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let's Discuss Tomatillos

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let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  mijejo on 7/1/2011, 11:50 am

There was interest about this plant on another thread. I thought it might be a good idea to give tomatillos their own thread to see if we get more input from the members.

I will start.

I am a new gardener to SFG, or any other method.
I bought a tomatillo because it was on sale. After researching, I discovered - although not everyone agrees with this theory - that tomatillos are not self-pollinating. To be safe, a bought several more.
I planted them one per square in the same bed.
Unlike my tomatoes, they are skinny and lanky with one stem which branches into several limbs near the top. They appear happy and healthy.
Does this sound right to you? How are yours growing? What successes/concerns/failures have you experienced?

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  GreenBlueberry on 7/1/2011, 9:00 pm

They like heat. Mine were growing slowly, and didn't check them during one hot weekend and BOOM, they were monsters shading every thing else. Same for the fruit. Mine had been flowering from the start but no fruit. Now that it is much warmer, I'm seeing more "lanterns" but still not much production. This is the first year I planted so I'll see how it goes by the end of the season.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  milaneyjane on 7/1/2011, 9:24 pm

I have 5 tomatillo planted in a block in my row garden (was worried about reseeding after a lot of online research)with black weed fabric underneath. We have had an unseasonably cold summer and my plants are about two feet tall on a single stem and still completely upright with several yellow flowers. I am planning to stake them tomorrow.

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Let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  sherryeo on 7/1/2011, 10:36 pm

Some of the older forum members may remember my sad tomatillo tale, so I apologize for repeating the story yet again. I grew tomatillos last summer in my last row garden. They easily grew to be 6 feet tall and sprawled probably more than 6 feet in circumference. I won't put them in my sfg because, at least in my experience, they grow so big. Perhaps there are smaller varieties that might not overtake a whole 4X4 bed or perhaps they might not grow that big in other regions, I'm not sure.

My tomatillos were absolutely loaded with fruit and I was in eager anticipation of a bumper harvest. I was searching for recipes to use all of these wonderful tomatillos. Until the stink bugs and leaffooted bugs killed off my tomato plants and I pulled the spent plants up. The stink bugs and leaffooted bugs then went after my tomatillos. They completely devastated them and I didn't even get enough for one single batch of salsa. I suspect that other areas of the country wouldn't have the insect problem with them that I experienced, though.

I'd like to try them again sometime, but it wouldn't be in my sfg due to the size they grow here.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  elliephant on 7/1/2011, 11:06 pm

My had a terrible time setting fruit. I had a total of 4, with 3 of them in the same bed, so it wasn't the self-pollination issue. Plenty of heat and I watered every day. I think I got a total of 6 that grew instead of just falling off. I ended up pulling them up as we are moving next month. I'm not sure if I'll try them again as I am planning on having fewer beds at our new house...and I can always get them at the stores down here.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  FamilyGardening on 7/2/2011, 1:38 am

im trying to figure out is this is a tamotillo or a ground cherry or either ??

we bought two of these plants when they were tiny babies from our local school plant sale .....the little stick said it was a ground cherry.....

can you all let me know what you think Very Happy



here is its flower


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rose

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Is a ground cherry the same as a tomatillo?

Post  mijejo on 7/2/2011, 5:31 am

Your plant looks like what I have. Well, at least the leaves and flowers are the same. My plants are lanky. They came that way. However, they are branched at the top and are becoming full at two or so feet.

The following article indicates that tomatillos and ground cherries are the same plant. Let's see if others agree.

By the way, I have heard/read that tomatillos fall when they are truly ready to be harvested. Furthermore, the green ones often seen at the grocery store are not completely ripe. At that stage, they are great for salsa. However, if you allow them to ripen, they become red, sweet, and can be eaten like an apple.

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Article on Tomatillos

Post  mijejo on 7/2/2011, 5:34 am






























Tomatillo
Plant of the Week
By: Elizabeth Noll


|
Next time you’re at the supermarket, pick up a tomatillo (toe-mah-TEE-yo). Sniff: It smells like a spicy apple. Feel: It’s got a pretty, papery husk that’s most likely split but attached at the top, like a cloak. The satiny, plump, round fruit peeking through the husk is just right for cooking if it’s clear light green. Taste: Take a few tomatillos home and use them in your favorite salsa or guacamole, or roast them with garlic to use in green chile.

