We have hardy kiwi vines. A whole row of them. Now its time for them to flower. When in bloom they look magnificent totally festooned with flowers and the scent is intoxicating.
There is just one problem
We don’t have any male vines!
When we put in the row I purchased two females and one male. We put them in, marked which was which and watched them grow. I pruned them and waited for them to flower. That takes three years at least from planting.
Ours took five years because the frost hit them the first two and killed all the flowers off.
Next year they bloomed wonderfully and we were delighted. Then sad since we got no fruit.
Next year I looked more closely at the flowers when they arrived and discovered to my horror that we had all females! The idiot who sold us the vines (who will remain nameless) sold us all females NOT a male.
It was too late to order males for that year but they went in the ground first thing the next spring. The trouble is they will take three years to flower too. We had already waited six years with no fruit now we had to wait another three!
This really sucked.
Then I attended a session on hardy kiwis at a farm conference and the speaker told us that you could buy male kiwi pollen! Wonderful. It’s not at all cheap, which is no surprise but you can get it. So we bought some pollen.
Then I had to go out and pollinate all the flowers by hand.
So for two days I was the bee. Armed with a little bottle of pollen on a strap around my neck and a paint brush I painstakingly worked my way up the row of vines trying to pollinate as many of the hundreds and hundreds of flowers that I could.
It really makes you appreciate bees after a day pretending to be one.
The really sad thing was that in the whole time I was working on the vines I saw only two bees. One bumble bee and one honey bee. I hope it was from my hive it was so fat with female pollen from the vines it could hardly fly. But it never brought its buddies back to reap the harvest. I have no idea where my bees are going but they are not working my field this year. There were no native bees, and no bumble bees. These all got devastated by a neighboring farmer in the last couple of years when they insist on spraying those toxic chemicals that kill all the insects good and bad. This killed off the large populations of pollinators that we had so carefully encouraged and cultivated on our farm.
So the really sad thing is that even if we had had male vines we would have had no fruit without me because there are no bees to pollinate them
There are a number of vegetables farms around us and they must all be having the same problem. No bees so fruits no peppers, peas, beans no anything much except salad greens.
Save the bees and save our food.