This past week we were able to plant our 2020 Physalis crop here in Ithaca. We planted five types of groundcherry, three types of goldenberry, and one type of tomatillo. These plants were started in the greenhouse back in March (goldenberry) and April (groundcherry and tomatillo), where they were able to get a head start before heading into the field. As a result of this early start, the plants had already reached flowering stage when it came time to move them out to the field. To give the plants time to transition to their new outdoor environment, we first moved the plants outside in their pots for about a week, where we monitored the amount of sunlight they received using a shade cloth to help gradually expose them to the strong sun rays. We also used to this time period to help the plants adjust to the new cooler temperatures, as they had become accustomed to the tropical environment of the greenhouse.
One week after moving the plants outside, we were able to transplant the Physalis into their final home in the ground (see above). Our planting site consists of sandy well drained soil covered in rows of black plastic mulch. The black plastic mulch helps prevent weeds, keeps the soil warm, and helps retain moisture. For our initial planting we chose to use bamboo stakes to support the plants until they are large enough for t-stake trellising- at the time of planting the goldenberry plants were only about two feet tall but we expect them to eventually reach six feet tall by late summer!
We are looking forward to another growing season, and are excited to see our plants grow throughout the season! We are keeping our eyes peeled for insect visitors ( the three-line potato beetle pest (below) showed up mere hours after planting..) and look forward to hearing what insects you observe on your Physalis plants.