How to grow grapes, hazelnuts and kiwi

Growing your own produce is both convenient and economical, with wonderful bounty right at your fingertips. These steps to grow your own grapes, hazelnuts and kiwi.

How to grow grapes, hazelnuts and kiwi

1. Grapes

Grapes are deciduous vines suitable for growing in climates that do not receive a high summer rainfall — too much summer rain encourages fungal diseases. For best results the climate should be warm to hot, and not too wet. Worthwhile grapes for the home garden include the 'Sultana', 'Black Marroo', 'Blush', 'Seedless', 'Waltham Cross' and 'White Muscatel'.

The soil for a grape vine must be rich and well drained, with plenty of organic matter added. Vines can be grown informally over a pergola or trellis, or trained — as in commercial grape production — onto a structured wood and wire support. The fruit will be borne on new season's shoots, arising from two-year-old wood.

The severity of pruning will depend on how the grapes are grown. All pruning should be done before new growth begins. Various mildew diseases can trouble grapes. As an alternative to fungicides, spray with sulphur. Check with your department of agriculture if growing grapes on a larger scale is contemplated.

2. Hazelnuts, or filberts

Hazelnuts are small deciduous trees, growing to five metres (16 feet) if left unpruned. They have handsome elm-like leaves and yellow catkins in winter. They are not self-fertile, so two varieties are needed in order to cross-pollinate. Named varieties are much more robust and fruitful — among the best are 'White American', 'Cosford' and 'Kentish Cob'.Hazelnuts require similar growing conditions to apples, a cool to cold climate and moderately rich, well-drained soil. It may take several years before a hazelnut tree will bear its first fruit. The nut is contained in a hard, woody shell which will split open when it has matured.

3. Kiwi

Kiwi, also called Chinese gooseberry, are deciduous trailing climbers that grow well in mild climates with warm, moist growing conditions in spring and summer. To produce fruit a male and a female plant are needed, although one male should be enough to pollinate several females. Varieties to look for include 'Hayward' (female), 'Bruno' (female), 'Dexter' (female), 'Matua' (male) and 'Tomuri' (male).

  • Kiwi should be planted in winter, in well-drained, moderately rich soil.
  • The climber should be trained onto a T-bar frame with wires, or less formally, against a sturdy pergola.
  • It takes between three and four years for the plant to bear fruit, which is borne on the first three to five buds of the current year's growth.
  • The longer the fruits are allowed to remain on the climber, the sweeter they will become. They should be harvested just as they have begun to soften.
  • Every winter, the laterals should be pruned back to two or three buds beyond the previous season's crop. If growth appears to become too vigorous during the summer, the plant should be cut back after the fruit has set.
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