Perennial Gardening, Urban Homesteading and Self-Reliance

Taming the Wild Vine

Sometimes one must go back to the beginning to go forward correctly.  My hardy kiwi vines are the perfect illustration of this principal.  Space is definitely at a premium on an Urban Homestead so nothing can be allowed to fill just one purpose.  The fence that keeps our livestock safe also serves as a strong support for 5 hardy kiwi plants.  I planted these vines two years ago, but didn’t know much about how to train them.  Consequently, they didn’t cover the fence well or evenly.  I also didn’t pay as much attention to watering them as I should have, so they didn’t grow as quickly as they might have done.

Last fall, I decided that the best way to fix the mess was just to start over.  So, after the last stubborn leaf lost its grip, I cut the plants back to their pots and pulled the severed vines from the wire panel frame.  I figured that with a two year old root system, they would shoot up quickly this spring and I would be able to more carefully train them.  I am losing out on fruit for another few years, but I should have a much more attractive result and hopefully they will be easier to care for as well.  Hardy Kiwi Shoot

The vines (all but one that keeps getting eaten by something) have all made it to the top of the frame and I’ve clipped the leading shoot.  Now I must carefully rub off any unwanted shoots and keep those I wish for laterals.  I am also planning on setting up a drip system for them since the vine tips die if they dry out during hot weather, which will make it hard for me to create the structure I want.  Now it is just a question of consistency through the summer… definitely a challenge for me.

I never realized what a beautiful red the stems of this plant are!

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