Peaches are second only to apples in popularity as a home-grown fruit. Many heirloom varieties are not available commercially. Indian Blood Cling has deep crimson skin and flesh; George IV New York 1820 is a tasty white-fleshed peach. Many gardeners grow several heritage varieties along with the more common Babcock. Peach trees thrive with a certain number of chill hours per winter. There are varieties that grow well in all zones. Check your USDA plant hardiness zone map before you purchase a tree (see Resources below).
How to plant a peach tree
Choose a peach tree variety that is well adapted to your local climate conditions. The best tree-trunk diameter for a bare-root tree is ½ inch. Purchase heirloom peach trees by mail order from specialty nurseries.
Choose the planting site. Peaches prefer well-drained soil and lots of sun. A north-south axis gives optimum sun exposure. Plant peach trees in a protected location if wind is a regular factor. Midway down a gentle slope is a good choice if the lower elevations have spring frost.
Dig a hole as deep as the roots of the tree and two times as wide. Add 1 cup bone meal and mix well into the soil. Create a cone of soil in the middle. Place the tree in the hole on top of the cone. Spread the roots gently in each direction. Replace the soil one shovelful at a time, gently pressing down on the roots. The soil should be several inches higher around the tree than the surrounding soil level.
Create an inch-deep basin in a ring around the tree several inches from the trunk. Water thoroughly two times to check for proper drainage.