Information About Tomatillos

Information About Tomatillos

Tomatillo Pruning: How To Prune Tomatillo Plants

By Jackie Carroll

?Can I prune a tomatillo plant?? This is a common question among many new tomatillo growers. Learn more about the support and pruning of tomatillos in the garden by reading the article that follows.

Harvesting Tomatillo Fruits: How And When To Harvest Tomatillos

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Growing and harvesting tomatillo fruits will enhance your culinary range and provide nutrients and variety to your diet. But when and how do you harvest tomatillos from your garden? Find out in this article.

Growing Tomatillo Plants In Your Garden

By Kathee Mierzejewski

If you've ever seen one, you probably wonder, "What is a tomatillo?" Tomatillo plants are native to Mexico. Read this article to learn more about these plants and get tips for growing tomatillos in the garden.

Physalis, a delicious edible berry

Physalis or Peruvian groundcherry is a plant that offers cute, perfectly edible fruits.

Physalis basics in a few words

NamePhysalis alkekengi
FamilySolanaceae or nightshade
Type – perennial

Height – 20 to 32 inches (50 to 80 cm)
Exposure – full sun, part sun
Soil – well-drained

Flowering – May to July
Harvest – August, September, October

Caring for physalis is easy and the medicinal properties of its berries are famous across the world.

Plant a Salsa Garden: The Five Ingredients to Grow for Fresh Garden Salsa

Salsa lovers can enjoy a particularly nutritious and delicious treat by growing all the ingredients for salsa right in their home gardens.

Planting a Salsa Garden: What and When to Plant

1. Tomatoes
Tomatoes are frost-sensitive plants. Start seedlings 6-8 weeks before the frost-free date (which you can learn from your local Cooperative Extension) or buy them from a greenhouse set them out after the last frost.

Tomatoes thrive in rich soil with plenty of phosphorus. Put a shovelful of compost or aged manure and a handful of bone meal or rock phosphate in each planting hole. Tomatoes love warmth and light. Plant them where they’ll get full sun.

You’ll have many varieties from which to choose. Keep the following basic categories in mind:

Determinate tomato plants are smaller and easier to support than indeterminate plants. A standard garden store tomato cage will contain one nicely. You can plant them every 2′. They will stop bearing before the growing season ends. Indeterminate tomatoes keep growing until frost kills them. They need a sturdy trellis or very large cage. Space them 3′ apart.

Salsa Tomato Tip:
Paste tomatoes like Roma, Opalka, Hog Heart and San Marzano are very meaty and not very juicy. They may not make the best fresh eating, but they make a thick and satisfying salsa. Slicing tomatoes are juicier and better for eating out of hand. You can add some of these to your paste tomatoes when making salsa.

2. Peppers
Peppers (both sweet and hot) are also frost-sensitive, and they grow more slowly than tomatoes. Start them 12 weeks before the frost-free date or buy seedlings. They require the same nutrition and light as tomatoes, but they take up less space. You can plant them 1′ apart.

Sweet bell peppers mature a bit more slowly than hot peppers. You can harvest them green for maximum yield per plant or wait until they ripen red and develop maximum sweetness.

Hot pepper varieties used in salsa include jalapeño, cayenne, Hungarian wax and long green chile (fairly mild) as well as habanero (quite hot).

3. Onions
Onions are not frost-sensitive. Gardeners in hot climates can direct seed them 1/4″ deep as soon as the ground can be worked. In colder areas, start seedlings indoors at the same time as peppers or buy seedlings and set them outside, 6″ apart, up to a month before the frost-free date.

Onions require only 5 hours of sun each day. Give them plenty of compost whenever their root globes shove themselves up out of the ground bury them up to their green stems in compost.

4. Garlic
Garlic is planted in the fall, around the time of the first frost, and harvested the following summer. Separate cloves and plant them, root end down, about 3″ deep and 6″ apart. Each clove will develop into a full head of garlic. Full sun will help garlic to develop larger cloves, but it will tolerate part shade. Add an inch of compost to the soil at planting time.

