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I've got some Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries fruiting on me, but I don't know when to pick them. I've never planted them before. I've picked a few and they don't taste very good so I'm thinking they're a little early - about a quarter of an inch in diameter. I just don't want to pick them to late.

So my question is, how do you know when they're ready to pick?

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According to Diane's Flower Seeds, you should wait until they fall to the ground to harvest them.

Harvest ground cherries when they fall from the plants. They should be eaten when they are fully ripe and have turned from green to yellow.

  • I can verify this, having grown Aunt Molly's three years in a row. If the plant is stressed, they may still be green when they fall off, but in my experience, those fallen green ones are still sweet and ripe. They shouldn't taste exactly sweet if they're still toxic. Don't pick them, though. Let them fall off. You can pick tomatillos, on the other hand, if they split the husk (but not ground cherries). However, tomatillos can be sweet when you let them fall off, too. If you want something you can pick and don't have to husk, try wonderberries. :) – Shule Oct 26 '17 at 1:32
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I agree with Tim, but it's a royal pain to do so.

We put an old (but clean) eve trough in front of our ground cherries, then cut a slot in a piece of cardboard shaped like this "|\" and fit it around the plant. Then when the ground cherries fall, they roll down the cardboard into the eve trough for simple harvesting!

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Wait until they fall from the plant. You'll want to avoid eating them if they are unripe, because I have read on several forums now that they are toxic until they ripen,and contain solanine, the chemical that makes green potatoes poisonous. My husbands grandpa told him that, too.

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