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Easy tips for Growing Tomatillos in your own garden.
Interested in growing tomatillos? Tomatillos are similar to tomatoes, but with a papery husk. Some even refer to them as husk tomatoes. They remind me of little Chinese lanterns. Such an interesting plant, and such a wonderful addition to a culinary garden too!
They sure are fun to watch grow. As they grow, the papery husk will begin to dry and split, which is also a sign they are getting ready for harvesting. The papery husk are easily removed before cooking.
Unlike tomatoes, I think tomatillos are best when cooked. They’re a little tart for eating right off the vine, unless they’ve passed the green stage, and have ripened into a pale yellow. When roasted, tomatillos make a wonderful base for Salsa Verde, a bright green salsa made of tomatillos, peppers, onions, and cilantro.
If you’ve ever grown tomatoes, tomatillos require similar conditions.
Tips for Growing Tomatillos:
- Full sun. Plant in a sunshiny spot. For best results choose a spot that gets 8 or more hours of sun.
- Tomatillos like the heat, but not the cold. Plant after danger of frost. They prefer USDA hardiness zones between 5-11. Check your zone with this map: USDA Hardiness Zone Map
- A rich, moist soil that drains well. They like to be water frequently, but tomatillos don’t like soggy feet.
- Tomatillos like friends. They need to be planted in multiples in order to pollinate and produce fruit. So plant at least two.
- Like tomatoes, indeterminate tomatillos will need support as they grow or they will be floppy. A simple cage or stake will work fine.
- Also, as with tomatoes, tomatillos are the perfect vegetable for planting in containers. Just make sure your container is large enough, and water often to compensate for container plants drying out quicker.
- They are very productive when happy. One plant can produce up to 10 pounds or more of fruit. Bring on the Salsa Verde!
Next time you’re planning your garden, be sure to plan for a pair of tomatillos for a flavorful change of pace. And go ahead and stock up on the chips for that homemade Salsa Verde while you’re at it.
Happy gardening, y’all!
Originally published June 2, 2013. Updated April 28, 2015.