DEAR NEW FARM:
Would you have any idea why our little kiwis would drop off the
vines after having grown to only about half an inch in diameter?
We’ve had good fruit in past years but in the last two seasons
have lost everything before it has matured. The trees bloomed like
crazy—and the flowers got pollinated because the bees were
busy amongst the vines—but then the little kiwis drop off
early. I could already taste them in my mind!
We asked our friends Robin and Nancy Gammons, growers of kiwis (and
a whole lot more) on their 5-acre diversified farm in Aromas, California.
Here’s what Nancy had to offer:
“There are usually two causes
for immature fruit drop: lack of water at a crucial time and lack
of pollination. Bumblebees appear to be the best insect pollinators,
as honeybees aren't that attracted to kiwi blossoms because they
don't have much nectar. Since you saw many bees amongst the blossoms,
I would assume that it might be due to water.
Kiwifruit like a lot of water; we irrigate
everyday, four hours a day, but have very sandy soil. With a heavier
soil, you have to be more careful, as the vines also need good
drainage…and fertilizer. We feed our kiwifruit twice in
the season: once in the spring and again in the late summer, using
an organic 7-5-7 blend. So, that’s my guess. Not educated,
us with comments, suggestions and questions.