How to build a trellis for hardy kiwi
What is hardy kiwi?
Hardy kiwi is similar to the fuzzy kiwi you get at the grocery store, except for the following differences:
1. Hardy kiwi skin is green and edible, and you do not need to peel.
2. Hardy kiwi is just that, it is hardy up to zone 5.
3. Hardy kiwi tends to be easier to grow and the fruit is sweeter!
Why build a trellis?
Kiwi vines can grow 10 feet tall, and need a sturdy support system to flourish.
Where to put the trellis?
Kiwi like full sun and well-drained soil, so find a spot that matches this. Really think it over, because a kiwi trellis will not be moveable.
Type of trellis?
I decided to build a trellis made up of wood posts, with 12.5 gauge orchard wire across the top.
Drill (You will need a drill with decent power)
Drill heads for hex bolts, and for starting holes for deck screws
Drill bit for deck screws
Saw to cut 4x4x6 (I used a circular saw, and had to turn the timber over to cut all the way through)
Sledgehammer (I used the backside of my post-hole driver. It worked OK, a sledge is better)
Post Hole Driver
Tape measure and pen to mark
Saw not pictured
(3) 4x4x6 pressure treated lumber
(1) 4x4x6 inches (To put in the e-z spike base to pound on to get spike into ground)
(1) 7 foot heavy duty steel u-post (8’ would have been better)
(3) 11’ long sections of 12.5 gauge orchard wire
(6) 2-5/8” eye hooks (This is not needed if you are using wire vices, as you can simply drill holes to hold your wire vices.)
(28) deck screws
(6) Wire Vices
(2) Simpson Strong-Tie E-Z Spike
(2) Simpson Strong-Tie 4x4 half base
How to put together the trellis?
1. Cut (1) 4x4x6 timber in half.
Cut timber Simpson half base attached
2. Install the (2) simpson half bases at the top of the (2) 4x4x6 timbers
3. Attach the (2) 3’ sections of timber to the simpson half bases.
4. Install (3) eyehooks to each of the (2) 3’ sections of timber. ***This is not needed if you are using wire vices. I originally used a clothesline setup for the trellis, and have since upgraded to the trellis wire and wire vices. I just re-used the eye hooks as opposed to drilling holes.
5. Install the simpson e-z spikes 8 feet apart. Make sure they are level and straight before pounding completely in the ground. It is next to impossible to get these out if you don’t like the placement. Also, if they are crooked, your posts will be crooked. You will need to use a small section of 4x4 to put into the base, so you can pound on the wood to get the spike into the ground. I ran into some issues, because one of my spikes hit a large rock about 4” from being level with the ground, so I just installed the other spike 4” high as well because it was next to impossible to pull it out and start a new hole. Besides, these things are really sturdy. I really think these E-Z spikes are due for a name change, because they were anything but. I spent about an hour just pounding the spikes into the ground. If I could do it over, I would have just gotten some longer timbers, and dug a hole and put the posts in with quick concrete mix. If you do this, make sure you let the posts cure for a day or so, before putting up the wire. You will need to put some water on the quick concrete to get it to harden. The bags come with exact directions.
6. Install the posts onto the simpson e-z spike bases.
7. Install 7’ steel U-post in the middle of the timber end posts
8. Install the 12.5 gauge wire onto one side of the (3) eyehooks, and install the wire vices on one side. The pointed end of the wire vice should face in. The wire must be threaded through the pointed end first. The wire vice is a great little tool, because it will not allow the wire to go back, so it can be easily tightened.
9. Install the other side of the wire, installing the wire vices. Pull snug with gloves on. You can use a gripple tensioning tool to make it really tight. I have this tool, but I did not use it here. I was able to pull it sufficiently tight. I would recommend that you tighten each wire slowly, and alternate, so one side does not twist the posts.
10. Bend the excess wire out of the way to make neat. I like to leave about a foot of slack so I can pull it tighter in the future if need be.
11. You are ready to plant. I have (3) kiwi plants in my greenhouse right now. As soon as a danger of frost is gone, I will plant (2) females and (1) male. Each kiwi plant will be planted in front of a post, and trained up the post to the wire.