We are growing tomatillos for the first time this summer.
|Tomatillo transplants far left, May 22|
|Purple tomatillos, June 3|
|Close-up of the tomatillo vines|
|green tomatillo growing crooked|
|Tomatillo buds, June 11|
We're growing both purple and green tomatillos. I had never seen purple tomatillos before, but apparently the fruit can be purple, red, or yellow when ripe. When I saw the purple seed packets at a nursery early this spring, I knew I wanted to try to grow both green and purple ones.
We started the seeds indoors in March and transplanted them in May. As with 95% of our vegetables, they're in containers. I thought the vines were growing a little crooked, but without a plant in the ground to compare them with, I'm not sure if that's normal or what. But they began to sprout buds, and a couple of weeks ago we counted three different types of bees buzzing around all the blooms, so I kept my fingers crossed....and right now all the plants have blossoms and/or husks forming! All tomatillos develop their fruit within the husk.
I'd read that tomatillos won't set fruit by themselves and need another plant to help with pollination. We have three green plants and two purple ones. I also read that they don't need to be staked, so their weird crooked stems probably serve to provide stability. We're treating them as we do our other container vegetables--making sure they get watered regularly and keeping a layer of mulch in the container to prevent weeds and preserve moisture. Within the next week or two we'll probably add some fertilizer.
I'm so anxious to see the fruit! The packet says 60 days to harvest, so that should be around mid- late-July. We can't pick them until the husks turn brown and start to split open. I've peeked inside some of the husks and see blooms in there (last picture). I hope it's the beginning of a lot of fruit.
Green tomatillos don't taste very good by themselves, in my opinion. They don't have the sweet taste or soft skin of a regular tomato, but they are excellent ingredients in salsas and taste good grilled. The purple variety supposedly tastes sweeter, but I plan to add it to salsas and grill them too. I'm collecting salsa recipes and am thinking about maybe adding them to chili. If anyone has any good recipes with tomatillos as an ingredient, please send me recommendations! I'd love to experiment with different dishes using tomatillos as an ingredient.