established trees have ripened fruit much earlier, and of larger size, than young trees of the same variety." Our experience this season is that they were unusually early, and will leave, apparently, a larger gap between the quite early and later ones than at any previous season since these quite early peaches have been fruiting.
Some of our friends who have fruited Wilder, reported it as filling the season between the quite early kinds and Hale's, but with us it invariably ripened as early as Alexander and Amsden, but continued its crop a little longer. Bower's Early and Amsden on the same tree showed the latter to be several days earlier. In our orchard of several hundred trees, about 75 were in full fruiting, many being entirely overloaded. The crop was unusually fine, high colored, and with the exception of a few trees, quite free from rot, while Hale's not yet ripe is rotting considerably. I am not sanguine that these early kinds will continue exempt from rot, but may we not reasonably hope that some of them will? All these early kinds thus far fruited are, like Hale's, half clings, and no doubt, seedlings from it, except Rivers seedlings, which are of a different class, and which we shall discard, Beatrice being too small and the others too tender for market.
New early varieties are still being introduced, and we shall continue to collect and test them as fast as we can, in order to prove, if possible, which is the earliest peach. Meanwhile, we look forward for a freestone as large and fine as " Mountain Rose," and as early as the earliest.