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Kiwi Sale!
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Happy fall!

The autumn weather has followed fast since the fall equinox, though oddly, when I was just outside this evening (you're getting this email the following morning), it was warmer than it was earlier in the day. And isn't that typical of this summer? Such a strange mix of seasonal and unseasonal weather!

I can't believe we're just a couple of weeks to go until our fall pick-up day. To remind you, it's time to order your fruit trees for fall planting between now and October 7th, then pick-up from the Living Centre (just south of Lambeth) on Saturday, October 12 between 9am and 4pm.


As you probably know, fall is the best time to plant in our climate. The trees and plants get months of moist soil, and even in the dead of winter, if temperatures are above zero, root growth is still happening! That means by the late spring of the following season, when things are starting to get dry, the trees/plants will be well established. 

This fall, we're offering a great deal on hardy, silvervine and arctic beauty kiwis we have in stock - our best deal ever, actually:

If you buy two or more, and use the coupon code 'kiwi' at checkout, you'll get 40% off. So, two kiwis would normally be $50, and with this deal, you get them for $30.
There's no limit on how many you can buy at this price, except how many we have in stock, so order soon to avoid disappointment.


In case you are wondering how to grow kiwis, they are a vine that grows in a similar way to grapes and virginia creeper. They can be planted on any kind of trellis, including fences. They climb in a similar way to grapes or squash, with little whirly 'vinelets' that swirl around things, not like ivy, which kind of suctions onto surfaces. For that reason, they need some kind of skeletal structure to attach to. This can even be a tree, ideally a dead one. 

If you want to grow them intensively for maximum harvest, you'll want to look into the ways people trellis grapes. Using posts and wires in particular configurations, there are lots of great ways to get maximum production - which can be 50 - 100 lbs of fruit in a season. Seriously! But apparently 50 lbs is closer to the average. (This is for Hardy Kiwis, Silvervine and Arctic Beauty Kiwis are less productive by about half, but more ornamental - though both have impressive flower displays.)

If you're worried about hardiness - don't be! They survive our winter easily, though they have the same problem that grapes do with late spring frosts - their foliage is very sensitive. If you have a set-back, they will grow new leaves shortly after. 

Of course, we have our whole normal selection of edible, medicinal and useful trees, vines and shrubs as usual as well, but I wanted to really push the kiwis, since they are such a great value right now, and we may not have any for sale next year - that depends on how many sell this fall. 

Hardy and Silvervine Kiwi 101
1. Don't forget - you need at least one male for every 8 female plants to ensure pollination. The females produce the fruit. 
2. The fruit is super delicious (if I do say so myself) - it's like grape-sized kiwifruit with no fuzzy skin. They strike me as a bit sweeter too. 
3. As mentioned above, they need a trellis.

Much more follows below, as I go deeper into why I love all kiwis, and especially Hardy Kiwi. 

Kiwi Sale! 
40% off when you buy 2 or more!

 

Hardy Kiwis - Deeper Analysis!

 

Hardy Kiwis (Actinidia arguta)

These fruits are important to me - they were one of the reasons I wanted to start this nursery. Before I started ordering these in, I couldn’t find anywhere in Canada that had hardy kiwis, despite their being hardy enough to grow here.

These are relatives of grocery store kiwis, and originate originally from China. Interesting fact - Kiwi Fruit originally had the common name Chinese Gooseberry, until some marketing genius discovered that they grew very well as an orchard vine in New Zealand, and re-christened them Kiwi Fruit. Hard to believe any other fruit could so recently break into that international pantheon that includes apples, bananas, and oranges, but kiwi basically did it. (Interesting side note, it was only in the late 19th century that Bananas broke into that pantheon in North America. That's a really interesting story - if you're interested - there's a great book by Dan Koeppel called Banana about the strange history, dire situation in the present, and potential future of the banana that I read recently, and highly recommend.)

The larger grocery store kiwi fruit are not quite able to withstand winter in Ontario, but hardy kiwi, arctic beauty, and silvervine kiwi are. Their fruit are grape size, and they grow on a vine very similar to grapes. I can attest that the taste is excellent, a bit less acid than the grocery store ones, and since they are not fuzzy, you can eat the whole thing, skin and all.

The culture of growing hardy kiwis is also like grapes. They are an excellent choice to cover a trellis or pergola, and also do well trained along wires, as most vineyards do. A sturdy fence is also a good option, though sturdy is the key word. Another intriguing option is to plant them at the base of a tree, and let them grow up. Some suggest planting them at the base of a tree you’ve just coppiced, and they can grow up at the same rate that the tree grows back. One thing to keep in mind is how you will harvest them if they are up a tree. If you are not fond of climbing trees or reaching from high up on a ladder, maybe go the trellis or wire direction.

A word of caution: after the initial couple of years of establishment, hardy kiwis can go wild, especially if they are well-sited with good sunlight, soil and water. They can grow as much as 250’ of vine in one year. They adapt well to heavy annual pruning, like grapes. This concentrates the plant into a smaller area, and lets them put more energy into larger clusters of fruit.

Hardy kiwis are one of those plants that has distinct male and female plants. The females are the ones that bare fruit - and there are therefore lots of different varieties. The males are required for pollination - as with many other plants, insects such as bees are crucial to performing pollination, which leads to lots of fruit set. Unless you are growing one of the rare varieties (such as Issai) that has both male and female blossoms, you will need one male plant to pollinate up to 8 female plants. By the way - a note on Issai, I found it wasn’t hardy for me. Not to say you couldn’t grow it in a more sheltered area in Ontario, but I wasn’t happy with it when I tried it.

A third species of kiwi, Silvervine Kiwi (Actinidia polygama), has fruits that taste like hot peppers. There are actually dozens more wild species, but it seems only about 4 have been domesticated regularly.

If you get your fill of fresh hardy kiwi (I’m not kidding when I say mature vines can yield 50 to 100lbs of fruit - seriously! Look it up!), there are lots of ways to preserve it, from dehydrating, to canned preserves. Juice? Fruit leather? The sky’s the limit. And by the way, while you’re eating that 100lbs of fruit, you’re also boosting your Vitamin C levels enormously. Hardy kiwis have 5 times as much Vitamin C as black currants, which are often cited as having the highest vitamin of any commercially sold fruit (4x as much as oranges - which would mean that hardy kiwis have 20 times as much Vitamin C as oranges - which is kind of staggering!)

Bonus - once your vines are established, they can also be tapped for sap. I can’t wait until I have some large enough, so I can try making syrup out of it...

So that’s it. As a reminder, the regular price for these is $25 each, and with the sale, you pay $30 for two. It’s a great deal, and although we have a bit of extra stock, I don’t think it will last very long with these prices.

Enter the coupon code: kiwi at checkout to get the discount.


If you have questions or want to talk to me about your nut tree/forest garden/permaculture project for advice, send me an email at readrobread@gmail.com. I’m not going to up-sell you or try to sell you trees if I don’t think your project is ready - usually the best way to start a project is with a lot of observation. 

Know someone else who’s interested in growing their own food? Have them sign up for this list here:

http://forestgardennursery.ca/nursery/

 

Oh yeah - and we also have listed all our other new items for Spring 2017 - so you can have a peak at those, and pre-order those as well. 

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Artemisia's Forest Garden Nursery · 9995 Ilderton Rd. RR#2 · Ilderton, On N0M2A0 · Canada

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