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Video: Growing Strawberry And Peruvian Physalis
This sweet physalis
Berry Physalis Harvest
In the 80s of the last century, seeds of edible physalis first appeared in our sale. Physalis is a plant from the Solanaceae family that came to us from South America. Gardeners were already familiar with the beautiful orange lanterns of the garden decorative physalis, but in fact for the first time they learned that there is also an edible physalis that produces fruits - berries hidden in a case.
Edible physalis can be vegetable, sometimes it is berry. All gardeners tried to grow these novelties in their beds in order to appreciate the merits of this curiosity themselves.
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They were especially active in growing vegetable physalis (Physalis philadelphica) - a plant native to Mexico, for which it is also called the Mexican tomato. Forms quite large fruits, simple cultivation techniques. Our magazine recently wrote about it (see "Physalis - growing in the garden and application" →).
However, very quickly, most gardeners abandoned it. Despite the simplicity of cultivation and good yield: in its raw form, it is tasteless and unscented, compared to our favorite tomatoes; jam and compotes made from it are too sweet, and in the marinade our cucumbers are tastier. And the gardeners, having satisfied their curiosity, lost interest in it. Although in every publication dedicated to this culture, they must write that it deserves to be cultivated in our beds.
Because it is extremely useful, besides, it is the only vegetable with gelling properties. I once made wonderful gummies out of it. Now our breeders have obtained many excellent varieties of vegetable physalis. They are fruitful, cold-resistant, do not get sick. The seeds are always on sale.
The second type of edible physalis is the South American berry physalis. They are inferior to the vegetable species in terms of yield, but they have an exquisite taste and aroma. However, they require more heat. The seeds of this physalis germinate at a temperature not lower than + 20 ° C.
In the conditions of our region, you can grow two varieties of berry physalis: raisin physalis, it is also strawberry (Physalis pubescens), and Peruvian physalis (Physalis peruviana). I give the Latin names on purpose, because on the bags with seeds of both types, they usually write the same "raisin physalis" or "strawberry". And only on the reverse side of the bag with seeds the Latin name is given in small print. In practice, it turns out later that these two species are different.
Berry physalis strawberry, or raisin
This type of physalis is called so for the pleasant aroma of its small sweet fruits and berries. The plant is an annual, undersized (30-35 cm) or medium-sized (50-70 cm), strongly branched with creeping or semi-raised branches. Leaves and stems are heavily pubescent. Unlike Mexican, strawberry physalis is self-pollinating. This is a short day plant.
With a long daylight hours, its growing season is delayed. The yield is 0.3-0.5 kg per plant. This physalis gives amber juicy fruits weighing 2-4 g, rather sweet, with a slight sourness, taste and light smell of pineapple or strawberry. Unlike the Mexican, the berries do not have a sticky coating. Therefore, they can be eaten directly from the bush by removing the cap. The species is distinguished by its unpretentious cultivation, early ripening, and a long storage period for the harvested crop.
The fruits of strawberry physalis are eaten fresh, used to make jams, marmalades, jam, jelly, compotes, candied fruits, etc. Oven dried strawberry physalis resembles raisins, hence one of its names "raisin". Even if it is not specially dried, it becomes a raisin after long-term storage in the kitchen.
I tried to grow in my garden strawberry physalis varieties of our VIR - Raisin and Strawberry, as well as varieties that came from England and Germany, but neither the taste nor the aroma of the berries obtained satisfied me. Among all the tried varieties, I consider our domestic variety Surprise the most delicious. This is a mid-season variety: it takes 120 days from germination to full maturation. A good harvest of this type of physalis can only be obtained in a greenhouse, if grown through seedlings.
The recommended seedling age is 35-45 days.
At the end of March, I sow seeds for seedlings, just like tomatoes. They sprout in a week. On cloudy days, the seedlings have to be illuminated, because they tend to stretch out, like their nightshade cousins - tomatoes. At the stage of the first true leaf, the seedlings dive into cups with a volume of at least 150 ml. When diving, the seedlings should be buried almost to the cotyledons, not reaching them about 1-2 mm.
