Wednesday, 3 September 2014


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The kiwi fruit is named after the brown, fuzzy flightless kiwi bird of New Zealand.  It is high in vitamin C and a good source of potassium.

The kiwi fruit (Actinidia) is a very attractive climber that is easy to grow in a sheltered, sunny position in your garden.  Once considered an exotic fruit you can successfully grow kiwis in the UK. Plant on a south or south west facing wall and this plant can be frost to fully hardy.  However young shoots are very vulnerable to frost so they may require some protection in the spring if you don’t live in a mild area.

Plant late autumn to early spring in fertile, well drained soil and incorporate organic matter. Kiwis are vigorous plants so ensure you have plenty of space and need to be planted out at four meter spacing's. Only one plant is necessary if a self-fertile cultivar is selected, otherwise plant male and female cultivars to ensure good pollination.

Mulch the base of the plant with organic matter in late winter and apply a general purpose fertiliser in the spring. Keep moist during the growing season, up to two to three times per week. It will take several years after planting before kiwis fruit. Pick the fruit in late autumn before the first frost and place in a fruit bowl for several weeks with other ripe fruit.  You can keep kiwi fruits in the refrigerator for up to three months.

Kiwis grow well trained as an espaliers or over a pergola.  To train into espaliers' cut back to 30 cm high after planting.  Tie the new leading shoot to a cane.  Train in a pair of shoots along each horizontal wire and pinch out tips when they fill space.  Lateral shoots grown at 50 cm intervals with produce fruit the following year if the tips are pinched out after they have developed five leaves.

During the winter cut back 25% of the oldest lateral to a bud 5 cm from the stem. These vigorous plants will need summer pruning to keep them in check.  Pinch out any side shoots that have developed.  Once fruit has set pinch back side shots to four or five stems. Cut back any non fruiting laterals from June onwards.

You can take propagate Actinidia by taking softwood cuttings in the spring, grafting and layering.

For related articles click onto:
Differences between vegetables and fruit
Feeding plants
Herbaceous borders
How to grow lavender
How do seedless fruits propagate
How to build a cold frame
How to take a stem cutting
How to propagate from root cuttings
How to propagate from seed
How to make compost
Plants for free
Preparing a seed bed
Shade loving fruit and nuts
Soil structure
The anatomy of vegetables
The worlds largest vegetable
What is a potager?
What is a vegetable?
What is the difference between a vegetable and a fruit?

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