Nurseries graft peach cultivar scions to rootstocks grown from cuttings, matching specific rootstock qualities to the chosen fruiting variety of peach tree. Plant peach trees from seed for a simpler, less expensive and much more risky way of establishing a home orchard. Peach trees grown from seed often bear good fruit, but not the same as that borne on known cultivars. Quality of fruit, ripening season and disease resistance will depend on a roll of the genetic dice.
Planting Peaches from Seeds
Collect peach pits from late-season peaches. Early peaches often don't sprout at all without special techniques. Acquire late season peaches by buying peaches from local growers in August or September. Enjoy the fruit and save the pits.
Wash peach pits in clean water and dry the pits in a single layer on three layers of paper towels. When seeds and towels thoroughly air dry, place the seeds in a brown paper bag and store the bag indoors in a cool dark place. Fold the top of the bag loosely and check periodically for mold. If pits do mold, air dry the collection again.
Till a row in the garden in late fall, working in compost or peat. With a hoe dig planting holes 4 inches apart in the row and plant the pits--one per hole--3 inches deep. Rake soil smooth over the top of the seeds.
Mulch the row 1 inch deep with straw. The mulch should protect the surface of the soil from drying out, without being deep enough to harbor insects or provide cover for rodents. Maintain the mulch at 1 inch over the winter.
Water during extended dry spells during the winter. Seeds only need to be damp, and could be drowned by too much water. Check soil beneath the mulch by digging 1 inch down with a fingertip. If the soil is dry to that depth, water lightly.
Peaches sprout in early spring. Not every pit will develop into a seedling, but a 50 percent germination rate could yield 30 seedlings from a 20-foot row. Nurture seedlings in the garden for the summer and transplant to permanent locations in fall.