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Growing Kiwis and Grapes (and blackberries?) Together?

 
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I was reading in the Grape Vines in the Forest Garden thread, and saw Calvin mention that he grows his kiwis, blackberries, and grapes together along a fence:

Calvin Mars wrote:I have my grapes growing outside on a fence, mixed with thornless blackberries, and kiwi. I've even trained some of my neighbors to throw the seeds in strategic spots if they're going to cop a nibble (which is encouraged.)



I just got a bunch of cuttings of grape vines from my brother, and I've also been wanting to grow kiwis, too. Since my property is surrounded by conifers, and is north-facing, there aren't many good places to grow grapes or kiwis. The best place is in front of mound covered in native trailing blackberries. These berries are really yummy, but wouldn't want them to destroy my grapes or kiwis, as they will likely migrate by runners over to the trellis.

Would the blackberries out compete the grapes or kiwis, or cause them harm? Does anyone have any experience growing kiwis and grapes together? All I found online was this pdf, talking about growing them on the same trellis, but in separate directions: http://www.justfruitsandexotics.com/JFE/JF%20Multiple%20Fruit%20Tree%20Beds.pdf. Would I really need to grow them in separate sections of the fence/trellis or could I plant the grapes that root now all along the trellis, and then add kiwi plants when time/money allow? I rather like the idea of having all the fruit together on the same trellis so I can walk along it and pick fruit for months in a row as they ripen at separate times, but I don't want to do it if one or more of the plants will suffer.

Thank you!

P.S. Does anyone have recommendations for a ground-cover under the vines? There is currently grass growing there. I'd prefer something edible--like strawberries!--but I don't know if that would take too many nutrients. Ideas?
 
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On the patch of dirt I own, blackberries and grapes and wild strawberries were endemic. The wild strawberries, along with some domestic ones I planted the first year, make a great ground cover and don't seem to mind blackberries growing in among them. However, I don't seem to get many edible blackberries from those plants; my best bearing blackberries are in areas where they form a thicket from the ground up. Now I do harvest some asparagus from those thickets, so maybe asparagus are better companions for blackberries than strawberries are.

I also planted kiwis my first year here (2010) and while I have had some blooms, I have yet to harvest a mature fruit from my vines. They ramble over a rail fence and have no berry or grape companions. The only thing that grows in with the kiwis is wild lettuce and chicory. The vines are so heavy that not much grows beneath them, just stuff that can grow in cool weather (lettuce and chicory) and send up a flower stalk through the thick vines in the summer to go to seed.

Our grapes (muscadines) tend to be a little more rambling, and can crawl 10 feet up trees or go 30 feet laterally. They seem oblivious to the blackberries which have the ground up to about 4 feet staked out. I let the grapes grow in the wooded area along the north property line and there is no ground cover per se there, just a lot of oak leaf litter. Since they are in a woodsy environment, they aren't heavy producers, but they are an end of summer taste treat.
 
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Old thread, but I have something to share.
My grapes and kiwi share a bed, along with sunchokes, tomato volunteers,and bindweed!
Last summer was my first bumper crop of grapes. They dealt with the bind weeds,being shorn off at the fence line by the neibors and competing with the other plants by dominating the entire space.
I was sure the kiwi was dead, but when I slashed everything at the end of the year, their they were, going strong under the pressure of competing vines.
This coming year, I am going to use autumn leaves and comfry as mulch, hopefully they will supress the bindweed and sunchokes enough that I can keep up, and the kiwi will "leap" in this,it's third year.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Thank you, William! That's really great to know. It makes me almost want to risk planting some over where my bindweed lives (we're currently smothering it under black plastic). I've been wondering if other vining plants might help compete it...
 
William Bronson
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Check out this thread on Bindweed

I hope to try this and perhaps dry the greens to add to soups and sauces.
 
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In my limited experience, grape and kiwi work well together.
The kiwi won't grow at it's best speed, but the grape will protect it from strong winds and excessive sun.
The grape doesn't even notice the kiwi, if anything it grows better because of it.
I also had passionfruit growing through them both that did very good as well.

