BY DONNA WESTFALL
Who knew that you could grow Kiwi’s in our area? This funny little fuzzy fruit is perfectly succulent when ripe. It adds zest to a fruit salad. It dresses up tarts.
Kiwi’s are originally from Asia. One vine can produce 50 to 100 pounds of fruit. They need full sun and growing conditions down to zone 4. Our area is a zone 8. In order to produce fruit you need a male and a female plant. Now, figuring out which is which is sorta like figuring out chickens from roosters when they’re babies. Hard, but not impossible.
Or, you can start kiwi’s from seed by taking a fresh store bought kiwi and cutting it into fourths. Scrape the seeds onto a dry paper towel. Take another paper towel and blot the seeds. Then put the dry blotted seeds onto a damp paper towel, folding the towel over twice and insert this into a plastic bag Close the bag 75% leaving a little opening for air circulation. Check daily to see that the seeds remain damp. Add a little water if necessary. In about a week, you’ll see the seeds begin to sprout. Get a small pot with soil in it and place four seeds on top of the soil. Sprinkle a little soil on top of the seeds just enough to cover them. Take a spray bottle filled with water and spray the seeds because the seeds are so delicate. Place your pot in a window sill where it will receive light. Place the plastic bag over the top of the pot to keep the seeds warm and help retain moisture.
In about 2 weeks, the seeds will sprout through the soil. Then you can watch them grow. Two months later, those seedlings will be several inches tall and it may be time to thin them out.
Why grow kiwi’s?
They are packed with vitamins and minerals. There are the fuzzy skin types and smooth skin types which are smaller. The smooth skin types get to the size of a grape to a small plum, ripening around mid August and harvesting continues for another 3 months. They produce fruit for up to 50 years. They are a beautiful plant and a great addition to any garden.