How to Grow Ground Cherries
This plant produces a small, yellow, edible berry surrounded by a papery husk. It is also known as ground cherry, dwarf cape gooseberry, and strawberry tomato. On each plant, ground cherries typically yield hundreds of fruits.
When and How to Start Indoors The best way to start ground cherry plants is to cover them and plant them out. Six to eight weeks before the last frost, plant seeds indoors. Seeds should be planted one-fourth of an inch deep.
When to Transplant Plant outdoors two to four weeks after your last anticipated frost for germination to occur. Before planting outdoors, ensure that the seedlings have hardened off. Plants thrive in sunny locations and in warm, rich soil.
Requirements for Spacing When transplanting plants into the garden, space them at least two feet apart. Similar to tomatillos, ground cherries have a sprawling growth habit. Make certain to give establishes a lot of room in the nursery.
Special considerations: If you have previously grown ground cherries, you may not even need to plant them again because they frequently volunteer in the garden. Because this crop is a heavy feeder and takes a lot of nutrients from the soil, make sure your soil is well-fed.
Pests and diseases that are common Ground cherries are immune to most bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases. However, ground cherry leaf beetles, flea beetles, whiteflies, and mites occasionally cause damage to plants. If these pests are particularly prevalent in your garden, water plants frequently and cover them with floating row covers.
When and How to Harvest The fruits cannot be eaten until they are fully ripe. Fruits drop from the plants when they reach maturity, and their husks turn dry and papery. After they have fallen, mature fruits should be taken from the ground. The husk is unappetizing and should be eliminated.
Consuming Ground Cherries: These cherries can be eaten raw, made into jam, or baked into pies. Preserves, sauces, and tarts benefit from their distinctive sweet-tart flavor.
Storage Rough ground cherries have a longer shelf life than many fleshy fruits and can be stored for several weeks for both consumption and seed storage.
How to Save Ground Cherry Seeds Because ground cherries typically yield hundreds of fruits from a single plant, you only need to plant one ground cherry plant to obtain viable seeds.
Life Cycle Annual Recommended Isolation Distance When saving ground cherry seeds, divide the varieties by 300 to 1,600 feet.