Ground Cherry, Otto’s Brush Creek (Organic)

Physalis pubescens.

This is one of our favorite things to snack on while walking through the garden. Little, golden, husked fruit look like tiny tomatillos but have a deliciously fruity tropical flavor. Some compare them to peaches, others to pineapple. We have been told that you can make a delicious preserve out of them. We simply wait for fruit to fall off the plant when we’re sure they are ripe and eat them. Ground cherries have a long history in the garden and we found this strain growing semi-wild in our backyard, one of many interesting things that came along with the property when we moved here in 2009 (a list that also includes our beloved cat Meowstein, a 1930s dump truck in the creek, an opossum hide in the barn, and some awesome wallpaper in the kitchen). We suspect it’s been here for decades, as the farm’s previous owner, Otto Shockey, was an avid gardener. Every year a few plants pop up and take care of themselves. If you like a little wild character in your garden, these are perfect to have self-perpetuating alongside the other feral crops (we’re looking at you, burdock).


In stock


In stock


In stock

Geographical Origin


Sow indoors in flats in April. Keep warm and well-watered. Transplant seedlings into 4” pots when they have their first two true leaves. Transplant into the garden after danger of frost has passed, typically mid-May in western Oregon. Will self-seed.

Seed Saving

Collect seeds from ripe fruit that have fallen from the plant. In a container with some water, smash with hands or food processor. Seeds will sink; add water to decant pulp until seeds are clean. Strain and dry in an airy location.

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2 reviews

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What others are saying

  1. Emma

    Excited for these! (8b – Camas, WA)


    Where did you grow this variety? Washington

    The plants are growing great. I am excited to try them. I have them in a big grow bag.

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  2. Jessica Engelman

    Highly productive

    Jessica Engelman (verified owner)

    Where did you grow this variety? Washington

    I grew these seeds in the maritime climate of Aberdeen, WA during summer of 2022. A single plant was grown in a 10 gallon grow bag (although 7 gallons probably would have sufficed). Fruits began forming in early August and the first harvest was later that month (although for the first week or so they had a pretty bland flavor). Harvest began to peak around the 2nd week of September, and continued through October. Note that the summer of 2022 was about one month late both to start and to finish; on other years and in warmer climates than maritime Aberdeen they might start producing earlier. The single plant I grew was surprisingly prolific, certainly enough to keep two people satisfied. The fruits keep well on a countertop for days if not weeks (just sort through them occasionally for any that might have split or been squished as they will spoil the others!) I believe you could make jam from even a single plant if you save the fruits for 1-3 weeks. They do sprawl outward like a very stout umbrella, so be thoughtful when spacing. Very easy plant once it’s established; most of the labor goes into scanning the ground underneath every day for fallen fruits (I like to give the plant a gentle shake as often the fruits will detach from the plant but get stuck in the leaves or branches). Good flavor, less sweet than most domesticated fruits (they taste more like tomatoes than cherries) but still quite fun to munch on as a healthy substitute for chips or other snacks. Highly recommended for balcony and container gardeners who want to grow fruit/something sweet but don’t have the space or time for larger perennial fruiting plants that require deep soil and/or years to establish.

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