Kiwi

Health Power

Kiwi fruit contain a solid mix of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients for a daily health boost. Research is still ongoing, but certain phytonutrients (probably carotenoids and flavonoids) in kiwi can decrease oxygen-related damage to DNA. Damage to DNA molecules can cause mutations that interfere with proteins and enzymes vital to all cellular functions. Studies show eating kiwis or other citrus fruits lowers the risk of respiratory problems. Highly concentrated source of natural vitamin C, the primary water-soluble antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals causing cellular damage, most notably in cardiovascular system, respiratory system, joints and immune cells. Fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin E gives some protection to fatty areas of the body. Good source of fiber, which reduces high blood sugar and cholesterol levels and helps remove toxins from the colon. The minerals in kiwi (magnesium, potassium and copper) support cardiovascular health. Some work individually, others synergistically, to reduce blood clotting, plaque buildup, triglyceride levels and blood pressure.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Vitamins – C and E
Minerals – Potassium, Copper, Magnesium and Manganese

Disease Prevention

Kiwi may reduce symptoms related to or the onset of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, macular degeneration, colon cancer (and potentially many others), atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease and diabetic heart disease.

How to Grow

Kiwis are a nice ornamental for the garden. Yields tasty treats with more than triple the vitamin C in oranges. Two main varieties, one hardy to as low as -40˚F.; the other down to 10˚F. Hardier variety has smooth skin and is the size of large grapes. Less hardy Chinese Kiwi are larger, fuzzy type we see more often at markets. Except for pruning, they need little maintenance and give high yield if trellised. If growing in colder region, main trunk of Chinese Kiwi needs winter protection. Except for a couple cultivars, most kiwis are not self-fertile. For non-self-fertilizing, plant 3-4 females per male. Most kiwis like full sun, but some prefer partial shade in warmer climates. They like well-drained soil at pH 6-6.5. To spread, kiwis need some help. Grow them along a sturdy trellis or strong fence. Work some compost or planting mix into soil to enrich with nutrients and organic matter and to create a nice loam. In spring, plant vines and trim back to 4 or 5 buds. When they grow a bit, choose one as main shoot/trunk. Secure it to trellis or fence so it grows upward. When it reaches the top, cut the tip to encourage growth of lateral branches. Every month in summer, prune new growth back to 4-5 buds for denser growth with large fruit clusters. Water enough to keep soil moist, taking care not to over water. At the beginning of each growing season, reapply a large amount of fertilizer rich in organic matter (aged compost, manure or planting mix). Kiwis need lots of nutrients. Vines give fruit 2-3 years after planting. For longer-lasting kiwis, pick off the vine in late summer right before they ripen. Let them ripen indoors. You can preserve some even longer in the refrigerator.

Insect Control

Few pests or diseases plague the kiwi plant. If infestation is large, get advice from your local nursery or agricultural extension office.

Tips

Remove soft, aged or damaged kiwis from fresh storage to prevent disease transmission or mass softening of fruit. Even the smallest damage can cause the release of ethylene, making other fruit ripen too quickly.

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