Our sole remaining hope for our physalis or cape gooseberry began ripening its fruit about 3 weeks ago.
The other runner for best physalis got severely rampant and as a result did not produce many fruits. It also got attacked by woodlice as it was inside in our porch. The little woodlice just ate of each flower as it developed and unfortunately it took us a while to realise what was happening. Fruit plants that are in greenhouses or porches seem to be most affected by these fellas. Also, the fact that they are in pots seems to confound the issue as well. But I’ve had a suggestion as to how to prevent this in the future. Rubbing Vaseline on the stem should prevent the little guys venturing beyond and into the flowering region. I will certainly try this next year although I have not been able to completely decide whether this would be organic or not….It’ll be good enough I think. We did very little with the successful plant except leave it in a sunny place and allow the copious amounts of rain that we have had this year to water it.
The fruits are nearly ripe when the little lantern packaging looks sort of dried up and crispy. It changes from green to beige.
I have read that you should wait for the fruit to drop off in order to ensure that they are at perfect ripeness but there is no way that we have the patience for this.
Here is Chris marvelling at the wondrous fruit that I thought would never produce fruit. As it turns out it is pretty easy to grow these and you should expect a reasonable fruit as long as you keep it stressed to a degree. Chris brought out a cape gooseberry plant to the farm where he volunteers and Jim promptly put it in the ground in a polytunnel. Again, this was just too easy for the plant and so it just got massive without doing much fruit. Chris is now experimenting with taking cuttings from this plant and I’ll let you know how he gets on.
Here is the finished product once the handy wrapping is peeled back….all lovely and yellow and soft.
Unfortunately some of the fruits have split while still on the plant. I’m not too sure why this is but it may have something to do with getting too much rain in a sudden burst. We still ate most of these ones and they were still nice although a few had started to go mouldy. So in some ways it might pay to take them off a little early so you can be monitoring the situation. Overall I would HIGHLY recommend these fruits as being easy to grow, very suitable for planting in containers and for small areas. They don’t seem to require much heat but do need to be taken indoors during the winter to ensure they survive another season. Have a go!