Each year I like to plant one or two odd vegetables in my garden. Something that does not normally grow around here, or something you cannot find at the supermarket. These have ranged from different colored tomatoes to bizarre squash and melons. At home I am currently growing artichokes and cuca-melons. I am not always successful in these experiments. After years of trying, I have still not eaten a pineapple grown in my yard… but I keep trying. The challenge is part of the fun.

One of my successes are ground cherries. This is a type of husk tomato that produces a yellow, marble sized, sweet tasting berry. Since it is a husk tomato, the berry comes in it’s own papery wrapping. They grow fast in hot weather and produce a bunch of berries. In my garden I ordered ground cherry seeds six years ago, and have had ground cherries each year since. They are prolific self seeders, and come up like weeds every year in my garden. They easily transplant into even rows, or to share with friends.

Plant ground cherries after all risk for frost has passed. They love hot weather and grow fast, so they can wait until May to be planted. The plants will get 1-3 feet tall and wide, so plant them 1-2 feet apart.

Ground cherries get their name from the manner that we harvest them. The husks grow green on the plant, then turn yellow as the berry ripens. If you eat the berry before it is ripe, it will be sour. It is best to wait until the husk falls off the plant, and pick them up off the ground. That is the best way to know that the berries are ripe, and the taste will be sweet.

Elsewhere in the garden, we continue to harvest carrots, beets and green beans. We still have a few peas left, but they are almost done for the season. Our zucchini has been growing fast, and there are already a few small squash. We will be picking them soon, and checking every day to make sure they do not get too big. We do not want summer squash to get longer than 7-8 inches.