Kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa)
Kiwi is believed to be originated from Southern East Yange Valley of China which was called ‘yang tao’. After knowing the importance of this fruit & started cultivating by a person by Hayward Wright who selected better cultivar which is known as Hayward variety. Kiwi fruit is national fruit of New Zealand after its commercial cultivation & make internationally known during 1940. Wild fruit similar to kiwi fruit found in Nepalese forest is called ‘Theki’ Mostly the plant is fast growing vine like, hairy fruit with brown color outside & greenish color inside & velvety leaves are distinguishing features.
Kiwi is believed to be very useful for human health. Actinidin, Antioxidant like elements found in kiwi helps in increasing disease resistance of a person, digestibility, improving heart disease & high blood pressure. Vitamin E, C and potassium are found in high amount that prevents wrinkling of skin. Calcium & Magnesium are also found in mentionable amount.
It can be grown in wide climatic zones ranging from 800 to 2000 meters from sea level which are relatively cooler. Annual rainfall of 1500 m is essential for adequate moisture to maintain in soil. It requires 800 hours chilling period at 5 degree Celsius.
High organic matter content wide range of soil can be used for kiwi cultivation, however deep loamy soil is best suited. Water logging & quickly drying soil is not best for kiwi fruit. Recommended soil pH is 6.0-6.5 for successful cultivation which means soil test is necessary for planting.
Irrigation is necessary for fruit cultivation especially during flowering & fruit development. Adequate irrigation facility is necessary for kiwi cultivation, if no irrigation is available rain water harvesting should be done for irrigation throughout the year. Drip irrigation can be followed to conserve water.
For keeping tree healthy, productive & for high quality product fertilizers play an important role. Manuring should be done after fruit harvesting & pruning from Poush to Magh. For 2 to 5 years old plant, 30 kg FYM, 120 grams nitrogen, 60 grams phosphorus & 60 grams potassium is required.
Ring method must be followed while applying fertilizer. Ring perimeter is increased every year with 1.5 meters from base of plant of 5 years old.
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For, good looking of orchard, easy light & air flow, easy inter-cultural operation & quality fruit production, layout of orchard is essential. For kiwi fruit rectangular layout system is recommended. Planting distance is 6 meters between plant to plant & 5 meters between row to row. (5m * 6m=RR * PP). for bushier cultivar like hayward, 7-8 meter between plant to plant is essential.
Pit digging & filling:
Pit size of 3ft diameter and 3 ft height is digged two month before planting. 25 kg FYM (1 doko), 5kg ash, 500 grams bone ash, 200 grams nitrogen, 100 grams phosphorus, 200 grams mop, & 25 grams furadan is applied inter-mixing each other to fill the pit. At the center of pit, after 2 months plants are planted.
Always prefer governmental nursery for buying authenticated sapling as fruit farming is long term business. Don not buy sapling grown from seed or branch cuttings. Always check whether the sapling is grafted or not, ensure the demanded cultivar. Male plant is essential for pollination & female for production, so consider the sex of saplings during buying.
Kiwi plant is better to transplant during dormant season i.e. Poush & Magh. If saplings are developed in polybags & with facility of irrigation, it can be transplanted at any period of except the time when new flushes are developing. Provide staking during planting to ensure root stabilization & make sure grafted region is above the soil. Irrigate at the time of planting.
Mulching with grass straw or hay or paddy straw around 1-meter perimeter of plant with enough thickness is necessary. Do not cover the stem of sapling which can propagate insect & disease attack. Mulch helps is moisture maintenance & weed control.
Clean the orchard repeatedly to make healthy growth of saplings. Apply 5-8 ml of glyphosate in 1 liter of water & spray in between the saplings to control the weed.
Male flowers cultivars:
Female flowering cultivars:
Male & female cultivars ratio:
For better flowering & fruiting, ratio between male & female plant is essential. It is recommended in the ratio of 1:5 to minimum of 1:8 of Male: female plant in the orchard.
For pollination, bee keeping can be beneficial.
For proper vine training, it should be started from the initial year to avoid unnecessary bushy. It can be trained in any following system:
- T-Bar system
- Double pole system
- Over head or pergola system
- Dropped T bar system.
Pruning is extremely useful & important in kiwi fruit. pruning is carried out twice in a year in kiwi fruit. Summer & dormant pruning are adopted in kiwi fruit. Sucker branches, summer branches are pruned during June-July in summer pruning whereas, old, diseased, low crutch angled branches & previously fruiting branch must be removed & new branches must be proper trained for next year fruiting. This system is called replacement system.
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It is done to ensure quality fruit with good size. Fruit quantity is set as 60 fruits per meter square to ensure fruiting in the next year too. In a bunch 2-3 fruit is retained while the remaining fruits must be removed.
Fruit is ready to harvest after 220 days of flowering. On reaching TSS 6.2% it is ready for harvesting.
Harvesting & yield:
Fruit clipper is used to harvest fruit at maturity but intact condition. Do not injure the tip of fruit during harvest to ensure long storability.
An average aged plant will yield upto 50-100 kg kiwi fruit. Average yield per hector is 25 Mt however incase of Hay-ward variety it is 50 metric tons.