When the threat of frost passes and the soil warms up to + 10 … + 12 ° C, I plant the seedlings in a garden bed, over which I put arcs, cover them with lutrasil, because the seedlings are afraid of frost. Often, by this time, the plants are already blooming with small pale yellow flowers with dark spots in the center. I leave a distance of 30 cm between the bushes. This is enough. For the first time, I planted a couple of plants for comparison in a greenhouse.
Despite the warm weather, the bushes grow slowly. However, it only seems so. They just have very short internodes. Small velvet leaves appear one after another, and in each internode a flower is formed, then a cap, in which a small berry is hidden.
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Minimal care is needed. This physalis does not need bees, it is a self-pollinating plant. You can rarely water it, it is drought-resistant. It is useful to weed and loosen the soil, while the plants need to be huddled a little - that's all. If the leaves of the plant are pale, you need to feed it. It is not necessary to support the bushes, to form and cut off stepchildren is also not necessary. They don't get sick. Just a busy gardener's dream.
The fruits ripen at different times, starting from the lowest ones. A ripe fruit is when the berry turns bright yellow or orange, and the "lanterns" turn yellow and brown. Ripe berries are falling from the bush. You should try to collect them right there, because slugs and ants show interest in them. Unripe berries often fall off. They need to be kept warm for 10-15 days, and they will ripen. In the greenhouse, the yield is, of course, significantly higher. And the berries are larger. For example, if on the street the berries ripened weighing 2-4 g, then in the greenhouse - 3-6 g.
The whole crop must be harvested before frost, because physalis cannot stand them at all. At home, fruits can last for 4-5 months. Over time, they dry out and become sweet raisins. You don't have to wait for raisins, but cook a very beautiful sweet jam.
Berries contain a lot of pectin, so they are healthy. If you eat 12 berries a day, your metabolism will soon improve. They are useful for cholecystitis and stomach cramps, and have a diuretic effect. They are recommended to be taken for hypertension, rheumatism. A decoction is prepared from dried berries - 20 berries per half a liter of boiling water. They drink it for gout, rheumatism.
In recent years, I have not sowed strawberry physalis for seedlings. It now actively reproduces by self-seeding. Every year I pull out excess plants in the greenhouse. They also grow on the compost heap and on all the beds where I put the compost. The harvest from each bush is small, but in total it turns out enough to eat plenty of ripe berries.
Berry Physalis Peruvian
The homeland of this type of physalis is Peru, as its name suggests. This is a very thermophilic and light-loving species, therefore it is rarely grown in household plots and only in greenhouses. Under the film shelter, the height of some varieties of Peruvian physalis reaches 2.5 meters. From one square meter, you can collect from 0.4 to 1 kg of its fruits. Fruits can reach a weight of 3-9 g. The low yield of Peruvian physalis is compensated by the high nutritional value of its fruits, which contain many vitamins, trace elements and pectins.
The fruits of this species are distinguished by bright or brown-orange juicy pulp, which in taste and smell resembles a mixture of wild strawberries with pineapple. Unripe fruits can be ripened, but fruits ripened on a bush have the best taste. The keeping quality of Peruvian physalis fruits is low, so they are harvested in dry weather and make sure that their covers dry out. Berries of Peruvian physalis are consumed fresh, they are used to prepare jams, jams, compotes.
Once at an exhibition of Finnish vegetable products, among all the beautiful greenery, I saw a pile of bright gold-filled fruits the size of a small hazelnut. They exuded a divine aroma - a mixture of wild strawberries with pineapple, incomparably stronger than the aroma of strawberry physalis. The Finns explained to me that it was Peruvian Physalis. They were allowed to sniff, but not to try or take a berry for seeds. Peruvian Physalis has become my dream.
