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Kiwis are perhaps one of the most interesting fruits because they are widely loved, but seldom enjoyed by most people. During autumn and winter, you are likely to find Kiwis as a mainstay of fruit salads on special occasions. However, apart from that, their appearance in our diets tends to be more of an exception than a rule. Although you can buy the tasty round Kiwi at the local market, nowadays, growers are discovering more convenience by practicing Aquaponics to cultivate these delicious green fruits. Growing Kiwi in Aquaponics Gardens is one way to ensure you have a year-round supply of this nutritious crop.
In this article, you will learn about the benefits of cultivating Kiwi in your Aquaponics system.
Why Grow Kiwi in your Aquaponics Garden?
Formerly known as Chinese gooseberry, Kiwi, as we call it today, is a native of China. The fruit belongs to the Actinidiaceae family. For hundreds of years, communities have treasured the Kiwi, for they perform an integral dietary role.
Aside from desserts, the fruit is an excellent addition to your yogurt or any breakfast. You can even blend Kiwi with your other favorite fruits and make a smoothie. The leading commercial producers of Kiwi today are Italy, China, New Zealand, Chile, and Greece.
Common Varieties of Kiwi
There are more or less 50 varieties of Kiwi. You will find below the three most common types.
- Golden Kiwi – This variety features a velvety edible skin with golden yellow flesh. They boast a mild and tropical-sweet taste.
- Green Kiwi – The green Kiwi is the standard type you will see available in the market. These varieties have fuzzy brown skin, black seeds, and tangy-sweet taste.
- Baby Kiwi – If you prefer your fruit with a strong sweet flavor, then consider growing the baby Kiwi. This variety offers a more intense taste compared to the green Kiwi and is roughly the same size of a grape.
How to Peel the Kiwi From Your Aquaponics Garden
While Kiwi skin usually is edible, many folks choose to peel them before eating the fruit. Of course, before peeling your Kiwi do not forget to wash the fruit with cold water. After washing, use a sharp knife and slice both ends of your Kiwi.
Once you remove the ends, turn your fruit upright and peel off the remaining skin using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife. Remember to thinly slice to make sure you preserve the fruit nutrients close to the skin.
Similarly, you can use a teaspoon to separate the fruit from the skin. After you cut the ends of the Kiwi, run a teaspoon under your Kiwi skin. Make sure to reach the midpoint of your fruit to separate them. Repeat the process on the other side, then slowly take out the fruit from the skin.
Health Benefits of Kiwi
According to the USDA Food Data Central, consuming 1 Kiwi fruit (69 grams) will provide you the following nutrients:
- Sodium – 2 milligrams
- Fiber – 2.1 grams
- Protein – 0.8 grams
- Carbohydrates – 10.1 grams
- Sugar – 6.2 grams
Furthermore, research suggests that consuming three Kiwis every day can help in lowering blood pressure. In the long run, it can likewise assist in reducing health risks triggered by high blood pressure, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Cultivating Kiwi in your Aquaponics Garden
Remember, patience is essential when cultivating fruits. When growing Kiwi in Aquaponic gardens, you will most likely produce fruits between three to seven years. Below are simple guidelines to help you start cultivating Kiwi in your Aquaponics system.
The Media Bed method is often used in growing the Kiwi fruit.
Perlite is a suitable media you can use in cultivating your fruit.
For optimal growth, Kiwi will need at least four to six hours of sunlight every day. Though the fruit will flourish in the full sun, it will require partial shade when the weather gets too hot.
Water and Air Temperature
The fruit loves cool weather. Your Kiwi will thrive in water and air temperature approximately 45°F.
When growing Kiwi in Aquaponics gardens, make sure to provide space between 10 to 18 feet apart. Kiwi grows vines that will need plenty of room.
Kiwi thrives in an acidic pH range between 5.5 to 6.5.
Although there are growers that prefer cultivating Kiwis from cuttings, planting Kiwi from seed is possible. You can begin by placing your seeds in the media bed or tray and cover it with a wrap to retain humidity level. Germination of Kiwi seeds will take four to five weeks. As your plant starts to grow, train the vine to grow on a fence or trellis by wiring them on it.
Flowers usually appear after four or five years. Once this happens, that is when you can distinguish between the male and female plants. The male plants feature vibrant, yellow pollen-covered anthers in the Kiwi flower’s core section. Meanwhile, you will notice female plants bearing white ovaries at its base with sticky stalks at its center.
Note that the female Kiwi vines are the only ones that generate fruit. You will only need one male Kiwi vine to pollinate eight or nine female Kiwi plants. Again, Kiwi fruits will usually appear after three to seven years. You can harvest the fruit before they are ripe and allow the Kiwi to ripen inside the fridge.
Bluegill is one of the best fish you can raise when growing Kiwi in Aquaponics gardens. Surprisingly, Bluegill is a hardy fish resulting in the variety being suitable for Aquaponics. Though the ideal water temperature for the fish is between 65°F to 80°F, Bluegill can withstand temperature fluctuations. Besides this, growers choose Bluegill for their delectable meat.
Some of the pests and diseases you will encounter when cultivating Kiwi are Thrips, Spider mites, Leafrollers, and Nematodes. Kiwi also is susceptible to Bacterial blight, Phytophthora root, and crown rot.
Common problems growing Aquaponic Kiwi
As mentioned earlier, Kiwis are vine plants that can flourish up to 30 feet long plus weigh a moderate amount. In cultivating the fruit, you will need a good area where you can place a fence or a trellis where the vines can grow. See to it there is ample space for two Kiwi vines considering you will require both female and male plants to pollinate these species.
Finally, here are some quick tips in choosing your Kiwi.
A ripe and juicy Kiwi fruit should be firm when you touch them, but not hard. Take note not to select Kiwi that is soft, mushy, and with broken skin. If you have an unripe Kiwi, you can speed up the ripening process by putting the fruit in a sealed brown paper bag with a banana or an apple. Kiwi, banana, and apple are fruits that produce Ethylene, which is a plant substance that results in fruit ripening.