State of the Oasis

It’s been a few week, in that I have been meaning to post but I’ve been so busy with projects around the house and property that I haven’t had a chance.

The largest of the projects was dealing with, or pruning, my out of control kiwi fruit vines. Anyone who has followed me on social media knows that my male vine was cut last summer by my doofus of a neighbor. I’m not sure if it was him or a landscaper he hired. I also suspect he thought he owned the fence and was cutting the vines away to replace it. That said, he cut the male vine and I had no second-year growth for male flowers this spring for pollination, so no fruit at all.

As I pruned away dead vines, overgrowth and older pieces of the plants I discovered a great deal more damage. Kiwi makes a very specific kind of scab when cut at the wrong time of year. Right now the plans are dormant and don’t scab, but if they are cut in the summer or spring the scab looks rounded over and a bit hollow. Anyway. I found many scabs all throughout the plant. Which means he cut a whole lot more than just the male vine. He (or his landscapers) cut away the top halves of my top two producers of fruit. It was done brutally, in July or August and definitely damaged that year’s crops (2018) and these years. Even had I had a male vine, the majority of the growth left on the plants was older, 3rd and 4th year, and wouldn’t have produced much fruit at all. None of the cuts could have been made through the fence, they reached over the fence to cut them.

The plants did need to be pruned. The older growth on the underside of the plant was just dead weight and sapped strength from the fruit-producing vines. I had to trim a great deal of new growth off to get at it. It was also providing shelter for the local rabbit population, which is not great for my garden. The rabbits aren’t interested in the kiwi vines themselves but do like my garden in the spring. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep them out of the yard a bit easier now than before. I’ll be able to build a nice trellis to keep the vines contained.

The vines had also shaded the ground below and resulted in nearly total grass death. I’m not sad about it, but it does make it harder to keep the soil in place, given the grade of our yard. I was also able to see that my old tomato planter, now in a lot more shade due to the neighbor’s stupid (ugly) fence is rotting out and needs replacing and to be moved.

It also revealed that the English ivy is spreading throughout the yard, slowly creeping from the back fence, along my fence, and outward. The thick strong vines are deeply rooted and I know that even if I were to mow everything in that corner to the ground, burn it with fire, and then spray poison on it, the damnable ivy would return from some deep taproots. I yank it when I can but at this point, I can’t irradicate it, only keep it somewhat under control. (Read this excellent post about it from Woodland Foraging.)

I am attempting to look at the positives rather than focusing on my doofus neighbor. I have loads of second-year growth on all 4 of my remaining plants, so I should have good production next year. I have the opportunity to build or devise some sort of trellising system. I am not going to lie, I was very angry and upset. When I first discovered the cut on the male vine this spring, I did cry. This time I was just sad and angry. Why? I suspect he is mostly a doofus who doesn’t understand the rules(laws) of how things work. The family who lived there before would simply call over the fence and ask me to take care of it. Instead, he did it himself. I suspect since he is a bit patriarchal he thought he was doing me a favor and realized in the midst of the cutting he was cutting something with fruit on it.

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