Monday, 17 September 2012

Kiwi in Zone 8!

Kiwi's in the UK? Well, here's hoping for some vigorous growth and fruiting, at the very least, some wonderful learning and experimentation. I planted this new Kiwi plant (Actinidia deliciosa) out in July into a large, deep container of store bought compost, the plant grew really well and twirled its way up and beyond the stakes I'd placed for it. Being a hardy climber, it was clear I hadnt estimated the pot size and supporting structure correctly!

In this last few months she(?), he(?) quickly outgrew the first support structure, so it was time to move to a larger and more appropriate container with a sturdy, more permanent support. I built a planter and a trellis specifically for the job, and transplanted in mid September.

By next morning the neighbour cats had been in the planter scratching and snapped one of the vines clean off! Being ever resourceful, I cut that whole vine off and snipped it into shorter 6 inch pieces and put a couple directly into the raised bed,  another under a plastic container into a different planter, and yet another I let stand in a jar of water in the house.

First experiment so soon! I'll see if I get any success rooting any of these pieces, and if they do, which method works best.

Normally a male and a female plant are required to set fruit, I dont know yet which variety I have until its starts to flower. The ratio for producing a good crop is generally 1 male to four female, but my 'small holding' will only be supporting one of each. Once I discover which mine is, I'll get one of the opposite sex!

Kiwi is best grown in full sun and well drained soil, so far it seems pretty happy against the house, growing in a pot. I also planted a couple of strawberry plants in the planter as an under storey, and will see how these two get along.

This is the trellis I built, waiting to get fixed to the wall. I re-used old roofers slats taken down from a structure in the garden, painted it up to match the planter, and now need to affix it in place. Photos and instructions coming soon!

Online resources + information

Here's a great article on Kiwi growing and pruning.
Gorgeous Chocolate Kiwi popsicle recipe.

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