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I was given what I think is Cape Gooseberry, and have some Ground Cherry Aunt Molly growing as well so thought I would look up what is growing in my garden...

The following is sourced from ...

I am very interested in trying the Tomatillo and Cossack Pineapple as well and will probably buy seeds soon.

Does anyone have experience in eating or growing any of these? I found the Ground Cherry impossible to germinate last year but tried again this year despite thinking the seeds were duds.... it took *ages* but heaps came up in the small area I sprinkled liberally. I have tried transplanting thinnings but not sure if they will take...

CAPE GOOSEBERRY (Physalis peruviana)

A short lived perennial, that's usually treated as an annual, producing large quantities of gourmet, cherry tomato sized, sweet and juicy golden fruits in a papery husk. They can be used in salads, desserts, jam, jellies and are fantastic half dipped in chocolate for that extra treat.

Suitable for temperate and sub-tropical areas.Sow spring and summer for autumn harvest.

GOLDENBERRY (Physalis peruviana) Aunt Molly

Originating in Poland, this ground cherry has the cleanest flavour of all the ground cherries and is very sweet and fruity. Fruit are 1-2cm in diameter and are encased in the same kind of papery husk as a tomatillo, turning a golden orange colour and dropping to the ground when ripe. These extremely productive plants have a sprawling habit and can grow to 45-60cm wide.

Use as you would any sweet fruit. Makes a tasty jam and an unusual and rewarding addition to fruit salads and smoothies etc.

TOMATILLO (Physalis ixocarpa)

The tomatillo is a close relative of the cape gooseberry and a distant relative of tomatoes that originates from the Andes and is widely cultivated in Central America. They are easy to grow and are an important ingredient in many Mexican dishes, especially salsas. It grows a thin husk (or lantern) around the fruit that must be peeled prior to using the fruit Tomatillo are grown in a similar manner to tomatoes but are hardier and less prone to diseases.
Prefers open sunny positions. Sensitive to frosts. Sow anytime in frost free areas, can started indoors 4-5 weeks before transplanting in cooler areas or after last frost.

This traditional Mexican heirloom, regarded by some as the best of the green tomatillos, is a prolific bushy plant growing 1m tall which can tolerate partial shade. Producing larger fruit up to 5cm that are ripe when the fruits burst through husk. Verde Pueblo has a very mild skin and sweet, crisp flesh, so you can use it in salads, salsas, or cooked.

COSSACK PINEAPPLE (Physalis pruinosa)

Cossack Pineapple are a very easily grown, sprawling, very productive plant. It bears delicious berries that are encased in a papery husk and have a flavour reminiscent of pineapple.

Plants grow to 50cm but with bushy spreading lateral branches which choke out weeds. Fruit is ripe when it falls to the ground. Fruits are delicious fresh, as well as making terrific pies and jams.
Fruit will ripen from mid summer until frost.

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Mmm, those Cossak Pineapples and Ground Cherries sound worth a whirl! My dad used to grow Cape Gooseberries in Sydney and I have grown one lot here in DBay. But my current lot of seeds (NOT from Cornucopia!) have not come up yet. Unlike their relative the Tomato, these Solanums don't seem to be enthusiastic growers. The Tomatillo sounds like a useful plant - hardier and less disease-prone has a lot going for it!

One of the things which concern me with fruit is that so many of the ones we like are Solanums - meaning the food we routinely eat comes from very few Botanical families. Goji berries (got them growing but not fruiting) are also Solanums. And so it goes, we're getting less and less variety in our diets and I don't really know what to do about it since most briars (Rose family) and stone fruit (Rose family) don't do well here.
Have you read Masanobu Fukuoka's "Natural Way of Farming"? (Free download:

He had this freaky "Diet of Non-Discrimination" idea which is all about what's available locally and seasonally.

That said, I think in the subtropics we can grow certain berries - mostly trees, but also Keriberry is a bramble that works. There are so many awesome subtropical fruits - people in cold climates spend all their efforts trying to protect them from frosts!!
Thank you for the download link Mick ... I'm a fan of the old guy, in another lifetime I've read his 'One Straw Revolution' so I'm keen to read anything else he's written.

