Tomatillo

  • Sun: Full Sun
  • Harvest Size: 2 inches
  • Days to Harvest: 60 to 75
  • Plant Size: 3 to 4 feet wide and tall
  • Plant Type: Indeterminate

Tomatillo is a round, green fruit produced inside a papery husk. Though it’s not a tomato, it is related to tomato and is sometimes called husk tomato. The tart, unique flavor is essential for salsa verde and many other Mexican and Southwestern sauces and salads.

Plant tomatillos from spring (after the last frost) through early summer. If you buy early, you can keep plants on a sunny windowsill until the weather warms. If you plant early, be sure to protect plants with row cover. Tomatillos are sensitive to frost and cold.

Plant spacing: 36 inches apart. Plants per person: 2 to 3.

Secrets to Success »

Plant deeply so that at least two-thirds of the plant is buried, stem and all. It will sprout roots. This makes the plant more resistant to drought and other problems. Water regularly. To keep the soil moist, mix compost into planting holes, and mulch around the plants after the soil warms. Watering with a soaker hose is best to keep the foliage dry. Wet leaves encourage disease.

Tomatillo is a lanky plant that can spread up to 4 feet. You can contain the plant with a tomato cage or just give tomatillo the space to grow freely—the support isn’t necessary as it is with tomatoes.

Harvest and Use »

Tomatillos are ripe when the fruit fills up the husk and softens a bit. Ripe fruit should still be bright green in color; fruits turning yellow are past their prime. Remove the paper husk before eating. Roast tomatillos then puree with cilantro, chili peppers, and lime juice for salsa verde.

Try These Garden Companions »

  • Cilantro.
  • Texas Sweet onion, 1015Y onion, or White Sweet Spanish onion.
  • Jalapeno and Serrano peppers.
  • Amelia, Talladega, or BHN62 tomato for disease resistance in hot, humid climates, and for tomato–tomatillo gazpacho.

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