• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Growing Kiwis and Grapes (and blackberries?) Together?

 
Nicole Alderman
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 1034
Location: Pacific Northwest
95
duck forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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?
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2310
77
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1135
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
7
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 1034
Location: Pacific Northwest
95
duck forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
Posts: 1135
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
7
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Check out this thread on Bindweed

I hope to try this and perhaps dry the greens to add to soups and sauces.
 
Reginald Ret
Posts: 7
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
Posts: 1135
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
7
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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!
 
Meridie Fricker
Posts: 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
 
Meridie Fricker
Posts: 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
... 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
Posts: 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 1034
Location: Pacific Northwest
95
duck forest garden hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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
Posts: 1135
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
7
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
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.
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic