Hardy kiwi from the Kortowo garden

Hardy, or baby kiwi (Actinidia arguta), is a rising star on the Polish market. It can grow in Polish climatic conditions, as well as in Warmia and Mazury.

Research on hardy and hardy red kiwi, as well as their varieties in north-west Poland, has been carried out by Dr. Anna Bieniek from the Department of Horticulture, Faculty of Environmental Management and Agriculture.

"Climbers of the popular kiwi fruit freeze at a temperature below 12 degrees Celsius, and that's the reason why these plants cannot be grown in open fields. However, species from the Far East provide extensive cultivation opportunities," says Dr. Anna Bieniek.

"In Warmia and Mazury, where air and soil temperatures are lower, the precipitation rate is higher and the growing season is shorter compared with central Poland, the choice of species is limited," explains Dr. Anna Bieniek.

Since 1996, five varieties of Actinidia have been grown in the Experimental Garden of the Department of Horticulture, UWM. These species were selected from the Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine, and come from Lithuania. Actinidia from Kortowo bore fruit for the first time in 2000.

"Twenty years of our observations indicate that using anti-frost is advisable, due to more frequent fluctuations in temperature and frosts appearing as late as in May," summarizes Dr. Anna Bieniek.

Berries of the experimental fruit grown in Kortowo are smaller than kiwi fruit and have a smooth, edible skin. When cut, they have typical kiwi seed placement. Baby kiwi contain a lot of valuable bioactive substances.

"In terms of biologically active ingredients, the hardy kiwi fruit contains as much of the ingredients as kiwi fruit, which is considered the ultimate fruit for health. Actually, it exceeds the latter in many respects. Hardy kiwi is used in home medicine. It is helpful in treating whooping cough and periodontal diseases resulting in the loss of teeth. They are also an effective means against parasites of the gastrointestinal tract. Baby kiwi fruits contain significant amounts of flavonoids, which act as a support and shielding for vitamin C. The flavonoids are an effective treatment against the fragility of blood vessels. The vitamin C, present in large quantities in baby kiwi fruit, increases the body's resistance to common cold," says Dr. Anna Bieniek.

So far, there are no commercial plantations of baby kiwi in Warmia and Mazury, but the contamination-free soil and the region's climate guarantee very high quality fruit.

Sylwia Zadworna

More information is available at the Department of Agriculture website: www.uwm.edu.pl/ogrod/, or write directly to anna.bieniek@uwm.edu.pl


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