Gaga for Ground Cherries

Gaga for Ground Cherries

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Photo by Jessica Walliser
I’m excited to get these ground-cherry seeds—cousins to the tomato—into the garden.

I’ve been busy gathering my seed-starting equipment, as I’ll begin starting seeds in the next week or two. I have a beautiful three-tiered grow-light system given to me by a friend, and it always seems to fill up too fast! I’ll be starting tomatoes, peppers, cole crops, zinnias, cosmos, amaranth and a few others.

One of the crops I am most looking forward to growing from seed for the first time this year is ground cherries. I first tasted them a few years ago while visiting a friend’s farm and wrote about them in the Farm Garden column of the March/April 2012 issue of Hobby Farms. I can’t wait to grow my own—they are delicious! If you are interested in trying something different, I purchased my seed from the Hudson Valley Seed Library, but several catalogs list them as well.

Here’s how I described them in the magazine: “Sweet and juicy, tasting much like a cross between a pineapple and a tomato, ground cherries (Physalis pruinosa) are one fruit that deserves a place in your vegetable garden. A native of North America, ground cherries are in the tomato family (along with their brother, the tomatillo) and are super easy to grow and very prolific. The 3/4-inch fruits are covered by a papery husk and drop to the ground when they are ripe and are ready to harvest. Seeds of ground cherry are planted indoors 6 weeks before last frost and are transplanted outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. Ground cherries are seriously delicious eaten fresh, made into jam or baked into a pie.”

Make a home for a few of the plants in this year’s veggie patch then report back to me in the fall. I’m curious to hear if your opinion of ground cherries mirrors mine!

Tags garden, Jessica Walliser, seed-starting, tomatoes

Watch the video: Growing Cape Gooseberries for the 1st time. Superfood (August 2022).