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Anyone growing Kiwi's?


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#1 mikeinsc

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 07:52 AM

There is a garden center here that is selling male and female Kiwi vines. I'd like to grow some but before I spend $60 a plant, I want to hear others opinions, tips and advice.

Thanks


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#2 Avon Barksdale

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:24 AM

Which kind are they selling? The large, fuzzy, grocery store kind, or the small, smooth-skinned hardy/arctic kiwi? $60 a plant is a little extreme. Lowe's here had the hardy kiwis for like $10 a plant. I'm sure you can find them online much cheaper than $60 per plant even after shipping. One male can pollenate quite a few female plants also. I think they usually say you only need 1 male per 8 or 9 females. I haven't grown either kind so I can't really offer any advice, I will try the hardy kiwis once I get some more space.

Edited by Avon Barksdale, 09 February 2012 - 10:33 AM.

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#3 mikeinsc

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 11:13 AM

I'm not sure of the variety. The leaves and vines are fuzzy like the kiwi fruit if that helps?
How big are the kiwi's you saw at Lowes? These plants are staked at about 6'-7' in length.
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#4 kentishman

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 11:57 AM

Kiwis will grow in the Clemson area. My friend had large crops regularly. I dug up a female plant from his yard and have it in my yard near Walhalla. However, I've neglected it and never planted a male. In spite of the neglect, it grows quite vigorously (almost like kudzu!).

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Edited by kentishman, 09 February 2012 - 11:57 AM.


#5 Lawrence

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:21 PM

I grew some from seed a few years ago but father in law forgot to water them when we went on holiday! Lost all my chillies as well :cry:
I just used the seed from a supermarket fruit, a lot of websites say you should put them in the fridge for about 4 months! I never did, I just planted them and it worked for me.(maybe the fruit was cold stored?)
My local hardware store was selling plants recently and I bought one for £3.28, I think that is about $5 so $60 seems a lot!
There are self fertile varieties, but as mentioned others are all male or all female plants which means you will need at least two plants to get fruit.
OOPS, forgot to mention that to make it harder, you can't tell them apart!

Edited by Lawrence, 09 February 2012 - 12:49 PM.


#6 Ají hombre

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:33 PM

I've got 3 female "Vincent" and one male growing on a structure in my front yard. The yield is great and maintenance low, though the fruit take forever to ripen--but our house is pretty cold in the winter. Part of last year's crop is still on the vines in places I couldn't reach, and the plant is also starting to leaf out. One year I had no fruit, and it turned out it was because the male had died. It was hard to tell because of the way all of the vines interweave making a canopy. The vines are famous for crushing 4X4 vertical supports made of wood, so be warned.

But unless you're looking at an exotic, hard-to-find variety $60 is too much.
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#7 Avon Barksdale

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 01:12 PM

I'm not sure of the variety. The leaves and vines are fuzzy like the kiwi fruit if that helps?
How big are the kiwi's you saw at Lowes? These plants are staked at about 6'-7' in length.


These were only about 1' tall, so I suppose that makes a bit more sense. But kiwis are a pretty fast growing, low-maintenance vine, so for me it's not worth paying that much money for a bigger one. $60 for a 3-4 year old, slow growing tree is one thing, but not for a kiwi that can reach that size pretty quickly. It's kind of like paying $5 for a foot tall tomato plant when the $.50 plant will be that size in 2 weeks. I would rather order several females and a male that are smaller in size for less money.

Since you're in SC you probably have the large fuzzy kind I'm guessing since your climate is warm enough for it. If it were the other kind it would almost certainly say "hardy" or "arctic" or "smooth-skinned" or something on the tag.

Do you have a support structure in mind for them? You're going to need something to prop them since they're a vine and they get very large, heavy, and productive in a few years. When I have some more space to work with I'm planning on growing the hardy kind with some kind of trellis system similar to this:

Posted Image
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#8 mikeinsc

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 01:55 PM

The vines can crush a 4x4 trellis? Darn! That's exactly what I had in mind for it too. Well, a pergola built with 4x4's and 2x6's anyway.

I just called the garden center. The females are 'Vincent' and the males are 'Tomouri'. They are $36, not $60. I was apparently confused or faulty memory.


Lawrence, have you ever identified what variety you have that's self fertile?


Aji Hombre, how are you supporting your kiwi?
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#9 Lawrence

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 02:06 PM

The self fertile variety I have is "Jenny"

#10 Ají hombre

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:06 PM

Posted Image
My uncle had warned me about kiwis crushing square 4x4s and advised me to use round lumber for vertical support. I did, but being nervous about killer kiwi vines, I also planted at some distance away from the verticals and trained the vines up to the upper portion of the pergola-like structure with bamboo poles, and I never gave them a chance to wrap around the verticals.

In Avon B's pic the vines are neatly trained on horizontal wires, which have the advantages of being strong and also crush-proof.
Jeff

#11 Trippa

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:40 AM

I am intrigued how you grow birds on vines ;)

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#12 Avon Barksdale

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:12 PM

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Edited by Avon Barksdale, 16 February 2012 - 01:13 PM.

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#13 Trippa

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:48 PM

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Sorry couldn't help myself seeing as I am a New Zealander and our official native bird is the Kiwi :) We also have a big export industry in New Zealand with the Kiwifruit ( which is what we all call the fruit) but they are exported under the Zespri brand both the golden and green fleshed varieties

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#14 Ají hombre

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 06:03 PM

Yah, sometimes with the exchanges between antipodes things get a bit confusing. The only big fuzzy birds we have out here are chickens--or "chooks" as you call 'em. They're delicious. And no, they don't grow on vines.
Jeff




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