Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kiwi Fruit "Hayward"

The kiwifruit is native to the Yangtze River valley of northern China and Zhejiang Province on the coast of eastern China. Originally known as the Chinese Gooseberry. Kiwifruit was given when the fruit was brought to New Zealand for wide cultivation. The most common cultivars of kiwifruit are oval, about the size of a large hen's egg (5–8 cm / 2–3 in long and 4.5–5.5 cm / 1¾–2 in diameter). It has a fibrous, dull green-brown skin and bright green or golden flesh with rows of small, black, edible seeds. The fruit has a soft texture and a unique flavour, and today is a commercial crop in several countries.

How to grow
Kiwifruit will tolerate part shade but prefer a sunny location where they can ramble across some type of trellising system. The vines should be protected from strong winds. Spring gusts can snap off new growth where it emerges from the canes. Kiwifruit is not recommended for the hot dessert climates. Kiwifruit prefer somewhat acid (pH 5 - 6.5), well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter. Kiwifruit plants need large volumes of water during the entire growing season but must also be in well-drained soils. Watering regularly in the heat of the summer is a must. Never allow a plant to undergo drought stress.

For best fruit production, pruning in the winter is a must. All pruning techniques are usually based on a "cane replacement" and differ only based on the trellising method used. Kiwi vines need to be supported and this is usually done in one of three ways: single wire, 3-5 wire on a T-bar system, or onto a patio cover.

The plants need a long growing season (at least 240 frost-free days) which will not be hampered by late winter or early autumn freezes. When fully dormant they can withstand temperatures to about 10° F (and perhaps a bit lower.) However they must acclimate to cold slowly and any sudden plunge in temperature may cause trunk splitting and subsequent damage to the vine. Late winter freezing temperatures will kill any exposed buds which limits the adaptable growing areas of kiwifruit.

Sow seed should be done in a fine, somewhat sandy planter mix which is kept moist but not soaking wet. Seed germinates in 4 to 5 weeks

Maturity info
About 4 years

Nutrition info
Rich source of Vitamin A, C and E. Kiwifruit is often reported to have mild laxative effects, possibly because of the high level of dietary fiber. The skin is a good source of flavonoid antioxidants.

Health Benefit
prevention of prostate and lung cancer, prevent the mutations of genes that may initiate the cancer process.

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