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Hardy Kiwi Guild

 
Posts: 66
Location: Western Kentucky - Zone 7
7
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Hardy kiwi varieties Anna and Meader (Issai not so much) do excellent in my area's clay soil, and I am still toying with what may go well with them in the shade. Not much info online about kiwi guilds. What have y'all tried?
Staff note (Mike Barkley):

Added this to some more forums. Hope you don't mind.

 
master steward
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I wondered about this a few years back, and just got some kiwi vines ordered!

When I asked a few years back (https://permies.com/t/49407/Growing-Kiwis-Grapes-blackberries) people said that kiwis grow well with other vining plants like blackberries, grapes and passionfruit. A lot of things seem to grow well with them, and strawberries seem to be a popular ground cover.

Since my kiwis will be in a raised bed to keep them dry during their growing season, I don't know how many other plants I'll be able to grow with them, but I am planning on having strawberries as a ground cover!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1141
Location: Victoria BC
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Are you planning to grow them up trees, or on a constructed trellis?

I have a couple of spruce trees that I am considering as a kiwi trellis... problem is the spruce needles are so damned pointy that pruning and picking will be unpleasant. May end up removing them, but then it's either wait for replacement trees to grow, or build a trellis... and I'm busy!

Kevin, good to hear those two do well in clay for you, I have a LOT of clay... pretty sure I've got an 'Anna' among my cultivars..

Other than maybe apple trees for trellis, I figure I will mostly pair potted stuff with them, taking advantage of the windbreak and shade for nursery plants than need some protection.
 
Kevin Goheen
Posts: 66
Location: Western Kentucky - Zone 7
7
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I am growing them on a trellis. Even though I wouldn't call them invasive, they are certainly aggressive in growth in the shade where I live. Very similar in vigor to Japanese honeysuckle. I wouldn't advise growing them on a tree, but they might go well with a nitrogen fixer like an Autumn olive. Blackberries where I live like full hot sun, so they wouldn't be as good a pick. Perhaps raspberries, if they had a better tolerance to clay soil. Passionfruit might work well, but would be a mess removing the dead each year from the mass of kiwi vines, as maypop passionfruit dies to the ground each year.

At the moment I am already growing a permaculture vineyard with grapes and blackberries. The issue with grapes is I have to remove the stretches of vines that go past their allotted space. With as vigorous as kiwi are it would be very difficult to get them out. I have kiwi right now that have reached across the walking path and have grown into each other. For the most part I think most plants would have to be limited to the bottom three foot of the trellis to be a viable companion where I live. I have tried currants and gooseberries, but the varieties I have planted do not seem to like clay soil as I mentioned in another post. Black raspberries might be a viable option. Right now I have a small guild of a black walnut with black raspberries and daylilies.

The big note to this is hardy kiwi do have a shade requirement for how hot my area gets, but they do very well. So options need to be more shade friendly.
 
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I love Kiwi. Never tried to grow it, but after reading how you guys are doing maybe I will give it a try!
 
D Nikolls
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Interesting. The ones I planted at my parents place seemed to want more sun; I have seen them happy in pretty much full sun in my biome.

Are you putting your trellis below larger trees, or the north side of a structure for shade? Or some other technique? I am not well versed in short, shade loving plants, I am sure there are some great options in terms of forest floor herbs, ephemerals, bulbs and such... maybe a post seeking those would draw in someone with better info.


Deedee, I think hardy kiwis are one of the best things around. I like them better than the regular full size kiwis, and am baffled that they are not more common! There are numerous cultivars, and several varieties with some variation in cold hardiness and sun preference, so they are suited to a really wide range of climates and sites!
 
Kevin Goheen
Posts: 66
Location: Western Kentucky - Zone 7
7
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Yeah it regularly gets to 100 in Late July and August here in West Ky. I have also seen it get to 115 about six years ago, so yeah it just simply to hot for them in direct sun here. The trellis is under some trees in a nestled area toward a small valley, and it is oriented East/West, but they probably gets about 4 hours or so of sunlight. I know toward Maine it grows like Kudzu! Maybe if I am fortunate I can get some well trimmed lovage to grow in the spot, but it still maybe too hot for the lovage to grow either. I definately do want to find another shorter fruit to grow along with it.
 
