Garden Huckleberry

80-90 days. Garden Huckleberries (Solanum melanocerasum) are not to be confused with true Huckleberries (Vaccinium spp., Gaylussacia spp.), which grow on shrubs. The annual Garden Huckleberry is native to Africa. Closely related to Tomatoes and Ground Cherries, it is grown similarly, but produces 1/2” to 3/4”, deep purple-black berries that won’t impress when eaten fresh, but when cooked and sweetened as one would Rhubarb, will remind you of blueberries or Concorde grapes! The upside to the unsavory taste of the fresh berries is that birds and other wildlife don’t like them, either. The antioxidant-rich berries should only be picked after their shiny sheen has dulled and they begin to soften. Any earlier they are unripe and slightly toxic, and may upset the stomach. They hold well on the plant, so there’s no rush to harvest. Turn the ripe berries into pies, syrups, jams and sauces, or freeze them for winter treats months later. Delicious! The drought-tolerant plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall and prefer partial shade and moderately fertile soil, but otherwise need little coddling and may reseed. Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before transplanting them out into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. (OP.)

One packet of about 100 seeds

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