Also known as Cape Gooseberries. Sow Aunt Molly’s ground cherry seeds in the spring for a big harvest of sweet ground cherries by late summer. The plants and fruits resemble tomatillos, with each fruit growing inside a papery husk called a calyx. But fruits mature to a golden orange colour, and drop to the ground when ripe. The sweet little fruits will store for up to three months if kept in their husks, but you’ll want to use them faster than that in jams, fruit salads, and sauces. Aunt Molly’s originated in Poland and are productive in coastal gardens.
Matures in 65-70 days. (Open pollinated seeds)
How to Grow Tomatillos
These big sprawling tomatillo plants are easier to grow than tomatoes and do not require any protection from rain. The fruit itself, when fully ripe, can be used to increase tomato sauces. Ground cherries are a sweet fruit and are used for preserves and desserts. Follow along with this handy How to Grow Tomatillos Guide and grow food.!
Tomatillo: Physallis philadelphica
Ground Cherry: Physallis peruviana
We Recommend: Toma Verde (TM811). It’s just the standard for tomatillos, and so productive, you’ll have a hard time keeping up with the harvest.
Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Start indoors in April with bottom heat, and transplant out in warm weather, after tomatoes go out.
Sow seeds 5mm-1cm (¼-½”) deep in individual pots or trays. Space transplants 45-60cm (18-24″) apart in rows 90-120cm (36-48″) apart.
Ideal pH: 6.5-7.0. Full sun and regular watering will keep the plants producing. Plants need support to keep drooping branches off the ground. Tomato cages work well. Tomatillos and ground cherries are good candidates for large containers. Be sure to pick the fruit before it drops!
For salsa verde, harvest tomatillos when they’re still green, just starting to lighten up on the blossom end. But for fresh eating, the fruit is sweetest when it turns yellow and splits its husks, sometimes falling to the ground.
For ground cherries, the fruit ripen from green to yellow-gold, and drop to the ground in their husks, waiting for you to gather them.
In optimal conditions at least 75% of seeds should germinate. Usual seed life: 3 years.
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