growing hardy kiwi

looking at putting these into my zone 5 michigan landscape but am leary of my chances given how rare thse plants are. have any of you successfully grown these and if so, how has the experience been? how would u compare the quality of the fruit with the store bought relatives?
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Great vines here inedible fruit. Ripped them out and went with concord grapes.
Bill
--
Zone 5 S Jersey USA Shade Earth sometimes.
There is atleast one word misspelled deliberately in the above post. ;))
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"brickled" wrote :
| looking at putting these into my zone 5 michigan landscape but am leary of | my chances given how rare thse plants are. have any of you successfully | grown these and if so, how has the experience been? how would u compare the | quality of the fruit with the store bought relatives? | ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I have had hardy kiwi at this location ( also zone 5, western maine) growing 12 years. Had one cluster of flowers, no fruit. Frequently will leaf out before last frost, then take a hard hit. Supposedly I have one each "male" and "female", obtained from Pinetree Garden Seeds via Meader breeding. Root hardy for sure, cane loss in colder winters proves its just marginal for me.
I was excited by the prospect years ago, but I'm beyond bored with them now.
Over on the coast of Maine in Bar Harbor, there is a thriving colony at College of the Atlantic--a well protected location.
Sue Western Maine
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Once well rooted they're care-free & unkillable, but if good fruit crops are wanted, they're high maintenance for watering & pruning, cuz if neglected they're just big vines with less & less fruit each year.
Flavor range can be dramatic, from bitter & nasty, to sweet-tart & excellent, & I don't know how you'd be sure which you've got until after you've expended the time getting them going.
A. chinensis is the species from which store-bought kiwis are obtained, the variant A. chinensis deliciosa is the one generally used commercially, but it has many cultivars with their own traits. It is not very cold-hardy & is best for zone 7-9, They may grow in colder zones like yours, but without fruiting. They take several years to really get going, but then they are GIGANTIC.
A. arguta is a hardier Kiwi. It will be six years old before it starts fruiting. It'll grow as a die-back perennial that doesn't fruit below zone 5, but as a fruiting deciduous woody vine in zone 5-8. Like A chinensis, it's a huge vine, & females have to be trained over arbors you can reach for purning & harvesting, though the male can be left nearby to go wildly enormous. Fruits are very small & can be eaten skin & all like grapes; you never see them in supermarkets because they don't keep long enough to sell, but taste fine fresh from the garden. Avoid the tepidly self-pollinating hybrid A. arguta 'Issai' if you really want harvestable amounts of edible fruits; this cultivar seems to be the most commonly offered to gardeners but isn't all that tasty or productive nor even all that hardy, it's merely decorative. The variety 'Ananasnaya' aka "Anna" is said to taste like a pineapple, not to be confused with 'Ananasnaja' which is more tart, compared to 'Dunbarton Oaks' among the sweetest. Many of the flavored cultivars don't have interesting names, but have number designations; most of the numbered varieties are reliable for fruit, except the numbered self-pollinators & of course the males.
A. kolomikta is the one that can be grown down to zone 3, though fruiting buds will probably freeze off at the lower tolerances, & it's really for zones 5-7 if maximized fruit is sought, & not very heat-hardy so thought of as tender in zones 8-9 but will do okay with protection from harshest summer sun. Fruits are grape sized, leaves are huge. It has by far the prettiest foliage (the male is vividly variegated white pink & green). They mature more rapidly than the other species & may fruit after two years. I've seen the male in local gardens obviously chosen for the gaudy leaves, but haven't yet seen a female in full fruit. I've never tasted the fruit either, but some varieties like "Sentayabraskaya" are described as very sweet; 'Matovya' as less sweet but bigger fruits, 'Arnold Arboretum' huge numbers of especially small tart kiwis, 'Krupnoplodaya' has slightly larger & sweeter fruits, 'Sentyabraskaya' aka 'September' very productive good tart fruit.... many other varieties you should research before deciding -- different traits for different varieties.
There are many other species rarely offered & I've seen no serious reports on their relative taste value & fruit production.
You need first to decide which species is most desirable for your needs (almost certainly either A. arguta or A. kolomikta), then undertake some research to get exactly the cultivar or cultivars with traits you're after. You probably have a horticultural extension at Michigan State University where you could find someone who'd know local sources. You likely can't rely on ornamental nurseries that won't have a number of named varieties to choose from, as regular nurseries tend to stock only one thing mass-produced for that year. You will have to track down specialty fruit or vine sources. The best sources are rarely findable with a google search but you could get the phone number fropm: http://www.southmeadowfruitgardens.com / to find out if they fill the bill; plus your local librarian should be able to point you to a regional resource list of growers. If you can find a source in your own area where they are grown rather than shipped in, you'll be certain to have varieties that produce well in your zone. There is an A. arguta cultivar called "Michigan" & good guess it was developed by one of your local growers for local conditions.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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ann arbor here. plants are vigorous and grow to 40-50 feet. You have been warned. They are good looking vines with lush, shiny foliage. They only get a thick layer of woodchips under them, and some wood ash. They are sensitive to late frosts so plant them high in your landscape and give them manure only past last date of frost (that will give you huge vines, but it will also shave a year or two to first fruiting, which is famously late for this plant). I am sure you know you need one male and as many females as you can stand.
how would u compare the

well, if you get a really late frost you will not get much. You will get nothing the first six years anyway. And after that, you will get what the birds don't eat. the few I have eaten are much better than storebought (about the same difference in quality between an average peach and a superior nectarine, including the lack of fuzz, sweeter with a nice aroma) after a little indoor ripening. I am told that eventually they will produce heavily (tens of pounds per vine), and given the size of the vines, I don't doubt it, but so far only two have started producing (I have had four, plus a male, for 8 years). unlike their relatives, the fruits don't last.through the winter.
but it is a nice plant (casual visitors always ask about it), it will give you a huge arbor if you need a shady spot (make it big and strong), and if you are in for the long haul, it will give you plenty of fruits.
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I have two varieties, the one where the male plant is pink/green/white and the one that is from siberia and they are PRODUCTIVE. the only beef I got is that they dont all ripen at once and I gotta get out there and pick too often. I would put sheet down and collect the ones that fall, they are ripe. they taste wonderful. no fuzz. I am in zone 5 colder than average and they are huge and I had to whack them back they are on an arbor not even a tornado is going to take the arbor away. Ingrid

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nearest ag uni library might ave issues of http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/4663/kiwi.html
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