Surprise in my Compost Bin!

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Solitary plant —

A stray seed took root this spring

In my compost bin.

 

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As I’d go visiting my compost bin over the summer, I noticed at one point that a plant had taken root and was seemingly doing quite well.  It had its share of sun, and I checked that it had enough moisture ie. water.

The leaves and look of the plant puzzled me, so I didn’t know for a while what it would turn into, although I suspected perhaps a flowering plant?

A few days ago, when I went to look again and saw that leaves were starting to wilt with the cooler autumn temperatures, I looked more closely and realized that what I had thought might be that Chinese lantern plant with its papery “flowers” was actually….a ground cherry plant!!

I am relatively new to ground cherries, although ever since I first bought them via a farmer’s market a couple of years ago, I have become an avid eater of them!   Whenever I find some, I will get a pint.  They are usually sold with their delicately light, “papery” covers enveloping them (you can see some in the photo above).  And the ground cherries quickly disappear on my drive back home.  Yes, they are just SO good!!  For nibbling!  Tart and bursting with juice.

I suppose that a stray seed from one ground cherry last year found its way into my compost bin and germinated this season…..?

What a lovely surprise!

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This modest-looking plant produced a good two dozen yummy ground cherries – that clearly was a gift from Mother Nature!

Note:  I just did some quick research.  Ground cherries are classified under the name Physalis plant (in the nightshade family).  And I have learned that there are some connections to the Chinese Lantern (aha!), the tomatillo, and the native gooseberry.  That explains a lot!  I have bought tomatillos from a local organic farmer as well, and just recently I came across another farmstand selling the gooseberries.  Gooseberries share a tartness to the ground cherry but have a little bit more sweetness in them.

 

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