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Fuzzy or not? Now you can choose which kind of kiwi fruit to grow.

During the 1980s, home gardeners in the West really got to know the fuzzy kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa), particularly how to manage such a large plant in the garden. But now that Westerners are discovering the delicious vine-ripened fruit of smaller kiwi plants-whose compact growth fits readily into most gardens-the focus in the '90s will likely be on them. Garden-friendly smaller kiwis Not well known when fuzzy kiwis were first introduced, smaller kinds (A. arguta and A. kolomikta) were assumed to be inferior; in fact, they're inferior to the fuzzy ones only in fruit size, and they have numerous advantages over their larger relatives. Not only do they occupy less garden space, but fruit ripens on the vine, so you can eat it fresh, with no hairy skin to peel off. And unlike fuzzy kiwis, they're hardy in cold-winter areas. Of the small kiwis, A. arguta varieties are the most available. These are three good choices. 'Ananasnaja' (pronounced "banana snya" without the "b"; it's Russian for "pineapple") is named for its slight pineapple overtones. This kind needs a pollenizer. 'Issai' is self-fertile, flavorful, and relatively diminutive; in five years, the vine might grow to 15 feet. It can bear fruit the second year; other kinds take five or six years. A. kolomikta is grown mostly for the leaves on the male plants. They open green, become variegated during summer, and go red in fall. A. kolomikta females have less colorful leaves, but several new Russian varieties produce good fruit. Not recommended for Southern California. Growing fuzzy kiwis? Here's how to manage the space problem If you decide to grow the large kiwis, train them over a patio trellis, where their shade is useful and harvesting is easy. Two vines (male and female) planted at opposite corner posts can easily cover a 20- by 20-foot trellis in about five years. Where overhead trellising isn't an option, build a 30-foot-long, 6-foot-tall, three-wire trellis supported at 10-foot intervals by pressure-treated 6-by-6 posts. Plant a female kiwi 'Hayward' is the standard, or Vincent' in mildest climates) at one end, and a male at the other, training the male along the center wire and the female along top and bottom wires. If you have space for just one vine, buy the self-fertile 'Blake'. It bears fruit that is sweet and fuzzy; scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Sources Kiwis are increasingly available in nurseries around the West. But if you can't find exactly what you want, you can mail-order them from Northwoods Nursery, 28696 S. Cramer Rd., Molalla, Ore. 97038; or Raintree Nursery, 391 Butts Rd., Morton, Wash. 98356 (both have free catalogs). Where water is limited, you may want to wait to plant; kiwi needs ample water and fertilizer to thrive and bear fruit.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Feb 1, 1991
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