Tomatillos are not little tomatoes—they’re a different fruit altogether, and a staple in Mexican and Central American cooking. They’re also easy to add to your vegetable garden. They’re tolerant of a little bit of shade and a lot of heat; you might find they’re even easier to grow than tomatoes.
Common name: Tomatillo, ground cherry
Botanical name: Physalis philadelphica (also P. ixocarpa)
Plant type: Typically grown as annual
Zones: Annual
Height: 2½ to 5 feet
Family: Solanaceae
Growing conditions
• Sun:
Full sun to part shade
• Soil: Average, well-drained
• Moisture: Medium
Care
• Mulch: Mulch to preserve moisture and prevent weeds.
• Pruning: None needed.
• Fertilizer: Add an inch of compost or some liquid fertilizer once or twice in a season.
Propagation
• By seed
Pests and diseases
• Caterpillars may cause some damage.
• Vulnerable to rust and leaf spot.
Garden notes
• Grow tomatillos as you would tomatoes. Cages help contain these bushy, spreading plants.
• Most tomatillos for the garden are not self-fertile, so plant at least two plants.
• Use tomatillos in salsas, curries, stews, or sauces.
• Harvest tomatillos when the papery husks start to split. If you’re growing a variety with green fruit, be sure to harvest while they’re still bright green. Once they turn yellow, they’re past their prime.
• Like many other members of the nightshade family, the tomatillo has poisonous leaves and stems. The only part of the plant that’s edible is the fruit.
Cultivars
• ‘Toma Verde’: light green fruits; a very common variety.
• ‘Purple De Milpa’: deep purple fruits.
• ‘Cisineros’: very large, apple green fruits.
All in the family
• Tomatillos are in the same family as tomatoes (Solanaceae), but they’re in a different genus. The two fruits share many characteristics, and it’s believed that they were both domesticated in Central America during pre-Columbian times.
• The word “tomato” comes from the Nahuatl word “tomatl.” Nahuatl was the language of the Aztecs.
• Other members of the Solanaceae family include edible plants—pepper, potato, and eggplant—and popular garden flowers like brugmansia, datura, and petunia. The family also contains Nicotiana, the genus that contains cultivated tobacco plants as well as annual species grown for their fragrant flowers.
(Text by Elizabeth Noll, photo of ‘Toma Verde’ tomatillo courtesy of Tomato Growers Supply Co.)

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  mijejo on 7/2/2011, 6:16 am

@mijejo wrote:However, if you allow them to ripen, they become red, sweet, and can be eaten like an apple.

Oops! I should have said they become yellow (not red) when they are fully ripe.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  Aub on 7/6/2011, 11:33 pm

I have 1 tomatillo plant. It is growing like crazy and has some papery lantern looking things hanging off it. My question is will the fruit fill in the paper lantern? It doesn't really have much inside it. Just a little nub of a fruit.


Last edited by Aub on 7/6/2011, 11:33 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  westie42 on 7/7/2011, 2:08 am

Thats the way mine always goes. It continues to fill out and enlarge the lantern size. If left to mature at some point they will start to fall off the vines. Thats fine just use them quickly at that point because they will spoil rapidly on the ground and you will have a million volunteers next season which will likely start too late for much of a useful harvest. Since you have only one plant and they do not self pollinate lets hope another one is close enough by to provide the pollinations. That mite be key in your pods filling out from this point on not sure about that. I grow 2 side by side just to make sure of sufficient pollination. There could now be some special self pollinators developed but I am unfamiliar with them if so. They may be in the same family as ground cherries but so are greyhounds and pit bulls in the same family. Size, taste and plant form are quite different ground cherries would be like marbles and tomatillos are like golf balls in size.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  Roseinarosecity on 8/1/2012, 3:44 pm

If I pluck out some of the tomatillo 'lanterns' in my large tomatillo plants, will the remaining tomatillos get bigger? I have two in the ground and two in my SFG.

Maybe someone who grew these last year could tell me their experience.

