Learning Download: How to Grow Tomatillos
Tomatillos differ from green tomatoes as they are usually juicier and not as firm. Though commonly used in
sauces and salsa, tomatillos can be used in appetizers, desserts and jams as well. Tomatillos also are known as a husk tomato, due to the papery husk covering the fruit.
Before Planting: Two or more tomatillo plants are required for the plants to blossom. Wait until all danger of frost has passed before planting the tomatillos outside. Since tomatillos have a long growing season, they can be started indoors up to eight weeks before the last frost date.
Planting: Sow 2-3 seeds per cell, 1/4″ deep, indoors 4-5 weeks before last frost in your area. Transplant after danger of frost and grow without support. Plants grow big, and if unpruned, should be spaced 2-3′ apart. Tomatillos ripen fruit early, and are adapted North and South.
Watering: Similar to tomatoes, tomatillos require frequent watering.
Fertilizer: Tomatillos are a plant with high yields and adding a fertilizer can aid in the plant’s growth. Prior to planting, amend the soil with compost or a 10-10-10 fertilizer and work it several inches deep into the soil. Fertilize
again when the first flowers begin to appear, this time using a 5-10-10 fertilizer. Fertilizers high in potassium and phosphorous can lead to high fruit yields. Over fertilizing can lead to leafy plants with little fruit, so be sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer when it comes to application.
Days to Maturity: Tomatillos are ready to harvest when the green fruit fills out the papery husk. Similar to tomatoes, they can be harvested early and then left in a sunny window to further ripen. (See variety for days to maturity)
Harvesting: Harvest when the fruit is plump and papery husk splits. Harvest continually for best results. Before using the tomatillos after harvest, keep the husks on as this lengthens storage time. When you remove the husks,
also wash the sticky substance from the tomatillo’s flesh.
Tips: Studying the leaves of the tomatillo plant can show if it has any deficiencies. Leaves with a purple tint have a phosphorous deficiency and yellowing leaves means there could be a magnesium deficiency.