Q. Dear Twig: OK, here's your kiwifruit. So how can I grow my own kiwifruit?
A. Thank you. Chomp. OK, here's your answer: It depends on where you live.
If where you live has mildish winters — Oregon, say, or California or the South — you can grow the kind of kiwifruit your mom or dad buys at the grocery store. Scientists call it Actinidia deliciosa.
But if where you live has mostly cold winters — like Ohio, where I live, or Minnesota, for example — you have to grow a different kind. Actinidia deliciosa can't take the cold.
Which kiwis can? They go by the names of hardy kiwi, arctic kiwi and Chinese gooseberry. They're related to but different species than our friend deliciosa. And also their fruits are different: smaller, sweeter, no fuzz, green. They'll keep you from freezing your kiwis off.
Next: More cool backyard fruits. Cost? Another kiwi!
Fresh, not frozen,
P.S. Read more on growing hardy kiwis at http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1426.html.
The link is to a helpful fact sheet by Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension also just published a very nice book called Midwest Home Fruit Production Guide, to be mentioned next week and you can read about here: http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~news/story.php?id=5023.
For further kiwifruit fun and facts try (among others), http://fruit.cfans.umn.edu/kiwi.htm (colder), http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-208.html (warmer) and http://plantanswers.tamu.edu/vegetables/kiwi.html (even warmer).
Hardy kiwis include the species Actinidia arguta and Actinidia kolomikta.
"Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick" is a weekly feature for children (ages 9+; 4th grade reading level) about science, nature, farming and the environment. Online at http://extension.osu.edu/~news/archive.php?series=science.
Brought to you by your scientific friends at The Ohio State University — specifically, at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) (http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu) and with Ohio State University Extension (http://extension.osu.edu). OARDC and OSU Extension are the research and outreach arms, respectively, of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Written by Kurt Knebusch of OARDC and OSU Extension. For details, to ask Twig a question, and/or to receive the column free by mail or e-mail, contact Kurt at CommTech, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691; firstname.lastname@example.org; (330) 263-3776.