“KIWI FRUIT” FARMING GUIDE

Kiwi is a temperate fruit and it can do well in the temperate regions of Kenya like Central, Western highlands, Central Rift Valley and others.

There are very few markets where demand exceeds supply. One such market is for Kiwi fruits which, despite being a relatively new idea in Kenya, has taken the market by storm. There are very few farmers who have gotten wind of its valued benefits and you can take advantage of this loophole to make a timely investment. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to go about it.

The kiwi trees cultivated for their fruits need the following growing requirements.

Soil 
Must be well drained. Kiwi tree vines planted where water sits on the surface following rains are likely to develop crown rot. Soil pH should be between 5.0 and 6.5.

Planting
The kiwi tree is especially touchy about less than perfect site and soil conditions in its youth. For this reason, some growers coddle their plants in containers for one, even two, years. Kiwi tree growth can be phenomenal in carefully watered and fertilized containers, and the kiwi tree can be protected their first couple of winters in an unheated basement or a slightly heated garage.

In Kenya Kiwi should be Planted at around the month of March to take advantage of long-rains. Note that Kiwi Vines are very vulnerable to strong wings and you may need to invest a bit more infrastructure-wise to protect them (e.g. by building a temporary fence or planting some trees around the farm).

Also, a farmer needs to invest in a compost manure and some little amounts of fertilizer (D.A.P and C.A.N) to provide the crop with adequate nutrients.

Kiwi plants are susceptible to a bacterial infection known as Psa and so the farmer may need to invest in biochemicals that are usually used on fruits like oranges and grapes.

Pollination
The burden of pollination rests mostly with honeybees, though wind and other beneficial insects also play a role. With few exceptions, a separate, non fruiting male plant is needed to fertilize (and induce fruiting) of female plants. The male should be no further than 35 feet from females. Do not be surprised if it appears that female flowers have stamens, the male flower parts. The stamens are there, but the pollen they shed is sterile. Similarly, male flowers have small, nonfunctional ovaries.

One male plant can fertilize the flowers of 8 or so females, and male and female plants need not be the same species of kiwi tree to cross-pollinate. Bloom times of male and female flowers must coincide, though.

Hand pollination is practical if you grow only a few kiwi trees. Merely pluck off a male blossom and lightly rub it on a half-dozen female flowers. Then go pluck another male, repeat the rubbing, and so forth.

Trellising
Kiwi trees are rampant plants and their trunks never become sturdy enough to hold the plants up off the ground of their own accord. Under cultivation plants must be trained to some sort of support that is both sturdy and allows vines adequate room to ramble.

A trellis used by commercial kiwi tree growers consists of wires stretched between 6-foot-high T-bar supports spaced 15 to 20 feet apart. At some sacrifice to fruit production, but with perhaps a gain in beauty, kiwi tree vines can be coaxed up a variety of other structures such as a gazebo, a pergola, or even along a split rail fence

Training + Pruning
The goals in training and pruning are to make a potentially tangled mass of rampant shoots manageable and easy to harvest, and to keep a vine fruitful by allowing adequate light to fall within the plant canopy. Pruning also stimulates an annual flush of new wood, important because flowers, and, hence, fruits, are borne toward the bases of current seasons’ shoots that grow from canes that grew the previous year only.

Not all the new shoots that grow from the previous year’s canes will fruit. Some canes may have been too shaded the year before, or the vine may be too young. Those canes that are fruitful will produce fruiting shoots at their basal half-dozen or so buds; the buds further out are capable of producing shoots that will fruit the next year.

An established kiwi tree vine consists of a trunk, permanent cordons, and fruiting arms (or canes). Training and pruning are effected by tying shoots to supports and by pruning the plants while they are growing during the summer, and again while they are dormant. Late winter, before the buds swell, is the optimal time for dormant pruning.

Girdling
Girdling is a technique that induces fruiting and hastens maturity and bud-break  by disrupting the flow of nutrients and hormones in the stems. In late summer, make two parallel cuts, one sixteenth of an inch apart, on the trunk, and remove the strip of bark from between the cuts. Do not girdle any vine that is in a weakened condition, or cut too deeply—remove just the outer bark.

Harvesting
A mature kiwifruit vine can produce more than 90 kilograms of fruit. Harvest semi-tropical kiwifruits by snapping them off their stalks when the skins turn brown and samples of cut fruit show black seeds. The fruit will be hard, but will soften and sweeten in a week at room temperature. In a cool room, such fruit will keep for two months. If the fruit is refrigerated to near freezing, and the humidity maintained at 95 percent (with a plastic bag having just a few small holes, for example), the fruit will store for 9 months! Let firm-ripe fruit soften before eating. This can be hastened by putting the fruit in a bag with an apple.

Hardy and super-hardy kiwifruits drop or come off easily from the vines when they are ripe. Picked firm-ripe with their stems attached, these small fruited kiwifruits store as well as the large kiwifruit.

