Many people taught that kiwi plant could only be grown in large field (farm), No! it could also be grown at home!. I will teach exactly on how to grow kiwi plants at home. Kiwi is one of the most popular fruits, loved by many people and it is also grown in many different parts of the world, but it is very common in USA, AUSTRALIA, Zimbabwe, China, Newzeland, Japan, Russia etc.
To grow kiwi fruit plants at home, it requires a large home garden where they will be planted. Then prepare the garden, get the kiwi seeds, germinate the seeds and transplant them to the garden, and take care of them till they start growing fruits.
Kiwi is neither a warm weather nor a cold weather plant, it requires a moderate weather condition to grow healthy and do it’s best in terms of yields, but some of it’s Varieties do tolerate cold weather, but not frosty weather.
Kiwi is very popular, both on the domestic level of any country you could think of and even on the international level. This might be because of it’s sweet taste when eaten and it’s huge nutrients such as vitamins and minerals etc.
One unique thing about kiwi plant is that it is dioecious, this simply means that it has male and female. Before the female could fertilize and start growing fruits, the pollen from the male plant will have to Fertilize the female plant or plants.
In this article, you will learn the complete step by step process to grow kiwi at home and some necessary information you might need to know about growing this fruit plant at home.
VARIETIES OF KIWI TO GROW AT HOME
This content won’t be complete if I teach on how to grow kiwi at home without first of all mentioning and explaining the different varieties of kiwi plant.
This is to help you to make a good choice that will be very suitable for your home and environment when selecting the Variety of kiwi seeds to grow.
Some of the Varieties includes:
Arctic Kiwi: Arctic Beauty is the most cold tolerant among the different varieties of kiwi plant.
This Variety of kiwi posses a very hard fruit and has pink and white variegation on the leaves, thereby making it an attractive addition to the landscape.
This variedy has a smaller and sparser fruit than the other Varieties of kiwi vine, but it is very sweet and delicious,more than the others.
A good example of this Variety is the Krupnopladnaya, which has the largest fruit of the Arctic kiwis and Pautske is the most vigorous of the Arctic kiwis.
Each of these two types of Arctic kiwi do require a male pollinator in order to produce fruits.
Hardy Kiwis: This Variety of kiwi is popular for it’s tolerance of cold weather. This particular kiwi vine Variety is very perfect for regions that has light frost and short growing seasons, like the Pacific Northwest.
Hardy Kiwi is a hairless, green and small fruit, but it has a lot of flavor and is is very tolerant of conditions that the other kiwi varieties cannot tolerate.
A good example of the hardy Kiwi variety is Ananasnaya!.
It is a good example of this Variety, which has a green to purple-red skin and fragrant fruit.
Dumbarton Oaks and Geneva are too very productive, Geneva is an early producer!.
Issai is self-fertile and does not need a male tree to pollinate it before it could be fertile and grow fruits. The Fruits are borne in tight, and attractive clusters.
Fuzzy Kiwi: This one of the most common variety of Kiwi fruits seen in the fruit or grocery stores.
It is hardy only in the areas that has mild winters.
A good example of Fuzzy kiwi is Meander, which is another common one of the fuzzy kiwi vine varieties to give a try.
This Variety requires a male plant for pollination.
SITING AND THE PREPARATION OF WHERE TO GROW KIWI PLANTS AT HOME
Kiwi plant is a type of plant that has a unique characteristics, unlike other fruit plants.
Like I have mentioned above, this plant does not require both cold and hot weather, it requires a balanced or moderate weather condition, so before siting a place to cultivate them at home, make sure the place or garden does not have too much sun – heat or too much cold weather ( frost) and too much rain fall.
The site ( garden) should poses a type of soil that has the ability to drain water by itself, as this will help to reduce the amount of water that might be stored in the soil which is harmful to this plant.
Kiwi is a tall tree of above ( 30ft) and so it should not be closer to a living house.
