kiwi – Fruit garden
The most commercially important species is Actinidia deliciosa, the fuzzy kiwi fruit. Since kiwi fruit is a dioecious plant (produces male and female flowers on separate vines), a male and a female vine are required for fruit production. Plants (varieties) of both sexes are essential for fruit production, and they must flower at the same time to ensure pollination Kiwifruit are wind- and insect-pollinated. Commercial kiwifruit growers place three to five beehives per acre in their vineyards during flowering to ensure good fruit set. Female kiwifruit flowers are not attractive to bees due to their lack of nectaries. Fortunately, however, in their search for pollen from the male flowers, the bees inadvertently enter and pollinate the female flowers. The ultimate size of a fruit depends both on good growing conditions and on the number of seeds that have been fertilized.
Scientific name: Actinidia deliciosa
Common name: Fuzzy kiwifruit, Kiwi
how to grow and maintain kiwifruit:
Kiwifruit vines will grow on a wide range of soils, from a sandy loam to a clay loam, as long as drainage is good. Although vines grow in soil with pH between 6.0 and 8.0, they do best in a deep, well-drained silt loam with a neutral pH (about 7.0). Plants will not tolerate heavy, poorly drained soils. When grown in sandy soils, they are susceptible to root-knot nematodes.
Kiwi can be grown in a wide range of soils, as long as the soil is well drained. Choose a planting site that is protected from strong winds. Plant 10–15 feet apart.
Kiwifruit vines require a great deal of water. In hot summer weather, the vines’ large leaves transpire water rapidly. In summer, newly planted vines in average soils should be watered deeply about once a week. Overhead sprinklers are often used in commercial kiwifruit vineyards for frost protection as well as irrigation (sprinkler heads should be about 3 feet above the training wire). Drip irrigation, however, makes more efficient use of water.
Nitrogen is the nutrient most commonly deficient in soils. However, do not use any fertilizers at planting time. After vines have several inches of new growth, feed them with chemical fertilizers or well-decomposed manures. If chemical fertilizers are used, use 2 ounces of actual nitrogen per plant in January, April, and June of the second year (1 year after planting). In the third year, apply 4 to 8 ounces of actual nitrogen per plant during the same months. If manures are used, apply them once a year in early spring. Whether manures or chemical fertilizers are used, gradually increase the amounts applied each year until at maturity 1 to1-1/2 pounds of actual nitrogen per vine per year is applied (10 pounds of 15-0-0 fertilizer supplies 1-1/2 pounds of actual nitrogen). To avoid vigorous late summer growth and to allow the plants to acclimate for maximum winter hardiness, do not fertilize young plants after July.
Pests and Diseases:
Compared to other fruit types, kiwifruit has few insect pests. European red mite can build up in late summer in hot, dry areas. Scale insects and leaf rollers can also be pests. Leaf diseases may affect plants some years, and fungicide sprays may be useful in eliminating them.
Harvesting Fruit must be picked hard and then softened at room temperature. Signs of ripeness include the skin color turning from green to full brown or when the first fruits turn soft. Once harvested, Kiwi can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 months or at room temperature for 2 weeks. If picked too late, fruit will not store well and if picked too early the fruit will be tart.