What would pavlova be with­out them?

Life & Style Weekend - - GARDEN -

THE sec­ond part of the sci­en­tific name for ki­wifruit (Ac­tini­dia de­li­ciosa) gives you a hint that this is one de­lec­ta­ble fruit. They’re a quin­tes­sen­tial pavlova top­ping as well as be­ing per­fect for fruit sal­ads, smooth­ies, muffins and cakes.

Ki­wifruit are hardy, de­cid­u­ous, long-lived vines that pro­duce fruit dur­ing au­tumn.

Tra­di­tion­ally they need warm sum­mers but also re­quire a cer­tain num­ber of “chill­ing hours’’ dur­ing win­ter to be pro­duc­tive. In sub­trop­i­cal zones look for va­ri­eties that are “low chill’’, which means they re­quire less cool weather to fruit suc­cess­fully.

An­other im­por­tant point to note with ki­wifruit is that there are sep­a­rate male and fe­male plants, so you need to grow both to be able to pro­duce fruit.

Male plant flow­ers have pollen and the fe­male plants de­velop the fruit. Thank­fully, ki­wifruit plants in gar­den cen­tres are la­belled as male or fe­male.

You’ll need a rea­son­able amount of space to grow a ki­wifruit at your place as each vine can grow more than five me­tres wide. You’ll also need a strong sup­port for the vines to grow on, such as a sturdy fence or a bare per­gola.

Pot­ted ki­wifruit vines can be planted all year (wait un­til frosts have passed in cold ar­eas).

En­rich the soil first with some fer­tiliser and then keep the soil moist un­til the vines are well-es­tab­lished. It’s im­por­tant to keep ki­wifruit well pruned to make sure they don’t get out of hand.

To en­cour­age lots of flow­ers, start ap­ply­ing some liq­uid potash every 2-4 weeks in spring. Angie Thomas is a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist at Yates.

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