There are some fairly local native brambles ... for one they are growing at the entrance to the National Park at Mt Glorius - outside the park so OK to take cuttings. They probably prefer it a tad colder but you never know. However some of the native brambles are quite vigorous growers and enthusiastic suckerers so wherever you put them, they need to be able to be easily controlled.

I'm growing Goji, some from seed (from a dried fruit) and some I bought. One died of who-knows-what, the rest are growing alright but I figure even though they mostly get morning sun, it's still too hot for them in the summer. I don't fancy my chances of moving them successfully now but I will try and rig up some shadecloth for them and see how they go.

The Blueberries even though they are supposedly low bush warm-adapted ones do give some delicious fruit with the accent on 'some'. They too, I have finally worked out, need shade. Currently they are growing in among some sheltering weeds with the Peanuts and doing better than they ever have. So I'm working on the design of some bird-netting-with-shadecloth structure made from tent poles, bamboo canes and whatever-else I can find around the place. A south-western slope is not the best place for growing European edible plants!

There is an 'Irish Strawberry Tree' available as seeds or sometimes in pots. Opinions vary on the flavour of the fruit but it is supposed to do well in the warmer parts of Oz. I never did buy one although I have bought the seeds of a Chinese Date plant (Jujube might be another of its common names) and the seeds are slow germinators, so slow they have not poked their heads up yet but I live in hopes. But it's a spiky plant as are the native briars.

Carob does grow here - someone brought some freshly picked pods into Choir once and they were *scrumptious* far better than the powder. Now Carob trees are separately male and female, slow growing, *huge* and spiky. If you've got plenty of land and some grandkids they could be a good bet.
I have just put in 4 Cape Gooseberries and would be very intrestred in tomatillo and Cossak Pineapples , i have never seen the seed for sale before ( never heard of Cossak Pineapples before ) . there is a entry in my vegetable book on Tomatillo . I would love to share costs with any one buying seed or even cover all expenses and share the seed as i do not use credit cards or asyet have a debit card for internet use
Hi Christopher - Sold! I will order and pay for them, and organise a time/ place to meet to share out the booty and can get the money off you for your share.

Let me know if you want anything else, if it is okay with you I might get them delivered to your house (please PM your address as I have forgotten it) as I will be away. Of course, you would have to start a couple of plants off for me though ;)

The other seeds I will probably buy will be the Eggplant, Thai Green Long as I have heard great things about this variety.
Donna, I'll share in the cost of the green long eggplant, if there're enough seeds... I saw on Oztion (from the seller I bought the bean seeds from) white long eggplants and am so tempted to get some...
There are 30 seeds but an happy to share if you are still interested... in theory two plants (1 for seed, 1 for eating) should be all I need...

Or is this one better eating? I don't even think I like eggplant (only had it once but am trying to plant easy grow plants for our climate and have to learn to eat them) so am looking for a 'mild' one if such a thing exists lol.
Would definitely be interested in the green eggplant - I had a look for the white eggplant on Oztion, but it's gone... I should've got those seeds, as the seller is in Cairns, so the plants would do well here. Eggplants are delicious! I can give you a few recipes, Italian and Asian... I've been the grateful recipient of Chris' bounty, and have had lots of eggplant-based meals in the last few weeks!
you are about to get some more if you want some , those plants just dont stop .
Chris, I'll never get tired of eating eggplant, wish I could convince your family to like it!!
How about I make you a eggplant pasta dish?
The other night I cooked for friends - a stack of eggplant slices (soaked in milk, floured, fried) with some chicken, fetta, olives, basil, sundried tomatoes, spices etc. Based on something in a Moroccan cookbook - delicious!
Anyone with a spare eggplant and recipe can donate it to me on Sat - I have only ever had chicken mousaka once in a restaurant :) My plant has a flower... the germination rate of ones I bought of ebay is terrible, 1 out of 6!


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