Kiwi fruit, popularly known as Chinese gooseberry, has potentialities to become a commercial fruit of Kashmir valley. The berries are of about the size of hen’s egg with a brownish hairy skin. The flesh is light green with numerous small dark coloured seeds radiating from the centre. The fruits are rich source of vitamin C which is more than twice to the orange. It is the good source of organic acids, sugar, proteins, fiber with major minerals phosphorous and potassium.
Kiwi is a deciduous climber which resembles with grapevine. It needs frost free growing period of 8-9 months. Kiwi needs warm and humid climate. Annual rainfall of 150-200 cm is ideal for kiwi fruit cultivation.
It could not tolerate wet feet but can tolerate high rains under good drainage. Deep well drained and good aerated sandy loam soil is best for growing kiwi fruit. pH less than 6.0 gives maximum yield.
kiwi fruit is dioecious, therefore interplanting of male plants is essential for fruit production. Matua and Tomuri (male) are planted for pollination. For every nine female plants one male plant should be planted. The pollination is done by insects. The promising staminate and pistillate varieties include the following: Abott, Bruno, Allison, Hayward, Monty, Matua and Tomuri
It can be propagated by budding , grafting or cuttings. Soft wood cutting are treated with (1.5 g/lit) and hard wood cuttings with (3-4 g/lit) IBA and planted for rooting. Hard wood cuttings are taken in March and soft wood in June. Budding (T, Patch, chip budding) is performed on seedling rootstocks in the month of August –September. Grafting (whip and Tongue) is preferably performed during dormant season of Jan- Feb. For raising Kiwi nursery, seeds are extracted from well ripened fruits and stored at 4.4°C in sealed polythene bags. GA3 treatment @ 3.5 g/lit gives 90% germination.
Planting of kiwi vines
It’s done in the month of Feb- March at the spacing of 4×6 m in pits of 1x1x1 m filled with 20kg FYM and 1kg SSP. Direction of the line should be kept North- South for better light.
Care of young kiwi vines
It is important to remove all the weeds to avoid competition for moisture and nutrients. This can be done by mulching.
Frequent irrigation is needed during first 2-3 years. In well established orchards fortnightly irrigation is required during the dry season.
Training and Pruning of Kiwi vines
It is aimed to space the shoots so that each can expose its leaves to adequate light and better air circulation for lower disease incidence, to achieve the appropriate no. of buds/ plant, for optimum yield and to facilitate movement of workers and equipment’s through vineyard.
Pruning of Female Kiwi vines
Pruning is done during dormant season. Kiwi bear fruits on first 3-6 buds of current season growth. Only the canes from previous season growth bear fruits. T- Bar and Pergola system of support is performed in kiwifruit. Healthy vine is selected and lateral branches are removed. The main branch is pruned when it reaches up to main wire and two mid lateral branches are encouraged in opposite directions. The branches are allowed to develop secondary branches for fruiting.
Pruning of Male Kiwi vines
These are pruned after the flowering has occurred.
Nutrient Management of Kiwi vines
For ideal production, 20kg FYM and 0.5 kg NPK should be applied on the basis of per year age. After 5 years, 800-900g N , 500-600g P and 900g k per tree along with 40 kg well decomposed organic manure should be applied in Feb – March. N should be applied in 2 split doses, ½ in Feb-March along with full dose of P and K and remaining ½ dose of N in June. Spray of 25 mg/lit, GA, 4 weeks after full bloom improves yield and quality.
Harvesting and Storage of Kiwi fruits
Fruits ripen from October to December which is a lean period for other fruits in the market. The berries are harvested when they are still hard as these can be transported to long distances without using sophisticated packing material. A maturity index of 6.2% total soluble solids has been found satisfactory for harvest.
It starts bearing at the age of 4 with yield of 4 ton per hectare. 6-120 kg/plant yield can be achieved at the age of 7 years of planting. The plant grown on trellis yield about 20 tons per hectare on an average after 7 years of planting.
Grading and Packaging
Grading can be done manually by visual inspection of fruit. Packing into plastic pocket tray pack appropriate to its size. Fruits are graded on the basis of weight and packed in 10 kg packs and single layer trays between 3-4 kg/tray.
Processing products are: nectar, candy, jams etc,
Approximate harvesting schedule of important varieties:
|Varieties||Approximate no. of days from full bloom to harvest||Approximate harvest time|
|Allison||175||Last week of October|
|Hayward||177 – 179||Ist week of November|
|Bruno||170||3rd week of October|
Dr. Nowsheen Nazir, Associate Professor, Division of Fruit Science, FoH, SKUAST-Kashmir