So far I have harvested three when I noticed they were coming out of their husk, yet the plants are full of little 'lanterns' and flowers.

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Let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  junequilt on 8/1/2012, 4:56 pm

I've grown tomatillos several times and had bumper harvests. However, I did notice that it took rather a long time for fruit to appear. It's like they try, and try, and try again, and finally when they get the pollination thing going, you can't stop them.

Do have to add, however, that we have a very long growing season where I live (South Carolina), and that may help their production.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  Roseinarosecity on 8/1/2012, 5:52 pm

Your response helped me do more research and it turns out that the tomatillo season in California is also long.

http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/7246.pdf

My season in the San Gabriel Valley could last until November! Nothing was mentioned about about removing the small lanterns. So I won't try it. I will continue to side-dress with my own compost.

Thanks!

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  CapeCoddess on 5/5/2013, 1:39 pm

My tomatillo seedling has balls in the middle of them. Will these be the flowers? They seem too small to have flowers, about 5" tall, and won't be planted outside til end of May when the maters go out.


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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  donnainzone5 on 5/5/2013, 1:53 pm

Yes, those look like incipient flower buds. Can anyone chime in as to whether they should be pinched?

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  mollyhespra on 5/10/2013, 4:12 pm

I'm curious about this, too. I have two seedlings (one of which I was going to give away) until I read you need two plants for pollination. My seedlings don't have anything resembling a flower bud yet, but it may not be long.

Can anyone confirm the pollination/flower bud issue?

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  donnainzone5 on 5/10/2013, 4:30 pm

I've had small tomatillos from one plant only, so I don't know whether one needs another plant for pollination.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  jmsieglaff on 5/10/2013, 10:19 pm

I've always grown two, but a guy I work with tried one plant and got very few fruits. He now grows two and gets tons. We harvested about 20# from two plants last year.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  Turan on 5/10/2013, 10:58 pm

My experience was that with 1 plant I had very few fruits and with 2 plants an over abundance. Tomatillos are classified as highly self-incompatible, and two or more plants are needed for proper pollination. The plants can be the same variety or not or even other ground cherries.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  llama momma on 5/11/2013, 4:01 am

I had ground cherries last year. The 'aunt molly' variety was extremely prolific by itself in a sfg bed 12 inches deep. There were 2 more aunt molly's in pots next to each other 120 feet from the bed-planted one. All 3had the same amount of sun. The two in pots didn't mature vigorously or produce much fruit. Maybe last year's extreme heat affected the potted ones, and maybe ground cherries are not agreeable to a potted environment.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/11/2013, 10:45 am

I'm hoping for high yields from my ground cherries! I want to put my pressure cooker through the ringer this fall Very Happy



I've got 7 plants that seem to be doing great so far What a Face

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  llama momma on 5/11/2013, 11:03 am

Just wait till you give them space in a bed, they should explode with growth. It was fun to watch last year. Keep them watered. Even in extreme heat if they could talk it was like -- Bring It On Baby! Although I did give them shade when it stayed in the 90's and 100's.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  mollyhespra on 5/12/2013, 9:53 am

OK! So I guess I'll go ahead & plant both of my seedlings & just share the bounty with the friend who was going to get the other seedling.

It seems that the variety I have (purple tomatillo) can get pretty bushy @ >4' tall by 4' wide, so I'm thinking of putting them in the ground so as to not use up that much real estate in my raised beds.

BUT, I've still got about 4 weeks before they get planted outside. Should those lil' flower buds be pinched? Wouldn't pinching encourage even more bushiness at too early a stage?

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/12/2013, 10:12 am

Wouldn't pinching encourage even more bushiness at too early a stage?

I'm not sure :drunken: This is my first experience with the tomatillo. I can't wait to see your purple fruits though!

@CapeCoddess wrote:My tomatillo seedling has balls in the middle of them. Will these be the flowers? They seem too small to have flowers, about 5" tall, and won't be planted outside til end of May when the maters go out.


CC

I've got the same on my ground cherry plants. I could be wrong, but I think they are new leaves/branches not flower buds. I've watched mine over the past several days, and new leaves seem to open from those buds:



Do you have any new development CC? I would like to know if anything new has come from your buds.

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Re: let's Discuss Tomatillos

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