And now I was lucky: in one of the newly opened hypermarkets, I found among all the overseas fruits a small box filled with the familiar orange-gold shiny berries in flashlight cases. The scent cannot be described with a pen. Yes, these are my friends from the Finnish exhibition! The high cost did not stop me, but I extracted seeds from the fruits - very tasty, sweet and sour. Sowed them on the last day of March. She also sowed Peruvian physalis seeds purchased from a seed shop. After 10 days, both of them ascended together, soon opened the cotyledons and released leaves with strong pubescence. And here it became clear that the purchased seeds and those extracted from the berries are one and the same plant, i.e. physalis peruvian.
It is more thermophilic and less early maturing than raisin physalis. It is also called Brazilian physalis, Colombian fish soup, Venezuelan topano - depending on the place of cultivation.
At the end of April, cups with seedlings, where there were the strongest plants, covered with buds, were taken to the greenhouse for hardening. The frost that happened one night killed them. So they are frost-resistant. We must take this into account in the future. Several weaker plants, which at one time were not taken to the greenhouse and were in the house during freezing, had to be used for further cultivation.
In early June, when the ground in the greenhouse warmed up, I planted them in the greenhouse. They immediately began to grow vigorously, each new leaf becoming larger than the previous one. The leaves are dark green, velvety, beautiful, shaped like hearts. I only had time to feed them - the same as tomatoes - and water them. In hot weather, the leaves withered, it was necessary to water intensively, abundantly.
Plants branched, a pale yellow flower with a dark "eye" appeared in each fork. The more branches, the more flowers. Flowers of this physalis are self-pollinating, but they did not set fruit. They turned out, like strawberry varieties, to be short-day plants.
Until the white nights passed, and the day was not shortened by a couple of hours, flowers rained down on the ground. And only in the middle of August the first light green lanterns were lit on the plant. By September, each plant had turned into a tree almost two meters in height with a lush crown, occupying an area of more than one and a half square meters in the greenhouse. And not a single ripe fruit. All the tops of the plant had to be pinched so that it threw strength into ripening the fruits.
However, in places where it was pinched, new velvet stems and leaves were trying to grow with great force, which had to be cut off constantly. Rarely is such power found in plants. On the stem, up to the first fork, stepchildren grew vigorously, which I regularly removed.
On cold nights, which were plentiful in summer, the fruits did not grow. But in late September - early October, when the nights became warmer, the fruits suddenly began to ripen: their covers turned yellow, the berries inside acquired a bright orange color, a characteristic aroma appeared. The lanterns gleamed beautifully in the sun, it was a pity to rip them off, but in vain. Because soon the covers turned brown, and the fruit cracked. Henceforth, I did not overexpose them on the bush, and they remained intact.
It was possible to remove about twenty ripe fruits from each bush. Moreover, it turned out that the fruits inside the green caps, which barely began to brighten, also ripened. The fruits were weighed, their weight was 6-10 grams.
And one more interesting observation. The stalks of the Peruvian physalis are very fragile. One branch with green fruits and flowers broke, I had to put it in a bucket of water outside. After a month and a half of life in a bucket, the fruits on the branch are fully ripe, have become fragrant and of normal taste, only slightly smaller than those grown in the greenhouse. So there is something to think about. And it is also interesting that on the leaves even at the end of October there was not a single speck from any disease, not a single pest became interested in the plant. I will try to dry the leaves and make some tincture or powder from them for the next year to combat pests and diseases of other plants.
Thus, the fruits of Peruvian physalis in the conditions of our region can be brought to a completely edible species, but its bushes take up too much expensive greenhouse space. Therefore, the feasibility of growing this type of physalis is questionable. I think it might suit those who have a large spacious greenhouse. That is why when buying seeds, you need to pay attention to the Latin name, which is always given only on the back of the bag in small print.
Both physalis, both strawberry and Peruvian, can be used for compotes, jams, and all sorts of sweets can be made of them - this is in warm regions, where it is grown in large quantities. However, in our country, where these berries do not give such a big harvest, it is a sin to let them be processed. All these physalis delicacies are spoilage of a valuable product. Because they can be stored for a long time without any thermal processing, while retaining their vitamins. Hence, they are especially useful raw, even in the form of raisins.
We rarely get to raisins. But on New Year's Eve, there is always a vase with golden fragrant berries on the festive table.
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