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Ground Cherry seed saving: has anybody tried dehydrating the whole fruit?  RSS feed

 
gardener
Posts: 2012
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Wild ground cherries grow well around here along the roadsides and (in one case) in my orchard area. But last winter just to be sure I ordered some Aunt Molly's seed and got a packet with just 10 of those tiny tiny seeds in it. What with me being an infamous seedling murderer, I wound up with one healthy plant in a big pot that is fruiting well.

I know that ground cherries reseed themselves well from dropped fruit, but I want to save some seed (from the wild and from the Aunt Molly's) for sharing and planting in new locations. I've already got about 100 seeds that I did in the traditional tomato way, fermenting the pulp and then drying out the seed. I found this to be ridiculously labor-intensive when dealing with those miniscule ground cherry seeds, which probably explains why the packet I bought only had 10 seeds in it.

My notion is that if I just pop some whole fruit in the dehydrator, they will dry up like little raisins that I can probably just plant directly (much easier to deal with than those fly-speck seeds). Does anybody have any experience with doing this? Is there any problem with spoilage or subsequent germination?

I am also curious whether they will dry best after being removed from their husks or left in the husk, but that I can determine by experiment a lot more quickly.

Anybody got any experience drying ground cherries as a seed source?
 
Posts: 184
Location: Zone 4 MN USA
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Yep I did that one year, they take awhile unless you puncture the skins. I took the husk off, not sure it matters but then it's in essence a raisin.
Delicious, and the seeds should be fine as long as you don't overheat them.
Honestly though just take a fresh ground cherry, smush it up in some water, swirl and sift the pulp off, wash 3 x and dry the seeds until no moisture is left. They don't have the tomato "coating" that requires fermentation. Plant one tiny seed at a time though, sometime I get a whole cherry germinate and it's hard to sort the seedlings apart without damaging them.
Also for permiculture, just smush a few in a slurry and spray them around the garden, you'll have plenty just show up once the soil warms up enough.
 
Dan Boone
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Posts: 2012
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Thanks! Dealing with those tiny seeds just about drove me nuts! I figure I can halve or quarter the "raisins" to get more planting units and limit my thinning problem.
 
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