Here’s betting on warm-weather kiwis

Yesterday was transplanting day for the kiwi fruit. Although they had been quite happy in their pots, they are now of a size to leave home and fend for torleyheader020816themselves. No, I don’t really mean it. They are still being tenderly cared for.

I picked a spot where I hope they will be very happy: morning sun and shaded in the afternoon by a very old mango tree. Yes, I know that kiwi is supposed to have a cold snap to produce fruit, but this is a hybrid that the seed dealers said will fruit without one. We shall see.

Planting things that need a cold snap is tricky. Blueberries, one of our favorites, needs cold in order to set fruit, although there is a new variety somewhere in Florida that is said to produce without one (if only I could get my hands on some seeds or cuttings), and I heard a rumor that a vivero near San Jose had some plants. I have hope.

Back to my kiwi. For the past three years, I have been using the area under the mango tree as a depository for grass clippings, dead branches large and small, chicken manure, and general detritus all of which has melted down into a few inches of very rich soil. All that was necessary was to rake off the larger twigs and undigested leaves, move them to the side to continue mulching, and scrape up beautiful soil.

There were worms everywhere, both earthworms and red wigglers. I set the wigglers into the mulch pile and carted the soil and earthworms to the planting site. A nice big hole, a lot of my good soil, a careful spreading of the roots, and the first kiwi was in the ground.

While I was occupied, my gardener was up a tree, literally. He had climbed up into the old mango in search of fruit for us to share, but he was also doing some cleaning up.

Although the old mango had somehow escaped the matapalo problem of my citrus trees, it is being used as a platform for bromeliads and orchids. Armando sent down a shower of mangos and followed it up with other things he cleaned off the tree.

I watched Armando for a minute or two, then went back to my newly planted kiwi. Turned out that my Shepherd had decided that freshly turned earth and a fuzzy leafed plant were just what he needed as a spot for a nap! Bad dog!  I spent the next few minutes making a twig and branch fence around the kiwi. Next time, I will pay closer attention to the dog.

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