One element that certainly helped all three was a short (0,6 meter) thick (0,35m) brick wall protecting them from the wind and storing heat.

I no longer live in that house but I visited it recently and was glad to see the new owners kept the plants.
They are absolutely dominating, that short stretch of garden fence (4-5m) is a clearly visible landmark.
If the new owners don't trim it people won't be able to use the sidewalk anymore.

Here is a googlemaps picture of last year:
https://www.google.nl/maps/place/Almere+Poort,+Almere/@52.3508831,5.152436,3a,15y,313.57h,88.15t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sC_gq2T797xCr-hZTc1_SDA!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo1.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DC_gq2T797xCr-hZTc1_SDA%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D147.529%26pitch%3D0!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x47c6116a86891947:0xe05ab7380dec0f9a!8m2!3d52.3504547!4d5.1511459!6m1!1e1

It looks like this picture was taken after it was pruned, it is a lot bigger now.

Just in case my pride makes it bigger in my mind, it is the house on the corner with bright-green leaves.
 
William Bronson
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Checking back in with new info.
On the fence were my blackberries grow, grape vines volunteered!
I was very happy-until I realized how dominating the grape vine was.
I got very few berries thus year, and worse still, the grape vine did not produce either!
So,the grape vine will be hacked back for the winter,and trained in the spring.
The blackberries might get hacked too,everything is a jumbled multicultural,and I have no idea which canes are new.
Oh,I already pollarded the volunteer mulberry tree.
Made tree hay from it. It hasn't given me any berries yet and it (was) 15+ feet tall.
So watch the grape vines,they ain't no joke!
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Thank you, William! That's really great to know. It makes me almost want to risk planting some over where my bindweed lives (we're currently smothering it under black plastic). I've been wondering if other vining plants might help compete it...


I have a large chicken yard (fox proof wire walls and roof) with three well established kiwis and hope to add my 3 new kiwis plus passion fruit. I like the suggestion of adding grapevines, so will try this too.  Inside the yard I plan an informal Artemesia (wormwood) hedge closely fenced to protect from the chooks, but growing through the fence so the chickens brush up against the hedge, which will protect them from live and mites.
 
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... That's liCe and mites of course! (Bloody autocorrect!) I also like the strawberry ground cover suggestion. And I've just remembered some raspberry canes I've propagated - a climbing wall of fruit, fertilised by my girls! The beauty of the wire ceiling on the yard is that I can retrain all the fruiting vines to hang down through the wire... Protected from possums and any fruit that drops can be cleaned up by the hungry hordes. I'm in a cool mountain zone in Austalia, so it's all trial and error, since we moved here 5 months ago.
 
Meridie Fricker
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Nicole Alderman wrote:.....where my bindweed lives (we're currently smothering it under black plastic). I've been wondering if other vining plants might help compete it...


Nicole why don't you try cardboard covered by mulch to suppress the bindweed? It breaks down gradually which the soil loves and won't suffocate the air out of your soil.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Meridie Fricker wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:.....where my bindweed lives (we're currently smothering it under black plastic). I've been wondering if other vining plants might help compete it...


Nicole why don't you try cardboard covered by mulch to suppress the bindweed? It breaks down gradually which the soil loves and won't suffocate the air out of your soil.



There were actually a few reasons we went with black plastic. The first was that we had salmonberries and logs in the same area, and so it would be really difficult to cover with cardboard as the ground was really uneaven. It was also a really large area and we didn't have enough cardboard, let alone the time to take off all the tape from the cardboard. As for mulch, we didn't have any money to pay for that much mulch. So, we went with the black tarp to not only keep it too dark for the plants to grow, but also keep it dry, and also solarize it. We intended to leave the tarp in place for at least 5 years, to make sure eveything was dead. Since we didn't plan on gardening in this area for many years, we figured we could rehabilitate it then. The black tarp was to be a relatively "easy" way to contain the spread of bindweed so that it did not get into the rest of our garden.

