This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
If you think the following mode of growing and forcing standard peach trees under glass worthy of publication you are welcome to it. It may be of interest to some of your amateur readers. It was new with me about twenty-five years ago, and as I have never seen the subject written upon with regard to standard peach trees, and this plan worked to perfection with me, this is all the apology I have to offer. I thought it a great pity to have to wait several years for the young trees to come to perfection under glass, and found good fruit in abundance could be had within a few months from the time of planting in large tubs.
You know the old plan of planting a maiden peach in a pot for a season, then shifting it into a larger; then into a small tub, then into a larger one, thus taking up about four years before you can have any peaches worth notice. This I looked upon as useless expenditure of time. Peaches to be forced I find are best grown out of doors in good, clean, rich ground until they are tubbed in the fall and ready for bearing the following spring. They must be kept neat and healthy, and made shapely by pruning until they have come to a good bearing state. Then they can be lifted in the fall, put into their tubs and forced the following winter and spring to good advantage. They will yield a good crop with very little trouble. A peach tree may be forced in an ordinary greenhouse wherever room can be found.
The plan is this, upon which the chief success depends. About the middle of September, if the buds are well swelled, remove a little earth from the surface, then with a sharp spade cut downwards and partly inwards; this is to make them throw out fibres, which they will do quickly if the ball be kept wet; weak liquid manure water is best. At the same time the tree must be trimmed up nicely and the outer branches shortened a little. The cutting of the roots is to be directed by the size of the tub in which the tree is to be planted. From the 1st to the middle of October they may be put in their tubs; the ball will then be found to be a mass of white fibrous roots. They should be left out till late for the roots to ripen. The medium early peaches are best to force as the early ones I consider mostly too small. The drainage is easily performed. Bore from six to ten auger holes in each tub, cover every hole with an oyster-shell concave side down, level off with about one inch of fine gravel or coarse sand. A little frost seems to serve the trees before they are put in to force. Through blossom, leaf and fruit, weak liquid manure water is good. When in blossom it is good to shake the trees slightly to scatter the pollen. This is best done in the forenoon of the day.
This plan pre-supposes young trees growing on the place and ready to force at the time they are wanting. If they be not there, there are few nurserymen, I presume, who cannot furnish such young trees ready to bear, and will prepare them for their customers on application. They may be removed a short distance without injury. Chambersburg, Trenton, N. J.