Aunt Molly's Organic Ground Cherries
Delicious tropical taste in an attractive paper wrapper. Ground cherries are very sweet and taste a bit like pineapples. Can be used in preserves, pies or over ice-cream, but here at Veseys we love to eat them raw. The fruit from these prolific plants can be stored for 3-4 weeks after harvesting. Start indoors like peppers. Matures in 60-65 days after transplanting. Approx. 25 seeds/pkg.
Starter Plant Minimum Purchase Required: When purchasing Starter Plants you must purchase a minimum of 12 plants, this can be a combination of any 2 pkgs of 6 plants (or 1 collection of 12 plants).
Ground Cherry Seed Planting: Ground cherries are slow to get started so they should be started 8 weeks prior to transplanting. Press seeds lightly into soil surface, cover lightly and provide constant moisture and bottom heat. Slower than tomatoes to germinate requiring 10-14 days. Plants will grow to 24 inches tall and spread 18 inches, so space 24-36 inches apart after all risk of frost has passed.
Starter Plants Upon Arrival: Please open blister packs and notify us immediately by email, or by phone at 1-800-363-7333 if there is a problem with your plugs.
Drench the root balls with water. These young plants must be potted as soon as possible upon arrival. Handle these plugs gently. Plugs are rooted cuttings that are started in trays of individual cells. They are ready to be transferred into larger pots to continue growing. After several weeks they can be placed outside (after last frost date) and will provide you with several months of beauty and enjoyment!
Transplant your plants individually into any 3-4 inch pots or directly into a hanging basket, large container or window box. We recommend 3-4 plugs per 8-10" hanging basket, or 6-9 plugs per 12" basket. In a mixed container do not plant too close to the edge. Keep plants at least 2-3 inches away from the container rim to prevent the roots from getting too hot or dry. Handle the plug by the root ball, never by the stem. Use a peat based soilless mix that contains perlite or vermiculite for drainage. Handle the plug by the root ball, never by the stem. Place the plant in the center of the pot and at the same depth at which it is already growing. Gently firm the soil around the new plant and water in well.
Growing Conditions: Provide lots of sunlight or artificial light. If you must place pots on your windowsills, be aware that it may get very hot on sunny days and very cold at night. Plants may dry out or get frost or heat damage. Turn containers frequently to allow plants to grow evenly. Protect plants from extreme temperature swings. Room temperature is fine. Water whenever potting mix is dry to the touch. Feed regularly with any balanced water-soluble fertilizer. It is better to feed with a weak solution every time you water (constant feed), than with a strong solution every 2 weeks. You may also use a slow release fertilizer especially for containers, such as SmartCote Hanging Basket Food. Organic alternatives would be Jolly Farmer Earthworm Castings. Removing 1-2 sets of leaves from each stem or “pinching” may help some varieties stay bushy and produce more flowers.
Moving Outside: Gradually adjust your plants to outside conditions over a period of a week or two. First place them outside on a warm, calm day in the shade for a few hours. Work up to more sun, wind, and cooler temperatures and finally leave out overnight. Permanently place or plant them outside after your last spring frost date. Check moisture levels everyday, and water when neccesary. Continue to fertilize throughout the season. Watch out for the usual insect pests: whiteflies, aphids, thrips, and spider mites.
Growing Outdoors: Ground cherries are fairly light feeders so a good application of compost or well-rotted manure at planting should be adequate. Growing though plastic or paper mulch is beneficial as it suppresses weeds and makes the fruit easier to find once it has dropped from the plant.
Harvest: Fruit are ripe when the husks turn brown and drop from the plant. Ground cherries will keep for a number of weeks once picked if left in the husks.
Pests and Diseases: Ground cherries do not have any major pests or diseases.