Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
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Sow Ground Cherries Soon

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February 27, 2020

Ground cherries, aka husk cherry tomatoes (Physalis pruinosa), are native to Central America but were “widely grown in Poland and are now on board the Slow Food Ark of Taste” of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction, according to Fedco Seeds. The ripe fruits are delicious, tasting like little melons (or pineapple, some say). Pinetree Garden Seeds suggests starting the small, slow-to-germinate seeds eight to 10 weeks before the last spring frost – so any day now. Fedco recommends filtered light and temperatures of at least 75 F and preferably closer to 90 F for germination. “Cover seeds with just a light sprinkling of soil and place the flats in the hottest part of the greenhouse, transplanting after last spring frost,” says Fedco. Those without a heated greenhouse might find a spot atop a refrigerator, water heater or near a wood stove to provide warmth. Johnny’s Selected Seeds reminds us to keep the soil moist – and adds that the mature fruits can be eaten raw, dried like raisins, frozen, canned, or used in preserves, pies and other desserts.

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