Peaches and Herb? No, not that rockin' super duo from the 70's who sung that blazing chart topper "Reunited". I'm talking about peaches and herbs. First, the peach tree. I'm growing one in the yard and it's about 8 years old. This is a white peach which produces the sweetest fruit, your teeth ache with each bite. I'm sure some of you have tried to grow peaches or nectarines that never grow larger than a golf ball and would give any Spree candy a run for its money. What's the trick? Thinning of the fruit. Unless your tree is considered self-thinning, you have to perform the task yourself. Here's how to do it: Take a branch laden with fruit and spread your thumb and pinky finger in a "hang loose" fashion. Line it up with the branch and leave fruit at your thumb and pinky. Remove all of the fruit in between. Do this along the length of each fruit bearing limb. I know it sounds counter-intuitive to throw away perfectly healthy looking fruit, but this will make the difference between growing golf balls or baseballs. You will see and taste the difference I promise. 9 out of 10 neighborhood squirrels can attest.
On to the herbs. Here's what I'm growing this year: Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Chives, Thyme, Mint and Rosemary. All of these love the full sun and heat, especially the basil. I prefer the large leaf Genovese basil as well as the flat-leaf Italian Parsley- don't bother with the curly-leaf variety, it doesn't taste as good. For convenience, try to grow them in the same area, close to your back door or kitchen area. By summer, you'll have the essential ingredients to enhance any creation in the kitchen.
When the heirloom tomatoes come in, I like to make a nice Caprese Salad with fresh basil and fresh mozzarella from our pet water buffalo. Drizzled with a good olive oil, it's outstanding.