pollinator
Posts: 410
Location: Huntsville Alabama (North Alabama), Zone 7B
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I am growing hardy and fuzzy kiwi (A. Chinensis) in a pergola with a shade cloth over head.  I spread out some White Dutch Clover on top of the wood chips i did under the pergola.  
I will folllow this discussion for any good ideas.
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Posts: 81
Location: Kitsap Penninsula, WA
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I have fuzzy kiwi and kiwi berries growing on different trellises next to our grape arbors. I have done underplantings of bulbs (tulip, daffodil, etc), calendula, lovage and lemon balm. Then some strawberries here and there (honeoye mostly) to create a denser carpet underneath it all. A couple of comfrey plants (which will become a thousand in no time flat) round everything out. Our arbors are in direct sun, being in the northwest, but positioned so that the sun sets behind a building cooling them off by about 5:00pm in the summer. They are lined up like a stand of pony hitches, about chest high, and everything just grows underneath them. They are about 4.5 feet high and 10 feet long.

I chop and drop the comfrey whenever it gets big, and mulch really well in the late fall with rabbit/duck manure and bedding and then top off with thick wood chip mulch (with some evergreen boughs to keep the slugs off). This year, I'm going to plant daikon radish in there as well to dig way down and bring nutrients up top. Then I'll pick 'em and pickle 'em. We have very sandy, rocky soil, and have been working on introducing a rich amount of biomass. My wheelbarrow never worked this hard...

Anyhow - I've gone off track. Good luck with your guild! I know how hot it can get down there - this last year we were in the 90's for about 3 weeks and the kiwi's took a beating. Over time, I may have to relocate or shade cloth them as the summers get hotter.

Cheers!

 
pioneer
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I planted 3 hardy kiwi here in my heavy clay 4 years ago.  They are alive,  but the largest is less than a foot tall.   They have been snipped off by rabbits in the winter twice but have never grown more than 6 inches or so in a summer.
 
master steward
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I heard a neat idea.  Since hardy kiwi's need a sturdy trellis, and trelli take up room, put the female kiwis on trellises (trilli?) and let the males climb up a tree you don't care about (spruce, etc).  The bees don't care and you don't need to pick it so why build a trellis for the male kiwis.

Side note, my kiwis are about 9' tall and growing strongly.  But they seem to be pretty light weight.  I read that they need huge and sturdy trellises.  Do they really need to be sturdy or just big?  I have some cuttings so I hope to start several more this year.

I agree Dillon, I got my first fruit last year and they seemed like a no brainer.  Big enough to make picking worthwhile, no fuzzy skin to work around and they taste great.  You think everyone would want one in their back yard...
 
Kevin Goheen
Posts: 66
Location: Western Kentucky - Zone 7
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Trace Oswald wrote:I planted 3 hardy kiwi here in my heavy clay 4 years ago.  They are alive,  but the largest is less than a foot tall.   They have been snipped off by rabbits in the winter twice but have never grown more than 6 inches or so in a summer.



We rarely have rabbit problems anymore since we take chicken wire and cut about a 1'x2' piece and face the barbs up. If you have trouble with voles face the barbs down.

Also ours are about 25' considering all the vines. The key for us was shade, and our soil is a very heavy clay.
 
Kevin Goheen
Posts: 66
Location: Western Kentucky - Zone 7
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Mike Jay wrote:I heard a neat idea.  Since hardy kiwi's need a sturdy trellis, and trelli take up room, put the female kiwis on trellises (trilli?) and let the males climb up a tree you don't care about (spruce, etc).  The bees don't care and you don't need to pick it so why build a trellis for the male kiwis.

Side note, my kiwis are about 9' tall and growing strongly.  But they seem to be pretty light weight.  I read that they need huge and sturdy trellises.  Do they really need to be sturdy or just big?  I have some cuttings so I hope to start several more this year.

I agree Dillon, I got my first fruit last year and they seemed like a no brainer.  Big enough to make picking worthwhile, no fuzzy skin to work around and they taste great.  You think everyone would want one in their back yard...



I suggest a large trellis because they can go crazy. In the Northeast they scale hundred foot trees. They are said to bear up to 100 lbs of fruit, still hoping they bloom this year, since the bud so early.
 
Mike Haasl
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Kevin Goheen wrote:We rarely have rabbit problems anymore since we take chicken wire and cut about a 1'x2' piece and face the barbs up. If you have trouble with voles face the barbs down.


How do you arrange the chicken wire piece?  Flat on the ground?  By "barbs", I'm assuming you mean the cut wires of the chicken wire?
 
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