This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I believe the common theory as to why Hale's Early Peach produces so many extra early kinds, all so nearly resembling itself, is, that it blooms so late - after nearly all other varieties are out of bloom, and consequently it is not fertilized as other kinds.
This I always doubted, as almost always there are scattering blooms in any orchard of many varieties when the Hale comes into bloom, and insects would be almost certain to carry pollen from other flowers to the Hale when it began blooming. With me this season most other varieties were about half through blooming when the Hale began, and we have had a season well adapted to bring out all varieties to their fullest development in their true time of blooming as compared with one another. I think I have discovered the true cause of the Hale's and some other kinds so generally nearly reproducing themselves. While trying to cross fertilize Alexander, Early Rivers, Yellow St. John Waterloo and other varieties, with a view to ob-' tain a better peach, if possible, than Alexander, etc, and as early or earlier, I found that a day or two before the petals of nearly all the large flowering early varieties, and especially so of the Hale tribe, the stigma or female part of the flower was already covered with pollen-grains from the stamens within the same flower, thus fertilizing itself completely before insects, or pollen in the air from other varieties could find admittance.
The same fact seems to me to explain why these same varieties are so much surer to pass through frost uninjured than the small open-flowered kinds, such as the Crawfords, etc. Also, this constant "in and in breeding" may explain why this tribe of peaches is so subject to rot and so few of the seeds will germinate.
These ideas may not be new, but, so far, have not come under my eye in print. I should like to hear from others on these matters through your excellent journal.
Prospects with me are excellent this spring for testing numerous varieties side by side, especially of the extra earlies, and if all goes well we shall know more than heretofore of these new claimants, some of which were to ripen a month or less earlier than Alexander.