Thanks to a polytunnel that enables the cultivation of plants that would not normally not be possible, you can grow mini kiwi in a polytunnel. Therefore, thermophilic plants susceptible to frost and low temperatures are cared for under cover. This time in this Krosagro guide about “growing under cover” we will tell you how to plant, cultivate and collect mini kiwifruit in a greenhouse.
What is actinidia?
This is a climbing plant, which begins to bear fruit the second year after planting. Attractive white flowers develop in May, which then turn into fruits. Reminiscent of gooseberry (from 3 to 4 cm in size). The plant itself grows up to 5m, while one of the variety is three times taller.
Green, tasty mini kiwis can be eaten with the skin and are an ideal ingredient for fruit salads, jams, purees, compotes and cakes. This fruit is also full of nutritional and pro-health values.
They contain many valuable vitamins A, B, K and huge amounts of vitamin C, and ripe. Fruits are full of mineral salts, acids, fiber and other valuable nutrients. It’s good to eat them, especially in the fall, when you become particularly vulnerable to weakness, infections and colds.
1. Growing requirements for mini kiwi
It is worth noticing that most studies on the cultivation of Actinidia have different recommendations. This is related to the fact that a lot of books are written by foreign authors who do not take into account English conditions and requirements for the plant in this particular climate.
Actinidia arguta, which we will focus on in the guide, needs 150 days without frost to grow fruits. Although its hardiness is well known, this is only partially true. The plant itself is able to withstand extreme temperatures, however, buds, flowers and annuals branches can not.
2. Cultivating mini kiwi in a polytunnel
The important information is that the majority of actinidia. Are dioecious plants that need male and female varieties to produce fruit. In addition to this and to pollinate flowers, the air movement is still needed. Ventilation in the greenhouse is obtained by raising side vents, which are a standard equipment in a multi-vegetation foil tunnel. For every 8 female seedlings there should be 5 males, another solution is the selection of hybrid self-pollinated varieties.
As it is a thermophilic plant, it needs to be exposed to the sun’s rays for as long as possible. An adult plant can withstand a temperature of -30 ° C, although no gardener would dare expose it to such conditions. It would certainly limit its growth for the next seasons. Seedlings should be protected under cover, as their resistance will improve over time. After all, the first stages of development determine how the mini kiwi will fare in the future.
The substrate should be fertile, rich in nutrients and also permeable. Thanks to this , correct growth will be achieved, the plant will be climbing up , and the root system will develop favorably. It is important that soil in the greenhouse is humid, but not wet and well drained. The optimal pH is acidic and the pH should be between 5 and 6.5
Actinidia develops slowly, therefore it is much better to use 2 or 3-year-old seedlings than to start from seeds. Young plants are introduced into the soil at the same depth as they grew previous to this, it is important that the site is filled with compost or manure. During hot weather and in the first months of growth, the mini kiwi needs a lot of water.
Actinidia can be run like ornamental plants, then they can be left to grow in any shape. Occasionally cut them so that they do not get too thick. Otherwise, mini kiwifruit will bear fruit much later and will produce less , with a lower quality.
Growing the plant on T-shaped structures is a more optimal way, giving much more fruit. In a hobby foil tunnel, it can be supported by strings suspended on the arches of the steel structure. In this case, it is planted every 40 cm in rows. Keeping a distance between them of 80 to 130 cm.
The first three years are spent shaping the plant so that they climb freely on supports. It is worth remembering that actinidia is long-lived, it can develop over 50 years. Therefore, for your comfort and health of the plant , it should be systematically cut.
When cutting, take into account that only 2 and 3 year old shoots give fruits, and buds are formed with 8 leaves that developed in the previous year. In January, February , healthy and strong shoots with 10 buds are shortened. These strongly thickening so-called branches (with no fruit) are removed in the summer, so that they do not obscure the rest of the climbing plants.
- Set of fruits
Mini kiwi fruit offer harvest usually in the 4th year of planting. When they reach a size of up to 2.5 cm they are ready for harvest, but do not wait too long. The soft skin is prone to damage and the mini kiwi falls from the tree. Therefore, when the plant begins to bear fruit, it is worth checking it regularly to collect the crop.
Growing mini kiwi in a polytunnel usually provides a harvest in the fourth year of planting. When they reach a size of 2.5cm, they are ready to be picked, but don’t wait too long. The soft skin is prone to damage and the mini kiwi fruit quickly falls off the tree. Therefore, when the plant begins to bear fruit, it is a good idea to regularly check its progress. You can get up to 20 kg of fruit per tree!