Monday, March 28, 2011

Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick: Cool, Cold Kiwis

Twig Walkingstick lives in and around the Wooster campus of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. His alter ego is Kurt Knebusch, one of our super-talented writers and editors on campus. Each month, look for Twig to answer a reader questions and some additional interesting facts below. After Twig's post, we will be providing some ideas and suggestions on how to incorporate the info in Twig's column into fun science learning for your students and children.

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.

  • OSU Extension also just published a very nice book called Midwest Home Fruit Production Guide, to be mentioned next month and you can read about here. 
  • For further kiwifruit fun and facts try (among others), (colder), (warmer) and (even warmer).
  • Hardy kiwis include the species Actinidia arguta and Actinidia kolomikta.
Using this information in the classroom:
Interested in learning about DNA and DNA extraction? Try this cool experiment extracting DNA from a kiwi!!

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