Of course, it did not turn out as we planned. The black plastic degraded in the sun. Our ducks got up on top and pushed the tarp down over the salmonberry canes, poking holes in the tarp, and I think our chicken has increased the destruction of black tarp. So, we're going to need to remove it all before the plastic becomes so destroyed that the pieces are hard to find. The black plastic did, however, really do a number on the bindweed, which helped a lot when I (pregnant with a toddler) did not have time to go out daily and pull bindweed.

I honestly don't know what we'll do to rehabilitate the area now. The salmonberries make it really hard to mulch (they grow right up through cardboard and mulch), and when they poke through it makes a nice little avenue for bindweed to grow up through the mulch, too. I'm really at a loss. Buckwheat seems to help inhibit bindweed growth, but I don't know how successful it will be with all the salmonberry there.
 
William Bronson
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I just got chickens,and they loooove bindweed!
Out of all the crazy growth in the yard it seems to be their favorite.
I still ain't gonna propagate it, but at least it serves some purpose.
 
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I started 3 hardy kiwi vines 7 years ago on my  6' dog fence running north and south. The fence  had a wild grapevine on it. and I thought the 2 vines would provide great afternoon shade for my dog.  Both vines have completely covered the fence.  There's Burdock growing along the base of the fence and the vines are possible being fertilized by dog poop.  Since then, the grapevine has traveled over to the back porch and along the trellis.  The kiwi vine is almost as vigorous but doesn't travel as far. This past Spring the kiwi finally flowered.  They're all MALE vines! ARGH!!!  

The rambling wild grapevine provides at least 4 gallons of berries each summer to make jam or eat fresh if I want to deal with the large seeds.  The 4 gallons of berries are my share after the dang squirrels and birds.  No pests, plant problems except too many grapes.  I planted a 3' Isai kiwi and a red female vine in September so hopefully I'll get some kiwi fruit in 2019.
 
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Its been several years since  your original  post.
How did it work? I planted a kiwi only to find a grape vine covered by weeds. I  didn't tend the garden last year because of  cancer. Last winter I  bought  a kiwi of the discard  shelves.  And planted it. Then today while weeding,  and planting sweet potatoes,  I  found the grape not a foot away.  
I've trellised over the driveway  and ramp so that I can  access  my garden.
I'm  using mint and strawberries  as ground cover.
 
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Regarding the competitive nature of blackberries: In Brussels, I saw blackberries seemingly well on their way towards outcompeting a patch of Japanese knotweed... They just climbed over the top of the knotweed, and then sent down vines into the middle of the patch to root and (probably) keep going. I saw this a little over a year ago, and plan to go back next time I'm there to check how the war is getting on. Rooting for the blackberries!
 
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New link for the article on Multiple Fruit Bed Planting: https://justfruitsandexotics.com/wp-content/uploads/JF-Multiple-Fruit-Tree-Beds-1.pdf
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

Meridie Fricker wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:.....where my bindweed lives (we're currently smothering it under black plastic). I've been wondering if other vining plants might help compete it...


Nicole why don't you try cardboard covered by mulch to suppress the bindweed? It breaks down gradually which the soil loves and won't suffocate the air out of your soil.



There were actually a few reasons we went with black plastic. The first was that we had salmonberries and logs in the same area, and so it would be really difficult to cover with cardboard as the ground was really uneaven. It was also a really large area and we didn't have enough cardboard, let alone the time to take off all the tape from the cardboard. As for mulch, we didn't have any money to pay for that much mulch. So, we went with the black tarp to not only keep it too dark for the plants to grow, but also keep it dry, and also solarize it. We intended to leave the tarp in place for at least 5 years, to make sure eveything was dead. Since we didn't plan on gardening in this area for many years, we figured we could rehabilitate it then. The black tarp was to be a relatively "easy" way to contain the spread of bindweed so that it did not get into the rest of our garden.