5. Herbs
Herbs for salsa include cilantro, basil, parsley and oregano. Oregano is a perennial. Plant it once and harvest it year after year. Cilantro self seeds easily. Basil is a frost-sensitive annual. Start it indoors each year at the same time as tomatoes and set it out after the last spring frost. Parsley is biennial. It produces leaves in the first year, leafs out again but then goes to seed in the second year. Handle it in the same way as basil.

Basil and oregano require full sun. Cilantro and parsley benefit from full sun in cold climates but will tolerate light shade. In hot climates they may prefer light shade to full sun.
cc flickr photo:[email protected]/7365342692/

Salsa Garden Layout

Layout details will depend on the space you have available. You can even plant a salsa garden in a container. See the YouTube video below for instructions.

Make sure that tomatoes, basil, oregano and peppers are not shaded by other plants. You could plant basil, which stays shorter, along the southern edge of your planting space, with peppers and tomatoes just to the north of them. Plant onions, garlic, parsley and cilantro on the north or shady side of your peppers and tomatoes.

Or plant tomatoes, peppers and basil, which are all heat loving, along a south-facing wall, and plant onions, garlic, oregano, parsley and cilantro elsewhere.

Tomatoes are prone to many diseases. Don’t plant them in ground where tomatoes have grown in the previous 3 years. Your local Cooperative Extension can offer suggestions about crop rotation.

For more information on planting a salsa garden and making fresh salsa, check out these links:

The Great Salsa Book by Mark Miller, Mark Kiffin, and John Harrison (Amazon affiliate link)
Salsa Garden from University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service
From the Garden to Table: Salsa from North Dakota State University Extension Service

Creative Commons Flickr photo courtesy of OakleyOriginals

Please note that links to Amazon from Gardening Channel are affiliate links.



Diane Duer says

Don’t forget to plant tomatillos. They’re easy to grow & produce many tomatillo fruits that make great salsa verde!

How to Store Tomatillos

The Spanish word for tomatillos is tomates verdes, or “green tomato.”

The Aztecs domesticated the tomatillo nearly 3,000 years ago, according to Chefs Best, a cooking website.

According to Nutrition Data, a food and nutrition website, many of the tomatillo’s calories come from sugar.

The tomatillo fruit is a cousin to the tomato. The fruit appears similar to a tomato except for two differences--the color of the tomatillo is bright green, yellow or purple, and the fruit is covered in a paper-thin husk. As the fruit matures it expands from the husk. The tomatillo often is used when making green salsa and in a variety of Mexican dishes. Tomatillos are nutritious they contain 7 percent Vitamin C and 4 percent Vitamin K. Proper storage of the tomatillo ensures the fruit can be used several weeks after harvesting.

Remove tomatillos from the branch when the fruit expands out of the husk. The husk will form first, and then the tomatillo will fill it. Look inside the husk, from the bottom, to see how large the tomatillo is if it has not expanded out of the husk.

  • The tomatillo fruit is a cousin to the tomato.
  • The fruit appears similar to a tomato except for two differences--the color of the tomatillo is bright green, yellow or purple, and the fruit is covered in a paper-thin husk.

Tomatillos can be stored in dry, cool places, such as a kitchen countertop, if being used within several days. Refrigeration and freezing are recommended for longer preservation of the fruit.

Determine whether you will want refrigerate or freeze the tomatillos. Refrigeration means the fruit must be consumed within two to three weeks. Freezing the fruit allows the fruit to be preserved for 10 to 12 months.

Refrigerate tomatillos with husks using a paper bag, suggests Still Tasty, a website devoted to the shelf life of food. The paper bag will absorb any additional moisture contained within the husk. If tomatillos have the husks removed, place them in a plastic bag. Husks can be difficult to remove. Place the tomatillos in a bowl of warm water to loosen the husks. Refrigerator temperatures should be between 35 and 40 degrees.

  • Tomatillos can be stored in dry, cool places, such as a kitchen countertop, if being used within several days.
  • If tomatillos have the husks removed, place them in a plastic bag.

Remove the husks from the tomatillos by hand if freezing. Place the vegetable in an airtight container or in a freezer bag. Tomatillos can also be boiled, pureed and roasted prior to freezing, as well as freezing raw. Ensure freezer temperatures are zero degrees or below.