Physalis pruinosa (Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry).Fruit collecting device. 16 July 2012 Physalis pruinosa (Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry).Fruit collecting device.
Physalis pruinosa (Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry) was first grown in 2007. About a bushel of fruit was collected with tenacious difficulty.Succeeding years production was marginal due to inclement weather. This year portends a most productive crop.Not looking forward to collecting the fruit has been preying on my mind. It was decided to make a practical efficient collection device.The problems collecting the fruit are: intensive (slave) labour is required, the plant vegetation has to be moved to locate the fruit which damages and inhibits the vegetative growth, fruit is often immersed in mud.This plant produces fruit until a killing frost arrives.To address and overcome the difficulties, a practical collection device was devised.

The device was made using scrap pieces of lumber from my supply, fibre glass screening, since it is strong and easy to work with, and a few hand tools. Obviously the device is best inserted under the plant when small, but there was no difficulty inserting at this stage of growth.A few measurements determined that the main stalks were about a foot in diameter and space was incorporated to accommodate.The plant spreads about five feet in diameter, so the device was made five feet square. The ridged edges of the device prevent the berries from rolling off when the device is removed at harvest. The screening allows rainwater to pass through.Using such a device, commercial production is practical, since labour necessary is reduced many fold. Note: A similar device is practical for collecting the berries of the fruiting mulberry bush.

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