One of my new experiments this year is cape gooseberries. This is a follow-on to ground cherries (a very closely related crop) last year, which were delicious, but small. This year I’m growing both, but my crops, while rife with berries, haven’t ripened yet. Tonight I joined a neighborhood walking group as we toured the neighborhood, stopping in at about a half-dozen block parties, all part of National Night Out Against Crime.

I was delighted to find a basket of ripe cape gooseberries at our last stop, and tracked down the neighbor who had brought them to her block party. She confirmed what I had heard earlier from my ground cherry supplier, that the cape gooseberry is a perennial. While mine is new and the fruit aren’t yet ripe, hers is several years old and produces pretty much continually, which is how she ended up with an entire basket of ripe berries before mine are even ripe. I look forward to my new crop this year and to having a continuous crop once it is producing.

It turns out I had visited her home a year ago on a garden tour, and remembered her espaliered apple tree in her front yard. We’re both passionate about growing food and discussed having a harvest festival or something later this year. So, even though I promote growing food as a way to build community, here we were out building community and ended up discussing how to promote growing food. I guess it works both ways!