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HiPoha August 8, 2012 03:45 PM

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Hooray. My ground cherry plants are starting to bear fruit. We call them Poha here, hence my sign. I planted about a hundred seeds in May and only these survived to this stage. Poha grows well on the islands with higher elevations, and they are rarely seen on my island, Oahu.
Thoughts, Aug.25 : These ground cherries don't seem to be worth the time and space they take in the garden. They ripen in two to three months after pollination. I was hoping to be swimming in them and thought I'd have enough to make jams and pies.

SEAMSFASTER August 9, 2012 12:46 AM

My healthiest Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry plant is a VOLUNTEER!:oops:

It measures to just over 8 feet across and it has nearly taken over a small flower bed, with no growth letup in sight. The main stem is nearly 1 inch in diameter.



Fruit production from the 130 intentially planted ground cherry plants is finally starting to pick up again. They've really been struggling in the heat (another record high today, 103°), but now perhaps their root systems are large enough to support the high rate of transpiration.

loeb August 14, 2012 04:15 PM

It's HUGE. How old is it? Mine Aunt Mollies are much much smaller..

2nd Foundation August 19, 2012 08:41 AM

Oh brother....that's just one plant, Seamsfaster? Looks like ground cherries need alot of room....
Anyone in the Southeast grow them?....and how big were they?
Great thread and pictures by the way!

SEAMSFASTER August 20, 2012 02:57 AM

The flower bed has been amended with LOTS of good organic matter over the past couple of years. I'm guessing this big one emerged as a volunteer around mid-April. I'm thinking these would do well in cages and grown like tomatoes. Certainly they could be trained to grow up instead of out?

The ground cherry plants that I planted intentionally in the garden are about 1/3 this size, but still busting out of the space I allotted. From the 100 or so surviving plants, I'm getting about 2 quarts a day now. Customers are loving them! Too bad they are so tiny. Working on that too...

Inca berries are another story. The plants are getting rather large, but still are not producing much at all. I noticed that last year too - almost no production until well into September.

I also have some Yantar ground cherries ([I]Pysalis pubescens[/I]) (courtesy of Andrey_BY - thanks again!) which are just starting to produce. They appear and taste very similar to Aunt Molly's.

Medbury Gardens September 2, 2012 02:12 AM

One of my Physalis peruviana that ive wintered over,i will start introduce to the outdoors in about a months time,i'm even thinking it may need a larger pot before too long going by how big its getting.


SEAMSFASTER September 14, 2012 03:41 AM

Here's a pic of some Yantar ground cherries. The flavor is very similar to Aunt Molley's, perhaps a bit "cleaner" - hardly a hint of that peculiar tomatillo-ish background flavor. At least as sweet as Aunt Molly's too.

The fruits are a bit smaller and paler yellow, but these minor differences could be attributed to confining these to 1-gallon pots.

Overall, Yantar and Aunt Molley's are difficult to distinguish. Next year I'll have a chance to grow them side-by-side to get more experience about how they differ.

I've kept the two Yantar plants well separated from all other Physalis species, hoping to reduce the risk of cross-pollination.

My Inca Berry plants are still not producing much. Perhaps they need to be grown under plastic in this area.


SEAMSFASTER December 17, 2012 03:17 AM

On May 17, 2012 someone gave me a few dehydrated "goldenberries" to try:

Predictably, I immediately reconstituted one of the fruits, fermented the seeds, then planted them all on May 22. Only three seeds germinated.

Two of those plants froze before putting on fruit. I put the third plant in my backyard high tunnel, where it got a little extra protection from frost.

Over the weekend, the high tunnel froze out (circuit breaker overload), but I got one ripe fruit:

Is this identical to the Inca Berry I grew during the 2012 growing season? It's hard to say. The plants looked identical in all respects - growth habit, flowers, leaves. But the fruits on this later plant were a bit smaller (could easily be due to cooler weather) and the flavor was even better: less tart, more fruity flavor.

Unless I grow them under identical conditions, I won't be able to say for sure if they are the same variety, though it's pretty obvious they are the same species.

This comes to 207 days from seed to first ripe fruit. This is clearly a fruit that would do better in zone 8 or higher. Or I think it could be grown successfully under plastic or in a greenhouse in my area (zone 6b).

With my main Inca Berry crop of 66 plants, when the frost hit in October, they were wiped out with many hundreds of fruits growing well. Only a handful had ripened enough for eating.

ChrisK December 18, 2012 03:20 PM

Good jam/jelly or other recipes out there? Just eat fresh? I may consider squeezing in a couple of plants somewhere next spring.

Rideau Rambler December 18, 2012 05:47 PM

Absolutely there are delish jam and pie recipes out there for GC's, just google search and you will find a few. You have to squeeze in a couple of these plants somewhere, anywhere!! Do start them indoors when you start your tomatoes, so you will have a longer ripe fruit season. Even a gentle frost can damage this plant, mine were just starting to produce when the frost wiped them out, sadly not enough for jam or pie this year.

ChrisK December 18, 2012 06:30 PM

Yah, Google knows everything, but are there some recipes that folks here really like? I found a chutney recipe that looks interesting.

Will definitely squeeze in an Aunt Molly or two next season! :yes:

jennifer28 December 18, 2012 06:35 PM

groundcherry tarts
[QUOTE=ChrisK;316028]Yah, Google knows everything, but are there some recipes that folks here really like? I found a chutney recipe that looks interesting.

Will definitely squeeze in an Aunt Molly or two next season! :yes:[/QUOTE]


I grew groundcherries this year and I made some really good tarts with them. I'll find the recipe and post it in the recipe section.

Also, I don't know about other people's experiences but I only grew 2 of these in my personal garden as a experiment (I grew like 20 in the school garden for the kids) but once they get going they are EXTREMELY PRODUCTIVE, so you dont even need a lot of plants to get a decent amt of fruit.

Ken B June 13, 2014 11:01 AM

We've got some Cape Gooseberry plants we're trying out this year. They're getting out late and they're only 6" tall, so we'll see how they do. They've got flea beetles going after them, it'll be interesting to see if they get eaten as bad as eggplants do when they're young, or if they'll be more like ground cherries and just outgrow the flea beetles.

(Well, will probably put row cover on these to help them out, and since we won't be able to keep a close eye on them while they're under row cover, will dust them with pyrethrins before putting the row cover on... so, no, won't get to really evaluate them for flea beetles this year, we don't have enough seedlings to do a covered vs. uncovered experiment.)

Starla June 17, 2014 09:34 AM

There are several varieties of ground cherries, but my favorite is Cossack Pineapple. It's the sweetest. And does really taste like pineapples. My grandmother had ground cherries and made jam with them. They are wonderful and prolific. They do reseed easily, also.

Ken B June 17, 2014 01:47 PM

I love ground cherries! I'm with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, we carry a couple kinds (Cossack Pineapple and Goldie). A few years ago we did a small trial patch where we compared those two with three other ones -- one was Yantar, I forget the name of the other two -- and was disappointed to find there wasn't much obvious difference between all of them. Seems like there should be some more "different" kinds out there somewhere; since they're related to tomatillos, I'd like to think that somewhere out there there's a purple ground cherry variety, seems like that should be a natural color variation.

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