Mail call - Vaughn & Raintree

I got my Vaughn Nursery catalog today.

I wonder what these VN-D#1 etc are. They all need about 850-950 chill hours. I presume they are Vaughn Nursery selected cultivars. The VN-D#1 could be interesting for an early peach, as it has the highest chill requirement of the group.


Sounds like these VN peaches (D, G, M) are seedlings or sports Vaughn stumbled upon in their own nursery). Since there are three of them, I’d guess they’re seedlings.

I know this sounds negative, but I wouldn’t get real excited about Vaughn’s releases unless they’ve embarked on a significant breeding program. Selecting a few seedlings for release from a small random pool doesn’t sound very promising. Breeding programs from universities, or private breeders like Zaiger, Paul Friday, or Jim Friday test thousands of carefully bred selections just to get a few cultivars ready for release.

A couple years ago I let about a dozen random seedlings grow out. One or two of them seemed productive and had good looking fruit. One of them especially seemed good, and for a moment or two it seemed like I might have gotten lucky. But I tasted it compared to a recognized variety (I think Julyprince) and my seedling wasn’t quite as good. To be worth releasing, it has to be better than anything out there in that harvest window. There is some stiff competition to beat.

Adams County nursery released John Boy II, as a sport of Johnboy, but even they don’t claim Johnboy II is any better than Johnboy, just ripens few days later than the original Johnboy, which is considered an exceptional commercial peach (like all Loring sports/relatives, from which it came).

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I would not grow out random seedlings, well only for rootstock, but intentional crosses are different. I can’t do thousands, but have three crosses of Arctic Glo x Indian Free, So Arctic Free or Indian Glo if clingstone (AG is a cling)… My goal is to produce a red fleshed peach that ripens around the first week of September. For me Arctic Glo ripens the first week of August and Indian Free the first week of October. I could only keep three of them, so see what happens…
If doing crosses you should have a goal,
I had a goal of producing an orange raspberry, it turned out to turn orange and ripen to pink, fairly close, and delicious too. It looks a lot like Double Gold, so not happy about that. But it appears it may be summer bearing, strange as I used two everbearing. Double Gold is everbearing so that makes it easier to tell apart.
This year I made 4 blackberry crosses. I decided to plant the seeds in a container as I get so many volunteers that way. The birds are good about that!


Good points, Olpea. Also, while they say 950 chill hours, I don’t know if that necessarily correlates to bud hardiness like Contender, etc. I pick cultivars primarily based on the highest bud-hardiness, because of my zone 4b/5a site (within zone 5b).

What do you recommend as far as early and hardy peaches? Harrow Diamond? It is from Canada, so I presume it is bud-hardy and later blooming?

I might try to graft an earlier variety to my mature Redhaven.

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This is what Bill Shane says about Harrow Diamond:

“Peach varieties with decent hardiness and good to excellent quality include Harrow Diamond (early), Starfire and Red Haven (midseason), Redskin (late August), and Harcrest (early September). Canadian Harmony and Loring are favorites for fresh and canning but tend to less tolerant to cold temperatures.”

I’ve grown all those peaches except Harcrest, and I’ve come to the same conclusions.

In terms of other early varieties which have demonstrated some hardiness, I would add Earlystar, PF7a, Garnet Beauty, Early Redhaven, Surecrop, and possibly Risingstar (Risingstar had one year with a hard winter that didn’t produce well, but this last summer after a hard winter performed really well.)

Earlystar ripens a tad earlier than Harrow Diamond, but has better sugar than Harrow Diamond, imo. Of the others I listed, they all ripen about the same time (about a week after Harrow Diamond). Risingstar is the best tasting of that bunch.