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Growing Tomatillo

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S   P              

(Best months for growing Tomatillo in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 70°F and 81°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 28 inches apart
  • Harvest in 10-14 weeks. Husk splits when fruit is ripe..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Will happily grow in a flower border
  • Tomatillo Plant (CC BY-SA 3.0 WikiMedia)
  • Young tomatillo

NB Tomatillos are not self-fertile so you need to have at least two plants for cross-pollination. Tomatillos are from the same family as Cape Gooseberries, with a papery husk round the fruit.

Tomatillo plants are similar in growth to tomatoes and spread about 1 -1.5m . Can be supported but are happy spreading themselves around. The plants are very productive so 2 or 3 plants may be enough for the average household.

Tomatillos will cope with cooler weather than tomatoes. The fruit will swell to fill the husk as they ripen. Do not use fertiliser.

When buying seed, check that it is Ph. ixocarpa not Ph.peruviana otherwise you will grow Cape Gooseberries instead of Tomatillos.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Tomatillo

Use in spicy sauces with or to replace tomatoes.
They are the base of salsa verde in Mexican cookery.

Your comments and tips

26 Mar 20, Robin Duval-Smith (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Compared with a cape gooseberry which I have, how large does a single fruit of tomatillo grow? Is it rich in vitamin C...what other food values?
01 Apr 20, Anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Check on the internet.
22 Sep 19, June (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I am interested in either tomatillo plants or seeds. I am on the eastern side of Jhb.
14 Nov 19, anon (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Try internet seed selling companies.
13 Sep 19, Julie Elliott (Australia - temperate climate)
Bought one tomatillo at the green grocer near me. It was the 1st time I'd seen them selling tomatillo. I left it in the fruit bowl a few weeks and watched it shrivel up. Then I squished it open and left it another week or more to dry out and tonight I pricked out the seeds. Tomorrow I'll plant some seeds in a seed punnet and leave it on my north facing kitchen window sill to germinate. I'll do a punnet each week. The leftover seeds I'll keep for next year. Hopefully some will sprout. I travelled with a Mexican friend (from Mexico City) many years back and saw how she (and her maid) cooked them. I especially loved "drowned eggs". And I saw tomatillos growing wild in southern Mexico near the Guatemalan boarder. My memory is that it was a fairly lightly foliaged shrub like plant. Wish me luck.
11 Jun 18, Annie (Canada - Zone 3a Temperate Short Summer climate)
I am in Calgary Alberta and this spring I took a few tomatillo's and sliced them into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and planted them into dirt right away. After I started to see small plant sprouts I took the slices out of the smaller pots and planted them right into the large planter for the rest of the grow season I will be back in the fall to let you know just how they faired
10 May 18, (Australia - arid climate)
I got 2 tomatoes, but one died. Will they grow from cuttings or do I have to find another seedling (tomatoes or tomatillos ? ed:)
11 May 18, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You are in tomatillos and talking about tomatoes - confused. Put a cutting (2 or 3) in a jar of water and they should sprout roots in a week or so I believe. If tomatoes - take a slice of a good ripe one and laying it in some soil and cover it with some soil or potting mix. The seeds should germinate in a week or two.
06 Feb 18, Michael Williams (Australia - temperate climate)
I've been growing tomatillos for six years in inner suburban Melbourne. They went totally crazy this January, and I think this will be the best crop yet. Here's my blog entry from 2013 which includes a salsa verde recipe https://valcook.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/tomatillo-season-is-here-again.html There are loads of recipes, since these are used extensively in Mexican cooking. Go nuts :-)
15 May 19, Janelle locke (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi I’m desperately looking to grow tomatillos do you know where I can get seeds or a cutting ? Thanks janelle
Showing 1 - 10 of 85 comments

I've been growing tomatillos for six years in inner suburban Melbourne. They went totally crazy this January, and I think this will be the best crop yet. Here's my blog entry from 2013 which includes a salsa verde recipe https://valcook.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/tomatillo-season-is-here-again.html There are loads of recipes, since these are used extensively in Mexican cooking. Go nuts :-)

- Michael Williams

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