Of course, it did not turn out as we planned. The black plastic degraded in the sun. Our ducks got up on top and pushed the tarp down over the salmonberry canes, poking holes in the tarp, and I think our chicken has increased the destruction of black tarp. So, we're going to need to remove it all before the plastic becomes so destroyed that the pieces are hard to find. The black plastic did, however, really do a number on the bindweed, which helped a lot when I (pregnant with a toddler) did not have time to go out daily and pull bindweed.

I honestly don't know what we'll do to rehabilitate the area now. The salmonberries make it really hard to mulch (they grow right up through cardboard and mulch), and when they poke through it makes a nice little avenue for bindweed to grow up through the mulch, too. I'm really at a loss. Buckwheat seems to help inhibit bindweed growth, but I don't know how successful it will be with all the salmonberry there.



From my experience, and from what I’ve been told, buckwheat will sprout and do well in a lot of different microclimates so I’d run with the buckwheat.

Also, i was thinking, if you didn’t mind the salmon berries, maybe you could mulch like suggested earlier the areas that have the bind weed and rather than settling with just mulch, maybe a rhizome barrier (comfrey, rhubarb, tulips, horseradish etc.) could be used to anticipate and inhibit the regrowth of the bindweed. Just thinking as I type. Hopefully it can be helpful. Then afterwards if you decided you wanted to deal with the salmon berries as well, you’d only be battling one species rather than two. Hopefully these ramblings can help. 👍🏼
 
Nicole Alderman
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Thanks for bumping this thread! I was actually out taking pictures of this area today for the How do you make your garden more resilient? thread.

I'm slowly in the process of rehabilitating the area. Here's what I've done so far:

(1) Pulled out all the black plastic pieces I could find. This was a nasty, yucky, slimy mess. YUCK. I think I did this 3 years ago? Maybe I got the courage to do it after making my post 4 years ago...but my daughter was still an infant back then, so I might have waited until she was a bit larger. I just remembered I desperately needed a shower after messing with that black plastic. So much anaerobic gunk was on it. *Shudder*

(2) Let everything grow back up to shade out the bindweed. So, blackberries, red elderberries, thimbleberries, salmonberries, etc, all grew up, and grew up tall. Whenever I spotted bindweed, I yanked as much as I could out. Other than that, I let the jungle grow, and grow it did! THis kept the bindweed basically in check. It didn't die out, but it didn't take over. I made sure to really watch the edges of the jungle to pull out any bindweed that sprouted.

Current state of the jungle


(3) Cut down the salmonberries, etc, in one long strip on the edge. Put down double+ layers of paper poultry feed bags. Covered that with duck bedding, compost, and other mulch. Then put a thin layer of organic topsoil/potting soil. I made this my "Zone 1" garden that's the most intensive. I go there nearly every day and cut out the blackberries, salmon berries, bindweed, etc that grows up through.

Here's a picture from when I was still building the first garden bed

mulch underlayment, with soil on top (picture taken while I was building the grape arbor this spring)


And here's what it looked like today:

The bindweed garden bed. There's still bindweed sprouting up--especially after our crazy heat wave--but it's manageable


(4) I plan on carving out another garden bed this fall and repeating the same process. I kind of like the jungle and I might end up leaving some of it. But it just happens to be in the place that gets the most sun on our property, and we need all the sun we can get (normally. When it got over 110F, I was quite glad to have the shade!). Also it's one of the few places that gets any sort of breeze (thus why our clothesline is there. Right now, the jungle kind of slows the wind down, which makes it harder for the laundry to dry)
 
Nicole Alderman
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I just realized this was the grape and kiwi thread (not the bindweed thread, haha)! In the end, I ended up making two different trellis/arbor/pergola things.

This is the one I (finally, after dreaming about grapes for apparently 6 years) planted grapes to grow up:

grape arbor. You can't see the grapes for the extremely happy squash!


And the kiwis were planted two years ago to shade my kids playpit.

The kiwi pergola after I built it. Which I probably overplanted kiwis for. OOPS! That's why the grapes got their own arbor.
 
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