Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE95-101.
The Martens wanted to try growing kiwifruit organically. They experimented with a hardy species of kiwi known as Actinidia arguta. Their principal objective was simply to demonstrate that this species could be grown in the Finger Lakes region of New York, but they had several secondary objectives as well: to test a trellis system and a plastic mulch, to compare several varieties of kiwi as to taste and vigor, and to assess the reactions of customers. Things did not all go according to plan, as sometimes happens; the Martens’ experiment suffered from a severe winter, as well as a summer drought. They were nonetheless able to make several observations, some of them serendipitous, e.g. that the vines tend to wrap around everything, including each other, and that much time must be devoted to training them along the trellis. The female plants survived the harsh winter better than did the males, in fact the Martens lost all their male plants, but they were able to obtain pollen from another grower, and pollinated their female plants by hand. They observed no pest problems, though there was some scabbing, and some of the fruit fell prematurely, possibly as a result of drought. They report that the fruit, though much smaller than that of the more common A. deliciosa, was well-received by the public.