Harvesting cape gooseberry

jonfrum(6)August 7, 2013

This is my first year growing cape gooseberry, and I just thought I'd put some info on this site. I've seen people ask when to harvest them. When the berry forms, the husk starts out light green, and then changes to yellow. At that time, they usually aren't fully ripe, even if they've fallen off the plant. When the husk loses its color and dries out, then the berry is usually ripe. You can wait for them to fall off the plant, or you can lightly shake the branches to make them fall. When you take off the husks, you'll see that not all are perfectly yellow. Sort out the bright yellow ripe ones from those with a greenish tint, and let the others ripen - they will.

For those interested in growing cape gooseberries, mine have stayed low to the ground, but they extend about five feet in diameter. If you can't bend over easily, you probably don't want to deal with this crop.

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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

I grew ground cherries ('Pineapple) for the first time this year. Plants were slow to get started, then took off. I grew them in a container. Worked fine. You need more than one plant. Three plants in a ten-gallon container could give you fruit for casual use. You can spread a cloth under the pot to catch falling fruits. My plants have stopped bearing and were blanching at the tips. I don't know if this was related to our very hot weather.

I've cut them back to about 5 inches in hopes of getting some fruit for fall, since they are supposed to store at room temperature for some time. I'm getting some new growth.

Seedy little fruits. The crunchy seeds remind me of figs, thought the seeds are smaller. A novelty more than a serious crop in my estimation.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 5:31PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

I have something that fits your description in Munich, Germany last month. The size is about a gooseberry. Yellow fruit inside of the yellow husk. Taste a little tart but still pleasant to eat raw. I start to like its taste. Is the ground cheery also called Cape Gooseberry?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 5:27PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana) and Ground Cherry (Physalis pruinosa) are cousins. Two selected varieties of Ground Cherry are Pineapple and Aunt Molly's (from Poland). I believe that Thompson and Morgan also sells a variety of one of the species above called "Golden Berry". Just to confuse things, there is also a tomatillo called "Pineapple" (Tomato Growers Supply). The Pineapple ground cherry is much smaller than the tomatillo.

Ground cherries self-sow in many climates. Both cape gooseberries and ground cherries may be mildly toxic before they are ripe. Store ripening or ripe ground cherries at room temperature, in their husks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden berries

This post was edited by carolync1 on Fri, Aug 9, 13 at 1:21

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 12:51AM
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jonfrum(6)

I also got the blanching of the leaves. Patches turn white and then dry out. Not all the plants are affected, and they're still producing, but there seems to be fewer flowers now. My four plants aren't enough for making jam or pies, but they're great to snack on instead of junk food.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 11:58AM
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