It requires a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5 and so before siting a land at home, this should be considered too.
The soil should contain much of organic matter and large amount of nitrogen and phosphorus. ( Although this could be applied through Fertilizer).
When the land that meets all these requirements are gotten, the next step is to prepare the land for kiwi farming.
If the land is bushy, tools such as Cutlass, farm shovel and wheelbarrow is required!.
( Machines such as tractor is unnecessary as this is a home Garden and miggt not be large enough to use heavy machinery).
Uproot the bush with the shovel and pack them in a wheelbarrow and dispose them off!.
If there are other trees around the home Garden, don’t cut them down, as they will help to shelter the kiwi trees from the sun heat. Just trim them off some branches, that’s all!.
After getting the land ready, organic manures might be sprayed on the empty land and and also herbicide and insecticide might be used to fumigate the soil.
Now make holes that are big enough to contain the roots of the young kiwi plants ( as they will be transplanted to the home garden).
An interval of about 10 feet should be given, as the trees will need enough space to thrive.
GETTING, PREPARATION AND GERMINATION OF KIWI SEEDS FOR PLANTING AT HOME
When the land is ready, the next thing is always to sow the seeds, but first the seeds must be gotten ( purchased) and germinated!.
Kiwi is best not planted directly in the ground as there is a high possibility of many of them not germinating at all!, so the best method is to germinate them yourself before planting.
To get the kiwi seeds, go to any reputable seed store and get them or ORDER AT MY RECOMMENDED SEEDS STORE.
One particular reason why it is advisable to get the seeds from a reputable seeds store, just like the one I recommended above is because, the seeds they sell are in good farming condition and well treated! ( I often order from them).
When the seeds arrive, take them to a place where they will germinate, but before you do that ( just in case the seed was not from a reputable seed store) first of all check if they are in good farming condition.
To check them, get a pot and fill it with water, take the seeds and place them into the water, use your finger to try to sink them.
If any of then refuse to sink, just know that it is not in a good farming condition and so, will not germinate.
When you must have been satisfied with the test, get the ones that are in a good farming condition and dry off the water.
Then get a tissue paper, use it to wrap them, then get a nylon that is airlock, put them into the nylon and tighten it, then keep it in a place that is neither hot nor cold.
When this is done correctly, it will take between 2 and 6 weeks for the seeds to start germinating.
When all of them might have sprouted, get some pots or flower pots, fill them with Sandy loam soil that’s rich in organic matter, get the germinated seeds into them and then cover their roots with the sand.
Water them at least twice a week with a small quantity of water, at least a spoonful of water each.
On an average, they should stay in the box or pot for about 2 or 3 months, by which time they must have grown quiet well and strong for transplant.
TRANSPLANTING OF OF KIWI PLANTS TO HOME GARDEN
After about 2 or 3 months, by which time the young kiwi plants must have grown strong for transplant, then transplant them to the site where they will be grown permanently.
To transplant them, take the pots or boxes to the home garden where they will be planted, use a small farm spade to get them out from their boxes or pots, with their roots intact, then place them into the holes you made in the garden.
When placing them in their planting holes, make sure their roots are relaxed and have enough space in the ground. Then cover with soil mixed with organic matter, and spray small amount of water on them.
The best time to do this is in the month of January, when the weather is not too cold, hot and when there is not much rainfall.
Kiwi plants requires a temperature of about 40°F.
CARE OF HOME GROWN KIWI PLANT
Kiwi plant is a perennial plant, they takes up to 7 years before they could be matured enough to start growing fruits, so they take time to grow and also takes much work to care for them.
Immediately they are planted, the work has just began!.
Some of the cares required by kiwi plants are:
Weeding: Weed is a great disturbance to this plant, as it requires a good space to grow to it’s full potential.
When this plant is planted, Within a short while, weed of many kinds will tend to sprout out from many angles in the garden which if not properly controlled might harm the plants, in terms of competing with them on sucking the soil water and nutrients which will affect the plants negatively. This weed disturbance is very harmful during their infant stage, but less harmful when fully grown and developed.
