Learn how to grow tomatillos in your vegetable garden this summer. Our gardening tips include starting tomatillos from seed, preparing the soil, and caring for the plants through harvest.
When I was a kid, I was fascinated by tomatillos when I saw them at the grocery store because to me they looked like a tomato with a “shell”. You can grow tomatillos easily in your garden in a similar fashion to tomatoes. They do need a good amount of sun and a longer growing season, so starting the seeds indoors is a great option if you live in an area that is cooler. Here are some tips for growing tomatillos from seed to harvest.
How to Grow Tomatillos from Seed
Many people opt to start their tomatillos indoors because the growing season is so long and they live in a cooler region. You can start them indoors in a sunny spot if you can keep the soil above 75 degrees. Plant seeds about ¼ inch into the soil and keep it moist. You will see germination in about 10 days.
To plant seeds outdoors, you should start with soil that has been prepared with aged compost. You will need a spot that gets a lot of full son and to make sure the soil is at least 75 degrees. Plant seeds in a similar fashion as indoors. Make sure to protect seedlings from the cooler nights.
For more information on growing tomatillos from seed, check out this post.
How to Transplant Tomatillos
Tomatillos should be transplanted when they are at least 5 feet tall. You should also go through a hardening off process to prepare your plants for transplanting.
Prepare the soil by mixing in some compost. Plan to have about 24 inches of space between plants. Gently remove each seedling from its growing pot. Dig a hole as big as each seedling’s pot and plant directly in the soil.
For more information on transplanting, see this post.
Tomatillos and Pests
Tomatillos are fairly pest-resistant which is why they are an easy plant to grow if you are a beginner.
Potato beetles can be a real pest for the tomatillo, but if you weed well, you should not have a problem with them.
Another pest is the aphid. These are a pest for nearly all plants but are easily taken care of with a quick spritz from the hose.
How to Harvest Tomatillos
It’s easy to know when to harvest a tomatillo! The plant grows a natural indicator in the thin papery husk. When you see it split open, your tomatillos are ready to be picked.
You can simply snip them from the plant and store them in a cool area.