Husk Cherry Physalis pruinosa
The Husk Cherry belongs to the same family as the tomato but doesn"™t resemble it very much. The Japanese Lantern and Winter Cherry are closer relatives plus about 80 other sorts of Physalis.
This plant hides a golden yellow berry inside the pale-yellow paper lanterns. Its taste is special a little wild, sweet and exquisite. This plant, which is very decorative, is quite compact, richly branched growing vigorously. It can grow about 1 metre tall in a green house, outdoors 30-40 cm. Normally, it yields large amounts of berries and is not quite as affected by cold as the tomato is. It has the same needs as the tomato and should be grown accordingly.
The Husk Cherry is perennial but cannot winter outdoors here. It can, however, winter indoors and be used for cuttings in spring. This way an extra early and reliable crop is made possible. The Husk Cherryis also called Ground Cherry because the fruit doesn"™t ripen completely until it has fallen off. Some other species are mistaken for Husk Cherry i.e. Physalis peruviana (Cape gooseberry) and P. ixocarpa/philadephica.
SOWING: Read the chapter on tomato. These small seeds must, however, be sown very shallowly and must not be allowed to dry out during germination which is ab. 2-3 weeks, preferably at a temperature of 27°C. A cool period during germination can often get sluggish seeds going.
SPACING: Keep 50-60 cm between neighbours.
HARVEST: The fruits are almost ripe when the paper lantern has become straw-coloured and fallen to the ground. Put them in a cool place indoors to complete their ripening and the berry, which is the size of a White-heart cherry, gets its golden yellow colour. They can be eaten as they are, dried like raisins, frozen, preserved or in pies and desserts. The berry will keep fresh for several weeks in a cool place if the paper lantern is allowed to remain after the harvest.
SEEDS: 1 g contains about 1000 seeds. One portion has about 100 seeds. Germination rate is approx. 60%