History: Issai* hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) originated in Japan.
Why We Grow It: An exceptionally sweet variety, with around 20% natural sugars. Hardy kiwis have smooth, edible skin (unlike their more common southern counterparts). No need to peel these emerald treats, enjoy as they are! This vine reaches 12-20' long, so be prepared to trellis up to 80lbs of fruit per year. While this variety is self-pollinating and delicious, one downside is it is prone to break buds early in spring, and the new shoots are tender; if your plant has begin growing and a heavy frost is expected, it's best to wrap in burlap/tarps/old sheets.
Canadian Hardiness Zone: 4
Soil Preference: Prefers well-drained soil, and average to moist conditions. Does not tolerate wet conditions but is drought tolerant.
Growth Habits and Disease Resistance: Vine, vigorous with a compact growth habit, generally hardy but new shoots susceptible to frost damage, produces fairly large crops. Generally disease resistant.
Sun/Shade: Full Sun or Partial Shade (approx. 6-10 hours of sun daily)
Pollination: Self-pollinating, this variety will produce fruit without a male plant like Meader but will produce more and better fruit if one is present
Recommended Use: Fresh eating, juice, cooking, baking
Storage: Keeps up to two months in the fridge if picked before ripe
Size including roots: 20-40cm 1 year plant
Interested in some more in depth info? Check out this article from the Maine Organic Gardeners and Farmers Association.
*Although without the Japanese characters it is uncertain what the English translation is supposed to be, it is possible the name 'issai' here comes from the Japanese word for 'everything/all/absolutely.'