— B. Boyer
In June, Marianne and I visited David Kuchta in Nesquehoning, PA (humblebe@Ptd.net). We talked about bees for pollination and about Kiwi varieties.
David has 32 varieties of kiwis on 1.3 acres, fenced with 3 strands of electric fence. He said the deer get in when he turns off the electric fence during the day or when he forgets to turn it back on. Even then, the deer only eat leaves, not stems. He trellises kiwis on 5-foot posts with a 6-foot 2”x6” header with holes evenly spaced for trellis. He had 3 wires but 5 would be better. Wires are high enough that you can walk under them. The kiwis are planted 15 to 20 feet apart with preferably a male between 2 female plants. He lets 2 or 3 main stems come up from each plant up to the wires, then trains them along the wires.
For fertilization he mulches and uses Peters 20-20-20 when flowering. He says that roots are too close to the surface for dry fertilizer. He also uses green sand for potassium. David also recommends painting the trunks with white latex paint mixed 50% with water. His favorite varieties of Anaasaya are Geneva, Michigan State (largest), self-pollinating Polygama (hardiest).
Mr. Kuchta also experimented with bumble bee nests. He recommends that nests aren’t as important as food for the bees. He says the queen will burrow in the ground in the winter. But it is very important to have flowering plants and weeds that have continuous flowering throughout the spring, summer and fall.