The average kiwi vine takes 2 to 3 years to mature and start producing fruits. The first few harvests may however not be as productive but this tends to improve throughout the plants mature life.

You can still commercialize your farm now by selling the few fruits that come out of it and healthy vines that you may choose to propagate. At Oxfarm organic Limited, we sell kiwi seedlings at Ksh 800, and we deliver all over Kenya.

 

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TANGERINES SEEDLINGS

<span>TANGERINES SEEDLINGS</span> Tangerines grow well in areas that don’t have harsh winters and will produce an abundance of flavorful fruit every year with just a little bit of help. The fruit often ripens in the winter or early spring, making tangerines a popular winter snack and a traditional Christmas favorite in many homes. While a single tree can produce fruit on its own, planting more than one tangerine cultivar in an area can increase the yield of tangerines on all the trees.
Tangerines are relatively cold-tolerant, making them easier to grow than oranges, grapefruits and other types of citrus. Some varieties, such as the Citrus reticulata "Dancy," are heat-tolerant and do best when summers are hot, but other types, including the Citrus reticulata "Sunburst," do best when summers are on the cool side.
Citrus species can thrive in a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. Citrus is grown from sea level up to an altitude of 2100 m but for optimal growth a temperature range from 2° to 30° C is ideal. Long periods below 0°C are injurious to the trees and at -13° C growth diminishes. However, individual species and varieties decrease in susceptibility to low temperatures in the following sequence: grapefruit, sweet orange, mandarin, lemon/lime and trifoliate orange as most hardy.
Temperature plays an important role in the production of high quality fruit. Typical coloring of fruit takes place if night temperatures are about 14° C coupled with low humidity during ripening time. Exposure to strong winds and temperatures above 38° C may cause fruit drop, scarring and scorching of fruits. In the tropics, the high lands provide the best night weather for orange color and flavor.

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MACADAMIA SEEDLINGS

<span>MACADAMIA SEEDLINGS</span> Macadamia is a beautiful tree, very forgiving; resilient to all weather, accommodative for old
people; they don’t need to work so hard nor climb to pick the nuts but wait for them to fall. The macadamia nut tree is indigenous to Australia but introduced in Kenya in 1945 to 1948. In Kenya, it grows roughly in the same climate suitable for growing coffee.
The grafted seedling takes 3-4 months to be ready for planting out in the farm. Seedlings are planting out in the field at a spacing of 9m x 9m or 10 m x 10 m or more if the trees are
intercropped with coffee or any other crop e.g. maize; however, if they are being planted as pure orchard, the spacing should be 4m x 10 m or 5 m x 10 m.
Kenya is sitting on a gold mine that if properly utilized would reap huge benefits for the country.
For many years, tea and coffee farming has been the major source of income for thousands of
farmers, however they are now changing tides and switching to macadamia nut farming.
Macadamia has become a lucrative produce all over sudden with a kilo of the nuts selling for
more than a hundred and a grafted seedling price shooting up from 300 to 500 Kenya Shillings.
Between1986 to 2002 the price ranged between 7 to 23 Shillings per kg., and in 2005 it averaged
80 Shillings per Kg.
The Kenya macadamia nut industry is currently made of approximately 900,000 trees of varying ages from one year to 20 years, grown by over 100,000 small scale farmers with an average of 6 -12 trees per grower. Annual production is about 4,000 metric tons of nuts-in-shell. These produce about 800 metric tons of marketable kernels, making the main commercial product. Other by products such as oil, are minimal. Producers get from nuts-in-shell Shillings 92 million per year.
Kenya is the third largest macadamia producer and the second largest exporter of macadamias. Many Kenyan farmers are integrating macadamia trees into their coffee and tea plantations. They view macadamia output as insurance against the uncertainties of weather which affect coffee and tea.

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GRAFTED PURPLE PASSION SEEDLINGS

<span>GRAFTED PURPLE PASSION SEEDLINGS</span> Passion fruit is a climbing plant of the Passifloraceae family. It is the size of an egg and is yellow or purple. Purple passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) is subtropical, important in some countries, while the more tropical yellow passion fruit excels in others. Both yield delicious juice. The passion fruit vine is a shallow-rooted, woody, perennial, and climbing by means of tendrils. The alternate, evergreen leaves, deeply 3-lobed when mature, are finely toothed, 3 to 8 in (7.5-20 cm) long, deep green and glossy above, paler and dull beneath, and the fruit is purple in color when mature. Commercial farming of purple passion fruit begun in Kenya in 1933 and was expanded in 1960, when the crop was also introduced into Uganda for commercial production. In both countries, the large plantations were devastated several times by easily-spread diseases and pests. The purple passion fruit (passiflora edulis) is the most commonly grown passion for commercial purpose in Kenya. It is mainly grown for fresh and juice extraction.
Passion fruit grows in warm to cool climates within altitude ranging from 1200-2000m. above sea level and minimum rainfall of 900mm per annum. The most suitable soil is medium texture (loamy), which are deep and well drained, with PH ranging from 5.5-7.5.

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