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In this video and article, I share my process and results of growing ground cherries in an AeroGarden Bounty.
I have a desire to grow a lot of my own fruit and vegetables at home, in spite of living in a small space. I’ve experienced a lot of success with growing sprouts and microgreens. I also grow tomatoes, bok choy, lettuce, herbs, and many other things in my many AeroGardens.
However, one thing I haven’t done much of is growing fruit. Growing greens in an AeroGarden is one thing, but growing fruit seems to be a totally different animal. Because of that, I got excited when I heard about people growing ground cherries (also known as husk cherries, or cape gooseberries) in an AeroGarden.
Here are the results of my experiment with growing ground cherries in an AeroGarden.
Growing Ground Cherries in an AeroGarden
Pro Tip: Before I get into the details of growing ground cherries in an AeroGarden, I wanted to mention the importance of choosing the right type of AeroGarden. Since ground cherry plants are so large, I recommend the following AeroGarden models for large plants such as ground cherries:
Farm models are also fine, but I used a Bounty and it worked great.
I had heard that ground cherries are hard to germinate. In fact, another AeroGarden user told me that it took three months for the ground cherries that she planted in her AeroGarden to germinate! So, I decided to try germinating my ground cherry seeds in a moist paper towel, that I put in a Ziploc bag. Thankfully, that worked, and in about a week, at least some of the ground cherry (cape gooseberry) seeds germinated.
After keeping the husk cherry seeds in a wet paper towel for 15 days, four of the seeds germinated. I put two of the seedlings in two pods. In one of the pods, two ground cherry seedlings began to grow. Unfortunately, in the other pod, at least at the 15-day mark, there was no growth.
By day 22, the largest ground cherry plant was about one-and-a-half inches tall. At this point, I removed the other ground cherry seedling that was growing in the same pod. Unfortunately, there still wasn’t anything happening in the second pod.
I was okay with growing only one plant because ground cherry plants are very large. Due to the size of the plant, I opted to grow this in my AeroGarden, I knew too many husk cherry plants in a single unit would be too much.
Adding Nutrients to Ground Cherries on Day 28
By the 28th day, the ground cherry growth was starting to pick up a bit. At this point, my “add plant food” light came on, so I added three capfuls of the AeroGarden nutrients.
Adding Nutrients to an AeroGarden
Just as a side note let me say that the amount of nutrients that you use in an AeroGarden depends on the specific AeroGarden. In this case, since I was growing the ground cherries in a Bounty, I needed to add three capfuls of the AeroGarden nutrients every 14 days.
Spots and Holes on the Ground Cherry Leaves on Day 35
By around day 35, the ground cherry plant that I had growing in my AeroGarden had really taken off.
Unfortunately, there was a lot of damage on some of the leaves. There were spots, and there were also holes in the leaves.
I shared photos of the leaf damage on my ground cherry plants with some friends that also grow vegetables in AeroGardens. No one knew for sure what caused the damage to the leaves.
I decided to trim off the damaged leaves. I also used a Lysol wipe to wipe down the deck of my AeroGarden, just in case there was any type of fungus or disease that could spread to the rest of the plant. Next, I also added a capful of AeroGarden nutrients, just in case a nutrient deficiency was the cause of the ground cherries not doing well.
By Day 42, the Ground Cherry Plant Recovered!
Thankfully, by day 42, my ground cherry plant had almost completely recovered from whatever was going on. You can see on the leaf at the front right, there was one hole. Also, on the back right, you can see that a leaf was curled. To be on the safe side, I trimmed off both of those damaged leaves.
I also dumped out all of the water, and trimmed the roots, to keep the roots from getting tangled in the pump. Since I started with fresh water, I also added an additional three capfuls of AeroGarden nutrients.
Keeping the Plants in Your AeroGarden Healthy
About once a month, it’s a good idea to completely change out the water in your AeroGarden, before adding fresh nutrients. As the root system of your plant grows, trim the roots and give them a good rinse. This keeps the roots healthy, and keeps them from growing into the pump. I changed out the water on day 28 and day 42. On day 42, I also trimmed the roots since they were starting to get tangled in the pump.
On day 42, I was happy to see the first buds on my ground cherry plant.
AeroGarden Ground Cherries, Day 66
By day 66, the ground cherry plant that I had growing in my AeroGarden Bounty was just loaded with ground cherries! As I looked at the plant closely, I bumped it, and the first ground cherry fell to the “ground.” In this case, the ground was the deck of my AeroGarden.
Keeping My Ground Cherry Plant Alive When I Was Away from Home for 10 Days
When my ground cherry plant was about six months old, I traveled out of state for about 10 days. I wasn’t really sure what to do with it because I was afraid that my AeroGarden would run out of water while I was gone. It’s important not to let an AeroGarden run dry, because that can damage the pump.
AeroGarden sells an “AeroVoir” which adds water to the AeroGarden bowl automatically. Unfortunately, I don’t have one, and since this trip came up suddenly, I didn’t have time to purchase one before I left. There is a vacation mode on my AeroGarden, which could help. Unfortunately, at this point, my ground cherry plant was drinking up so much water, I was afraid that even on vacation mode, the water would run out.
Not knowing what else to do, before I left for my trip, I filled the bowl with water, unplugged my AeroGarden, and hoped for the best.
Thankfully, when I returned home, my ground cherry plant had survived and was doing fine, despite the pump and lights not running.
I consider this experiment with growing ground cherries in an AeroGarden to be a success. My ground cherry plant has now been growing for about seven months and continues to produce ground cherries on a regular basis.
Check out some of my other AeroGarden Articles.