That is why I do recommend the fumigation of the soil with herbicide, even before the plants have been planted, in order to curtail the growth of weed, especially at that initial stage when the plants are very prone to weed’s harmful effect.
Herbicide could still be applied at any stage of the plants, wether fully grown or not.
Apart from the use of herbicide to control weed on kiwi plants at home, it could be done manually with the use of tools such as weeding hoe, farm shovel and rake.
Use the hoe or shovel to uproot them, then rake them with a rake and dispose them off!
Although the use of tools to weed manually is very tiresome and taskful, as they might keep re – growing within a short period of time, but the use of chemical ( herbicide) might curtail their growth for quit a very long time.
Pruning: Pruning is another great way to take care of kiwi plant. ( pruning is the removal or cutting of uneeded branches).
From time to time, there must be some branches or parts of the tree that will start dying, in this case, it is very necessary to remove them so that the tree will grow more healthy.
Fertilization: Kiwi as a tree also need Fertilization, as I have mentioned earlier on this topic, kiwi plant needs alot of nitrogen.
Nitrogen Fertilizer is very important for this plant, especially when it is still small.
Although organic manures might be added to improve the soil quality too.
Irrigation: I mentioned earlier that kiwi is neither a warm weather plant nor a cold weather plant, and it does not like too much water not damp soil. This does not mean it requires no water or irrigation at all.
When growing kiwi at home, it will be more easier for you to water them. The watering process starts from when the seeds are sown until when they start having fruits.
Water helps to germinate the seeds, so little amount of it needs to be applied to germinate the seeds. When transplanting, small amount of water is needed also. Even when they are growing or might have grown, they still need water too.
This plant need at least in a minimum 450mm of rainfall per annum.
There should be no need of applying water during the rainy season as the rain will have to do the work for you., Although the rain shouldn’t be much, or it will waterlog the soil which is very harmful to this plant, that is why I recommend growing this plant on a self draining soil.
This plant could also be taken care of by adding heap of sand to it’s bottom (roots).
This is very necessary when the kiwi trees have grown very old and their roots might start surfacing and some of the branches and leaves might start wilting and dying, at this stage, to refresh the trees and give make them live a little bit longer and produce more fruits, they have to be supplied with sand!.
To do this, get a wheelbarrow and a shovel, go and pack heap of loamy soil or red soil that is rich in organic matter, or mix the sand with tons of manure or fertilizer. Dump them at the bottom of each kiwi tree, use shovel to spread it around them.
This will start having a positive effect on them after a few months by refreshing them. ( growing new leave and branches)
NOTE – This is my personal method I use on some of my trees and it works very fine.
Mulch is also also a necessary care to give to kiwi plants!. When mulch is much more needed is during the dry season, when the sunheat is very much and the rain is no where to be found, to retain some of the water that is still needed by the plants and also to protect their roots from heat, mulch have to be applied!.
To do this, I always recommend green leaves ( compost). use them to cover the bottom of the trees.
NOTE – Mulch is very necessary when the kiwi trees are still tender and unneeded once they’re have grown.
Also the leaves turns to manure when they decay which is still helpful to the trees.
Kiwi pests and disease Control at home:. Kiwi plants are not very immune to pests and diseases, more especially when they are still young.
There are many pests and diseases of this plant, they are:
Kiwi diseases includes:
Blight Pseudomonas spp:
This disease is known by it’s brown, sunken lesions on petals covering the flower buds.
yellow-orange discoloration of petals. Small yellow spots may be seen on the leaves after rainfall.
This disease is caused by the bacteria entering the plants through it’s wounds.
To control this disease, try as much as possible to avoid any injury on the plants, which allows the bacteria to enter them.
As of now, there are currently no known chemical control strategies for this disease than the above guide.
