Archive for the 'Kiwifruit' Category

Almond and Squash Harvest

This weekend, I harvested all of the almonds on our Graden Prince almond tree. I picked them by hand, rather than shake the tree, because the tree is only 5 feet tall, and it only had about 200 almonds on it. Here’s what the tree looked like before the harvest:

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Each almond grows inside a hard shell and a soft hull. After picking each almond, I removed the soft hull, which is the first layer. I may have waited too late to harvest them, because many of the almond shells have white mildew on them. However, I have cracked a few of the shells open already, and the almonds inside appear to be free of mold and mildew.

After the harvest, I placed the almonds in their hard shells onto a cookie sheet to dry in the sun for a few days. I am covering the cookie sheet with netting in the daytime and bringing it inside at night to prevent them from being eaten by birds and squirrels. After the drying process, I will remove the almonds from their shells and then roast them in the oven.

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That’s a sugar pie pumpkin in the background of the above picture that I grew in our yard this summer and just harvested this weekend. I roasted it and made pumpkin soup with it, which turned out very well. We also roast and eat the pumpkin seeds.

Below is a photo of a spaghetti squash that was also grown in our yard this year and just harvested. Winter squash has turned out to be very easy to grow in our yard. I just planted the seeds directly into the ground in the spring (some I planted in pots and then transplanted) and kept the plants watered through summer (watering nearly everyday with an automatic microspray system). I didn’t fertilize them or spray them. Six months later, almost every vine has at least one large squash.

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I’ve received some comments asking how my kiwifruit plants are doing. Below is a picture of them. The male plant is on the left and the female plant is on the right. They are both growing vigorously along our back fence, producing lots of long vines and leaves. I have to prune them 3-4 times a year to keep them to a reasonable size. However, neither plant has produced a single bloom, and the female plant has not produced a single fruit yet. I’m not sure why. Perhaps they are still not mature enough. They are both 4 years old.

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September 22 2013 | Almond and Kiwifruit and Squash | No Comments »

Kiwifruit on Trellis

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I planted male and female kiwifruit plants along the fence in our backyard last spring. I like the taste of store bought kiwifruit, and I thought it would be fun to grow our own. I have also heard that home grown kiwifruit tastes better than the store bought ones.

I selected a female kiwifruit variety called Vincent, because that was the only variety being sold in our local nurseries, and a male variety selected to pollinate a Vincent female. You need to have a male plant to pollinate the female, or the female won’t set fruit.

I used to think that kiwifruit was a tropical plant that required a tropical climate to grow and produce fruit. I found out only last year that it is a temperate climate plant that requires at least a few hundred hours of chill (i.e., below 45 degrees F) each winter to stimulate fruit production.

After doing some research into kiwifruit, I have learned that it is a vigorous grower that requires a sturdy support system for its vines and fruits. Apparently, a mature female kiwifruit plant can produce hundreds of pounds of fruit each year. Most commercial growers use T-shaped trellises or pergolas to support kiwifruits. Many home growers train kiwifruits to grow up an arbor.

I decided instead to use a smaller support system that would take up less space than an arbor or T-trellis. Last weekend, I nailed one wooden grid-shaped trellis to our fence behind each kiwi plant, as shown in this picture. The male plant is on the left, and the female plant is on the right. My plan is to prune both plants severely a few times a year to keep them within the bounds of these support structures.

I don’t want to get hundreds of pounds of fruit each year. About 20-30 pounds would be enough. It seems that these trellises would be large enough to support about that much fruit. I am just hoping that it will be manageable to keep the vines confined within this area as they mature.

August 09 2009 | Kiwifruit | 8 Comments »