Ingredient Page: Tomatillos (

Culinary Usage:

Tomatillos (sometimes called husk tomatoes) are a newer addition to cuisine in the northern US, and I admit I'm still learning about them as well. They originated in Mexico and are a larger part of their cuisine than ours. They are big in sauces/salsas like salsa verde. This is my rationale for trying them.

These fruits grow with a husk around them that need to be removed, and the fruits inside are a lot more firm than tomatoes. They have a note of citrus, or possibly green apples. They definitely don't taste like tomatoes.

Seeding Time: Early March (in central Maryland)
Transplanting Time: Late April (in central Maryland)
Harvest Time: JUL-AUG (in central Maryland)

Spacing: 3-4 ft.

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Gardening Tips:

I am treating tomatillos just like tomatoes - same cages, same fertilizer, and just a tad larger spacing. This is largely because there's not as much information on tomatillos around as there is on tomatoes. The only other difference right now is a different mulch color - I'm using black for tomatillos but red for tomatoes. This is simply because of the length of red I bought this year, not enough for the tomatillos.

One catch: you need more than one tomatillo for pollination. Solitary tomatillos will grow but not set fruit because they need to cross-pollinate.

Tomatillos are heavy producers per plant - I believe 3-5 plants will suffice for even a tomatillo-loving family. This is because they're indeterminate, which means they produce longer throughout the season but also that they grow into a larger space than tomatoes.

Fertilizer Notes:

None known yet - I use the same as tomatoes.

Preservation Notes:

Canning is the only method I am aware of being fruitful. I am certain that you could freeze them, but I don't think I would. For canning, I imagine it would be best done after making a salsa.

Matt's Garden Notes:

Matt's 2013 Map

Matt's 2013 Tomato/tomatillo Map

2013: planted five tomatillos on 6 MAR, set out 27 APR and the following week. In 2.5' diameter cages at 3 feet apart, just like tomatoes. Grown on black plastic. 3 feet was not enough - plants were shaded and continually grew far into paths. Harvested first ones in mid July, biggest ones had been taken by bugs.

Recipes using Tomatillos:

Tomatillo Salsa
Tomatillo Salsa II
Burned Tomatillo Salsa

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