Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries – A Curious Plant


1-IMG_20160727_112347649This year we are growing a curious fruit called ground cherries. They grow on large, short, and bushy plants that become a sort of rug on the soil. We started them inside in mid-February in tiny hexagon trays. We only started five and they all sprouted and did very well. Currently we have one plant that is dying because we were going to give it to a friend, but it never happened, so it sat in a pot too long. I am going to explain how we grew them. They sprouted relatively quickly and grew fast. When they were little, they didn’t like getting their leaves wet, so we had to water them very carefully with a water bottle. When the plants were small, they had small, almost rhombus shaped leaves. As they grew, they became more triangular. Before they were a month old, we up planted them to four inch pots. At this point, they started growing rapidly. Soon, they had almost outgrown their new pot, so we began to harden them off. We began with two hour chunks in the shade, slowly increasing until they were able to spend the entire day outdoors (but we still brought them in at night). We slowly got them adapted to part and then full sun. When we began leaving them outside, we carefully checked the weather beforehand to make sure they would not freeze or get blown over by the wind. During the whole process, which took about two weeks, we were gently watering them with the hose. When we planted them, they went through a bit of transplant shock including yellowing of leaves, leaves turning at right angles to the stem, and no new growth. Slowly, they began to perk up again and we began to notice tiny, adorable, upside down white and brown flowers appearing. Soon, the flowers shriveled up and a tiny green lanterns began to appear behind them. The lantern grew and slowly began to turn yellow. For ground cherries, the way you know they are ripe is when they fall off the plant. So one day, it fell off. I peeled off the husk, and inside was a perfect little fruit. Upon tasting it, my best description would be that it tasted like a pineapple with notes of a tomato flavor. It looked like a small, yellow tomatillo but tasted nothing like it. Since then, we have collected many ground cherries and my final conclusion is: they were super fun to grow and a cool adventure, and the flavor was odd and not quite my thing. I am hoping to make a salsa out of them, and if it turns out, I will post it to my other blog and link to it here. If you would like to plant this curious fruit, the place we got our seeds was Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I hope this was an interesting and informing post about a most curious plant!

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2 thoughts on “Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries – A Curious Plant

    1. Unless… You have a huge amount of them and peel them all and put them in a bowl and try to make salsa and it is gross. Then there is WAY too much to eat! But my brother eats them like grapes when he is in the mood.

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