Ground Cherry is a smaller version of the Cape Gooseberry. It originates also from South-America. It's grown as an annual in the Netherlands. The orange-yellow, little, round berries are ripe when the casings turn from green to light brown. The berries of the Ground Cherry ripen much quicker than the berries of The Cape Gooseberry. It's also a very productive plant as it produces a prolific amount of berries.
The little orange-yellow berries have a very delicious, very sweet, pine-apple-like and exotical flavour. I have a preference for the flavour of the Ground Cherry. The flavour is also very long lasting. The plants can overgrow anything and grow very large. The plant needs a lot of light, warmth and shelter against the wind. Give the plant a firm and sturdy support when the berries start to grow. These berries can be eaten as a healthy snack, as a very healthy sweet, in desserts and in an exotic salad. You can also make a very sweet jam of the berries. Use these fruits to make fruit tartes, cakes and muffins. Non hardy annual. Height: 75 - 100 cm.
Cape Gooseberry seeds
middle of March-middle of April
end of July-end of October
75 - 100 cm
Indoor sowing: middle of March - middle of April
Germination: 14 - 21 days
Germination temp. : 22 - 27 °C
Sowing depth: shallow
Plant distance: 30 - 40 cm
Transplant outdoors: middle of May (after Ice-Saints)
Plant position: very sunny - sheltered
Harvest period: end of July - end of October
Sow indoors in a seeding tray filled with moist potting soil from the middle of March. Sow sparingly and shallow and don't cover the seeds. Because Cape Gooseberry is a light germinator. These seeds need a lot of light and warmth to germinate. Put the seeding tray in a propagator. Don't pre-seed earlier because then the seedlings become too long, weak and slender. Keep the seeds warm, light and moist. Transplant the seedlings to individual pots when they have a second leave pair. Let them grow on on a temperature of about 15 °C. Harden them of in the beginning of May for about 10 - 14 days. Put the pots with the seedlings outdoors during the day and place them indoors in the evening. After about 14 days, You can plant them outdoors. Put the seedlings on a very sunny and sheltered spot.
You can plant the seedlings outdoors on a very sunny, warm and sheltered plot, after the last frosts. According to some, it's better not to plant the Cape Gooseberries in a greenhouse or hothouse. Cape Gooseberry needs a firm and sturdy support. The fruits are ripe when the green casings are brown, dried and transparent. The fruits inside are beautiful yellow-orange, soft and very sweet and fruity.