When to Plant and How to Grow Ground Cherries?

Ground cherries.

Learning the cultivation method for ground cherries is a good way to increase the number of fruits in your yard.

A ground cherry is a husked, delicious fruit with a distinct flavor that tastes like a mix of citrus, pineapple, and strawberry, and contain a slight topical undertone, despite the fact that most modern gardeners have never heard of them.

Cape gooseberries, husk tomatoes, and sweet tomatillos are all names for the same fruit.

When to Plant?

Plant 2 weeks after the last frost date in your area.

Plant throughout the month of March to grow ground cherries in Arizona’s low desert, and then again in mid-July through August.

Warm temperatures and lots of sun are required for ground cherries.

Afternoon shade is favored in hot summer locations such as the low desert of Arizona.

Ground cherries grown in Arizona’s low desert (and other hot summer regions) will bear fruit until the summer heat becomes unbearable. If the plants make it through the summer, they’ll start producing again as the weather cools.

How to Grow?

After all dangers of frost have gone and the soil has warmed up, transplant ground cherries.

Because ground cherries require adequate drainage, raised beds are ideal for cultivating them, particularly in thick clay soils.

Before you start planting, add a couple of inches of compost to the soil. Ground cherries, like tomatoes, produce roots along their stems, so put seedlings deep in the soil and leave three sets of leaves above the soil line. Plants should be spaced 3 feet apart in 3 to 4 foot long rows. Ground cherries can produce up to 300 fruits per plant and will continue to bear fruit until frost. For a family of four to six people, four to six plants is enough.

Mulch sparingly to keep weeds at bay and water in the soil. 2 inches of water per week is ideal for ground cherries to thrive. When the plants begin to bloom, spray them with diluted fish fertilizer twice more, two weeks apart.

Ground cherries can be supported by tiny tomato cages, which will limit them from sprawling.

Grow ground cherries on landscaping cloth to control weeds and make picking easier. Cover the bed with the fabric and fix it with landscaping pins before planting. After that, poke holes in the fabric and plant seedlings within.

Related: 18 Cherry OptionsQueen Anne Cherries | Skeena CherriesDried Cherry Alternatives | Sweet Cherry Substitutes

How to Harvest?

Ground cherries normally bear fruit 70 days after transplanting (late July to August in most areas) and continue to bear fruit until frost. Ground cherries have the odd habit of falling to the ground before they are fully ripe. Gather them as soon as they fall and store them in a basket at room temperature, husks intact. Their hue will change from light yellow to the warm apricot gold that indicates ripeness in a week or less. In their husks, store ground cherries. If stored in a mesh bag and kept cool, they’ll last up to three months (about 50 degrees).

How to Consume?

Ground cherries lend itself to a wide range of dishes thanks to their particular sweet-tart flavour. Before preparing the fruits, remove the husks and thoroughly rinse them. Fruits that have been husked will last five to seven days in the refrigerator.

Simply spread the husked, rinsed cherries on a rimmed cookie sheet and freeze them. Put them in plastic bags once they’ve hardened.

Removing the husk and popping the fruit into your mouth is the easiest way to eat ground cherries. Ground cherries, raw and diced, are very tasty in pancakes or salsa. Alternatively, try this simple dessert:

Crumble With Ground Cherries and Pineapple

Ingredients:

  • Ground cherries, halved 3 cups
  • Pineapple chunks, 3 cups
  • Sugar, 12 cup
  • 12 CUP ALMONDS BLEACHED
  • 14 cup butter, unsalted
  • Flour (14 cup)
  • 12 CUP SUGAR (BROWN)

Instructions:

  • Mix together the sugar, ground cherries, and pineapple pieces. In a baking pan, spread the mixture out.
  • Pulse almonds until finely chopped in a food processor, then add butter, flour, and brown sugar and process until smooth. Blend until smooth, then spread over the fruit.
  • Bake for 30–40 minutes at 375°F, or until brown and bubbling. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream while it’s still warm.

Final Word:

Through this guide, we have tried to outline the entire ground cherry growing process – from planting to consumption – in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.

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