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  • How to grow kiwi fruit

    Thanks to John Harrison of Allotment & Gardens.

    Kiwifruit can be grown successfully in the UK so long as you have plenty of space and a sunny spot. Despite the ‘kiwi’ name suggesting they come from New Zealand, they are actually from southern China originally. Nowadays most kiwifruit sold in the UK comes from Italy.

    Kiwi Fruit

    Kiwi fruit can be bought as all-female, all-male or self-fertile varieties. All female varieties tend to crop better so long as there is a male plant nearby to pollinate them. The ideal ratio is one male per three or four females.

    Growing Kiwi Fruit

    • Kiwi require plenty of space and a sheltered, sunny spot in which to thrive.
    • If planting both a female and male, space 3–4.5 m (10–15 feet) apart.
    • Plant into a slightly acidic soil, well-drained and rich in organic matter, against a wall or fence or over a pergola.
    • Mulch around the base of the plant, avoiding direct contact with the stem to prevent rotting, and apply a general-purpose fertilizer as the new spring growth starts.
    • Tie in the stems as they grow.
    • Don’t let the plant dry out, particularly in hot, dry weather.
    • New plants start to produce fruits after 3–4 years.
    • Plant the container-grown kiwi vines at any time of the year.
    • Harvest from established plants in the late summer through to September–October, depending upon the variety.

    Harvesting Kiwis

    • Pick your fruit before the first frosts of the year. To ripen, place with other fruit in your fruit bowl, especially bananas.

    Pests and Problems with Kiwis

    • Protect the young shoots from frost with fleece.

    Varieties of Kiwi

    • If you’re just growing one kiwi fruit, ensure you plant a self-fertile variety, otherwise you will need both a male and a female plants – the female produces the fruit and the male is required for pollination.

    Eating

    • Unripe kiwi will keep in the bottom of the fridge for two–three months.
    • Kiwi fruit are high in vitamin C

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