After seven years - my first harvest of Portland kiwis! With tips, links and whatnot...

Kiwis in Oregon are tricky to grow, they claim.  I can say that it did take about 5 years as the vines matured to even get flowers.  And also when I finally got an irrigation extension to there, getting lucky I didn’t kill them early on… Then the first two years when they finally did flower, I never got fruit.  I don’t think the male plant had entwined enough for fertilization, but this year it did and for the first time ever – fuzzy Chinese gooseberries in my own backyard!   




I was thinking they’d still be a bust.  The kiwis were on the vine for many, many months, hard as rocks and not getting any larger.  Even the squirrels ignored them.  

I found this article in the Oregonian and it all made sense.  That’s exactly what’s supposed to happen.  Basically, you leave them on the vine until before the first freeze, then cut open a sample.  If the seeds are black, that indicates there’s enough sugar in them.  But trust me – even when they reach “peak sugar content” and still hard – they’re totally sour.  

Because so many sites call it “sugar” which is inaccurate and according to this article written “For Young Minds” (I ain’t proud), “peak starch” is more accurate.  It’s the starch which is then converted into the ‘oses that our cells love so much – glucose, sucrose, fructose.

So… you pull them off the vine and set them in a cool place to soften and sweeten.  I finally picked them on November 5, because it’s been such a warm year with most of the leaves still on the trees.  I used the mud room to let them ripen.  

Today I found a couple soft ones in the bowl (the Oregonian mentions they don’t all ripen at the same time, so can confirm) – and…. WOW.  As in that’s a really, really good kiwi.  Like, probably the best kiwi I’ve ever had – an exceptionally rich, soft sweetness. “Custardy” you might even say.   I look forward to next year, and hopefully will remember to fertilize them.




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