Start ground cherry seeds inside around 4/1. Ideal temperature for germination is 85 degrees; (use a heating mat). Days to germination: 5-14. Once leaves appear, grow plants at 72°. Plant seedlings outside late May into fertile garden soil, 18” apart. Stake plants if space is limited. Ground cherries may be susceptible to fungal diseases so practice crop rotation if you have the space - plant ground cherry plants in a spot that has not had any Solanaceae crops (tomato, peppers, eggplant, potatoes) growing there for 4 years.
Ground cherries can be harvested when the papery husk turns from green to tan, the fruit inside turns to golden yellow and the fruit falls off the plant. Fruits store for extended periods with husk left on.
Ground cherries are relatively easy seed-saving crops. They are primarily self-pollinated but may be crossed pollinated by insects when different varieties of ground cherries are planted next to one another. For genetic preservation, ½ mile isolation is ideal. It is best, but not totally necessary, to collect seeds from 6 or more plants. Smash or blend fruit and decant with water to remove pulp. Rinse and dry seeds on a screen.