Thursday, 20 February 2014

Rainbow veg - Orange is for Physalis


Physalis, or Cape Gooseberries, or Inca berries, (Physalis peruviana) taste infinitely better when picked fresh from the plant then when bought from the supermarket. The taste is sweeter and more complex than the fruits imported from, usually, South Africa and stored before going on the shelves.

Although most of our homegrown physalis gets eaten as an allotment snack, my ambition is to get enough fruits to make physalis jam, which I've heard a number of people say is their favourite.

I’ve been growing physalis for two to three years now and discovered that in the UK it needs a loo-o-ong season. The plants actually did better in the cool summer of 2012 (when we had a bright warm spring) than the long warm summer of 2013 (when the temperature didn’t get much above freezing until well into April). This year I’ll be sowing the seeds indoors in early March and will keep them cosseted and warm, transplanting into decent-sized pots before they go outside once all the frosts are done. I’ve also got a new raised bed lined up for them – hopefully they will reward me for this five-star treatment by producing some beautiful golden fruits come October time. 

Sown in pots in March and kept at an even 20 degrees temperature
until ready to be hardened off and planted in a sunny sheltered
spot outside.

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