10 secrets for growing kiwis in your garden
Kiwi is a deciduous climbing shrub that gives us kiwi, the favorite exotic fruit with the sweet and sour taste that we consume in autumn. The kiwi reaches a length of 4-5 meters and as a plant is somewhat reminiscent of a vine. It forms vines that grow very quickly and are shaped like a bed. The main feature of kiwi is that the males with the female flowers are found in different plants, ie it is an administrative plant.
Kiwi originates from China and is widely cultivated in New Zealand, as well as in several southern European countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Greece. Kiwi fruit is brown on the outside and usually has juicy green flesh and small black seeds. It has a high nutritional value and is an important source of vitamin C, with a content higher than orange. Kiwi is also rich in vitamin K and E, magnesium and potassium as well as fiber. Kiwi is very pleasant to eat as a fresh fruit, as well as used in juices, various drinks and liqueurs. Let’s see in detail, how we can grow kiwis to enjoy its juicy and delicious fruits from our garden.
1. What are the most well-known varieties of kiwi?
The most well-known varieties of kiwi grown are species of the genus Actinidia deliciosa with the characteristic green flesh color. There are also yellow-flesh varieties of the genus Actinidia chinensis, as well as varieties with red flesh. The most common kiwi variety is the Hayward variety, which is characterized by large fruit size, high production and long fruit preservation period. Another excellent variety is the Greek variety Tsechelidis, which comes from Hayward, is a little earlier and has similar quality characteristics. Other varieties include Bruno, Abbott, Elmwood, Koryoku, as well as the early summer variety Summerkiwi.
2. What conditions does a kiwi cultivate need to thrive?
Kiwi cultivation thrives in areas with relatively mild winters and summers with high temperatures and sufficient humidity. Kiwi is sensitive to strong winds, especially during the spring when the vines grow, as fractures are created in the shoots and we have extensive leaf fall. For this reason, we avoid planting kiwi in coastal areas, as well as in areas with strong winds.
Kiwi thrives in deep and fertile soils that have good drainage and are rich in organic matter. For planting kiwi, we prefer relatively acidic soils with low calcium carbonate content and pH from 5.5 to 7. In soils with high pH and high calcium content, there will be a lack of various elements such as magnesium, iron, zinc and boron.
3. When do we plant kiwis and at what distances?
Kiwi can be planted as a bare-rooted plant, ie without a soil ball at the root, from late autumn to late winter when the plant is dormant. It is also planted in spring and summer, as long as the plants have taken root in pots. When planting, it is necessary every 5-6 female kiwi trees, to plant a male kiwi. In this way, we achieve more efficient pollination, as the fertilization of the plant is done by the wind or through the bees.
Suggested planting distances for the cultivation of kiwi, depending on the shape of the configuration are the following:
– In a linear formation scheme, the planting distances are 6-7 meters between the plants and 4-5 meters between the planting lines.
– In the form of a half-bed formation, the planting distances between the plants are 6-6.5 meters and between the planting lines are 5-5.5 meters.
– In the form of a bed formation, the planting distances between the lines are 5.5 meters and between the planting lines 4-4.5 meters.
4. How often does the kiwi crop need watering?
Kiwi needs several waterings at a constant frequency, as it has a superficial root system. We water every 2-3 days during the spring and summer period, depending on the prevailing temperatures. Reduced watering and relative humidity in the soil can cause the leaves to twist, the edges of the leaves to burn and the leaves to fall in the summer, as well as reduced fruit growth. We prefer a drip irrigation system for more efficient watering and to achieve water savings. It is also important that the irrigation water is of good quality with a low salt content.
5. How often does kiwi cultivation need fertilizer?
Kiwi cultivation has significant nutrient needs for good growth and production. In early spring, we add organic fertilizer with a high nitrogen content to ensure rich vegetation. In late spring, iron can be added to the soil in the form of iron sulphate or in the form of water-soluble chelate iron, while foliar fertilization with trace elements of iron, boron and zinc can be done. In early summer, we add organic fertilizer rich in potassium to enhance the fruiting of kiwi.
6. What diseases and insects affect the cultivation of kiwi?
In conditions of excessive humidity, the cultivation of kiwi can be affected by various bacterial diseases, such as bacterial ulcer of kiwi and carcinoma. Also, from various fungal diseases that affect the roots, such as phytophthora, or fruits such as botrytis. For the biological control of fungal and bacterial diseases, we spray with copper preparations that we procure from agricultural stores. Kiwi can be infected by various insects that infect the foliage and fruits, such as cotton, apple cider, metcalpha, thrips, as well as the nightshade. To treat insect infestations, we spray with organic insecticides such as summer pulp, potassium salts and natural pyrethrin.
7. What season and how is kiwi pruned?
The kiwi is pruned at the end of winter and is divided into shaping pruning applied to young trees and fruiting pruning that we do every year on adult trees.
– Pruning shaping kiwi
Kiwi pruning is done in the first three years after planting and aims to shape the shape according to the training system chosen. In any case, the shaping pruning should be relatively light and aim at shaping a strong trunk and strong central branches (arms) that will withstand the weight of fruiting.
– Fruit pruning of kiwi
Fruit pruning begins to be applied from the fourth year that kiwi shoots have grown. With the annual fruiting pruning, the fruiting branches are replaced in order to develop new shoots that will give new production. At the same time, we remove dry and weak shoots or shoots that have been infected by diseases and insects. By fruiting pruning, we ensure better ventilation and lighting in kiwi plants and at the same time facilitate the implementation of cultivation work, such as the use of a lawn mower to control weeds.
8. In what ways is kiwifruit propagated?
We can create new kiwi plants in three ways: a) by seed, b) by cuttings and c) by grafting.
9. When are kiwis harvested and how are they preserved?
Kiwis are harvested in mid to late autumn when the fruits begin to ripen. Collect the kiwis by hand or with scissors, preferring to cut a small part of the pod so that the kiwis have a longer shelf life. Kiwi fruits can be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator, without compromising their quality. In hardy varieties like Hayward, refrigeration can take months.
10. And one last secret for growing kiwi
If we prefer large kiwi fruits, in June, before the period of rapid growth of kiwi fruits begins, the fruits can be thinned to ensure the production of larger fruits.