|When to sow||
A 6cm egg shaped dull red coloured fruit related to the tomato which has a unique flavour resembling something like a mixture of grapefruit, tomato, dry red wine and a hint of banana flavours, slightly bitter slightly sweet. It is a crop originating from the Andes and commercially grown. The fruit can be used in salads, for breakfast by cutting in half and scoping out the contents with a spoon, or for jams and preserves. The plant does not tolerate frosts, branches get broken in winds, and it can be prone to aphid attacks. It also likes a lot of water in the Summer time but the abundance of fruit in a sheltered frost free sunny garden are worth growing it. This plant is a perennial shrub/ small tree so if hit by light frosts it will regrow and fruit in one season if the roots are already established and does not get late Spring frosts that hit it again. It can therefore be a cool climate plant.
Sow seeds in a punnet or tray in a heated propagating case at about 16 degrees centigrade in early Spring, when the weather is warming up so that you time the seedlings to grow in stronger sunny conditions when they are germinated, keep moist but not too wet. They may take up to four weeks to germinate. Remember this is a plant that likes warm humid conditions to grow so a cool glasshouse with the doors and vents closed at night in the Spring closed to maximise temps.at night or a very warm position near your house is recommended. When the plant has a strong root system and four leaves transplant into 200mm pots with a 2cm base of gravel and a mixture of potting soil and sheep manure (or equivalent), and a base dressing of COF. They will grow slowly outdoors as sturdy plants but will grow faster but with softer more tender foliage under glass. They are only ready to plant in the garden situation when they are strong stemmed and about 0.5m tall, if grown under glass they must be hardened off by gradually acclimatising them to cooler night time temperatures of the Autumn, under no circumstances must they experience cold shocks, winds or frosts when they are young. They will produce flowers and fruit in the following season in large amounts.
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