Bloom and harvest times for 4 peaches


I’m looking to plant two peaches in a backyard orchard near Denver, Colorado. Yes, a tough and unreliable location for any peach.

I’m considering: Elberta, Early/July Elberta, Contender, Red Haven.

Does anyone know the local or relative bloom and harvest times for these varieties?

Two additional questions:
Do early harvest peaches always mean early-bloom?

I believe the above are self-fruitful, though I have heard planting with another tree encourages fruit production. Ideally I would spread the harvest over a longer period with two trees… does that generally mean sacrificing better fruit production?



Contender should be one of your peaches.

Here is a link from @Olpea that might help:

Best of luck, Denver is tough…


Ones that constantly come in forums as being cold hardy - Contender, Madison, Veteran, Reliance.


Bloom time has no correlation with when the fruit will harvest. As an example Autumnstar is one of the first peaches to bloom, but one of the latest to harvest. Garnet Beauty blooms fairly late and ripens fairly early.

Varieties which set well will have to be thinned every year, unless it’s a challenging winter, even if you have just one peach peach tree. If it’s a self-pollinating peach tree (just about all are) then some of the flowers will pollinate themselves before they even open. It’s very likely you will either have to thin a heavy setting peach tree (like Redhaven) or if it’s a cold enough winter, likely have no fruit at all.

I think Contender and Redhaven are fine choices. I would substitute Madison for Elberta (Madison ripens about 5 days before Elberta, so it’s still considered a late peach). The four peaches Spuddaddy mentions are generally recognized as some of the most winter hardy peaches. Redhaven isn’t perhaps quite as winter hardy as those, but still very winter hardy in most peach growing locations.

I would skip July Elberta. It ripens with Veteran and Contender (which are better choices for cold climates) so there is no reason to double up on the ripening window. July (aka Kim) Elberta is different than Early Elberta, although sometimes July Elberta is called Early Elberta, but actually Early Elberta is a different peach.

Here is the patent on July Elberta. It was one of the first plant patents issued (plant patent number 15). &


A few years back I recorded the fruit harvest for a year. Two of the peaches you are asking should be there. We are in a different climate, however. Gardening : One year of fruit harvest

The very early blooming peaches are not necessarily are early ripening. My Australian donut peach blooms the first, but ripens after a few others that bloom later

Hi Everyone, this is great information. Thank you so much for the insight.

I did some poking around, and at least for west slope CO (much more mild than front range CO), Red Haven is typically harvested July 20-Aug 5. Contender Aug 20-Sep 10. I’m assuming a bit later front-range, but overall that sounds like a good spread.

Is either of these peaches OK for freezing? I mainly see them listed for fresh or canning, and wasn’t sure what qualifies for a good freezing peach.

In my view, the attributes which make a good canning peach, also make a good freezing peach.

You want the fruit to hold some texture in the freezer or in the canning jar. And you want a low browning peach. You also want a freestone peach.

Just about any peaches from the Redhaven season forward are freestone. There are a few freestone peaches before Redhaven, but the earlier the peach the more likely it will be a clingstone. Some years, early peaches will be more clingy than other years.

You can test a low browning peach by simply cutting it open and see how fast it browns. If it browns quickly, then it will have more of a tendency to brown in the jar, or brown when thawed after being frozen. You can add Fruit Fresh (primarily ascorbic acid) to slow browning, but it’s better if you start with a low browning peach.

Probably the most important thing to me is the texture. Any peach will soften when canned or frozen, but some are worse than others. Typically early and midseason peaches are very juicy and have a much more melting texture than late season peaches. This is good for fresh eating, but not so good for canning or freezing texture.

Late season peaches like Encore, Autumnstar, Victoria are much firmer when picked ripe and less juicy. That’s the nature of late season peaches. They make a much better canned or frozen product, imo.

A lot of people like to can Redhaven, but imo, it doesn’t make a very nice canned, or frozen product. It gets pretty mushy after canning or freezing. It does make an excellent fresh eating peach though.

Contender is perhaps a better canning peach, but still not as good as those really late varieties.

Some of the best canning peaches are what I call California canners. Those are varieties which hold texture very well in the can. It’s what you might find when you open a can of Del Monte peaches. The problem is they sort of have a rubbery texture when eaten fresh off the tree. I’ve grown a couple of these type of varieties and I don’t mind the rubbery texture for fresh eating, but the texture puts some people off. Also note that California canners are all clingstone peaches. Peach canneries have machines which can easily remove the pit from clingstone peaches. It’s harder to do it by hand. Vinegold was an excellent California canner. Very productive and very sweet peach. I got rid of it only because most of my customers want freestone peaches for canning, or peaches which have a melting texture for fresh eating.

If you are making smoothies out of frozen peaches, then of course the texture doesn’t matter.

The sweetness of the peach doesn’t matter much when canning or freezing, since it’s easy to add a little sugar and is what I recommend to my customers. A little sugar not only enhances the flavor, but also acts as a preservative.

There are a very few peaches which don’t blanch well. That is, the skins won’t slip very well after blanching. This makes a bit more work for the person doing the canning since they have to cut all the skins off, rather than blanching them off.


Wow! That is an amazingly informative answer to my inquiry. Thanks so much for taking the time to share! It sounds like while contender will not be a great canning or freezing peach it will do OK, which might be the best balance, given Colorado weather. I won’t aim to use Red Haven in that way, except maybe for smoothies.

Is texture important for frozen pies/cobbler/jams, or would both Red Haven and Contender be ok for those?

For freezer jam, I wouldn’t think texture would matter, since jam by nature is pretty soft.

Pies or cobblers aren’t as good with frozen melting flesh peaches.

My wife used to make pies in the winter from drops (I typically just throw drops in a hole.) She would pick them up typically from earlier melting flesh peaches, freeze them and bake them in the winter. The texture was pretty soft in pies. I didn’t like them, but I’m pretty picky when it comes to peaches. I don’t hesitate to spit a peach I don’t like.

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Ok, thanks. I was thinking more about the contender in frozen pies, but maybe it’s not the best.