Bleeding canker Pseudomonas syringae:
This disease is known when the plants start wilting, the canes start blighting, red rust colored cankers on branches, etc which may exude red colored discharge.
This disease is cause by the over winter of the vine.
To control this disease, the Infected parts should be pruned by cutting 1 foot below the edge of the canker ( This is why pruning of kiwi trees is very important).
The disease could be reduced or minimized by protecting the plants from freeze injuries in the winter.
Armillaria root rot (Armillaria mellea): With the advent of this disease, the
vines may be totally collapsed, white mycelial mats may be seen under the bark that’s closer to the soil. The cortical tissue will have a dark discoloration and white mycelial strands are seen.
This disease is caused by fungus.
This disease develops as a result of continuous damp soil.
Inorder to control and prevent this disease, make sure that the land to be used for new kiwi plantings is completely cleared of roots which are greater than 1 inch in diameter, also make sure that kiwi vines are adequately irrigated but avoid over watering at any cost, so that the soil won’t become damp ( waterlogged).
Crown gall Agrobacterium tumefaciens:
Kiwi pest includes:
Spider mites: This pest is known by their web and the bending of the leaves.
Inorder to control it, neem oil can be used!.
Thrips: This pest is known to be very destructive to kiwi plants by damaging the leaves and causing stunt growth of the plant.
In order to control it, the affected branches should be sprayed with a ton of water with hose.
Leafrollers: Leafroller Caterpillars are known to be the least pest of kiwi plant, but they feed heavily on the fruits.
Don’t use chemical on them in order not to kill the beneficial pests that do eliminate the leafrollers.
Nematodes: Nematode is a harmless kiwi roundworm that inhibits on kiwi tree.
They are harmless when they are few, but when they are in a larger number, they become a pest by weakening the tree ( branches).
Nematodes could be controlled by fumigating the soil before growing kiwi.
Japanese beetles: These are metallic green bugs that are beautiful.
The Japanese beetles, with their voracious appetites, are the bane of this fruit.
To control it, allow birds such as robins and other birds on your kiwi home. Birds do love to peck on the grubs.
Although chemicals could also be used to control them, but it is not very advisable.
HARVEST OF HOME GROWN KIWI PLANTS
Like I have mentioned earlier on this topic, kiwi plants takes a very long time to mature and start yielding fruits. On an average, it takes about 7 years for this tree to start growing fruits, although it depends on the Variety.
Around 7 years of age, ( depending on the variety) it will start yielding fruits. The first fruit will be the biggest ( it depends).
To harvest them, use farm ladder to climb and pluck them will wearing hand glove because it has stiff hair all over it.
The fruits are rubbed with a coarse cloth after harvesting in order to remove the stiff hair present on their surface
After the harvest, it will take roughly about 2 weeks for the hardened fruits to soften and be edible. ( ripe).
After plucking or harvesting kiwi fruits, the next step is to store them.
To store kiwi fruits, they have to be kept in a room temperature for about 2 weeks or a little bit less before they could be ripe and after that, they could be stored into a refrigerator which could last for about 2 weeks or more.
Avoid storing kiwi fruits with apple or banana as they posses ethylene gas which speeds up the ripening process hence shortening their Storage life span.
USES/IMPORTANCE OF GROWING KIWI AT HOME
One of the importance of growing kiwi tree at home is because it serves as source of beauty which beautifies the home and also protects it from hot sunshine and gives fresh air.
Growing kiwi at home makes it very easy to be gotten when needed, and it also saves the money which might be used to purchase it from the stores.
It makes it very easy for the farmer to take care of them because they are in the home.
According to healthline, kiwi fruit has the following health benefits – It Helps to treat asthma.
It helps in the digestion process.
Boosts immune system.
Helps prevent sickness.
Manages blood pressure.
Reduces blood clotting.
Protects against vision loss/Helps with eye sight,
With the above with the above teaching and guide, you will be able to grow kiwi at home if you follow my guide.
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