Heirloom Expert: How to Grow Ground Cherries

Ground cherries are beginning to make a comeback and here is what you should know about them.

| Winter 2014-15

I was given something called a ground cherry over the summer and loved the flavor. Are they hard to grow?—Tom from Kansas

Ground cherries are becoming popular all over again and if you can grow tomatoes, you can grow ground cherries.

The tart yellow berry hugs the ground and is covered in a papery husk. They were eaten by the Pilgrims and can be enjoyed fresh out of the garden or in pies and preserves. I love to eat them right in the garden when they are at their peak. The flavor is unique and wonderful.

There’s something along the same lines I want to try this year from the Baker Creek Seed catalog. The Giant Cape Gooseberry is bigger than a ground cherry with a similar flavor. On a recent trip to Italy I saw something similar dipped in chocolate. That’s something which is now on my gardening bucket list.

Be sure to give the plants room to ramble, good soil improved with compost and enjoy the berries from late summer until frost.

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