Abundant Acres Growers

Tomatillo and Ground Cherry Culture

You should start by hardening-off your transplants before setting them out.

Tomatillos and Ground Cherries transplants should only be set out after the danger of frost is past. They tolerate cooler conditions than other members of the Solanum family, so they could be the very first types you set out. Moderately rich, well-drained, well watered soil suit them--they don't need the fertility usually accorded to their more illustrious cousins.The plants aren't usually staked, but might benefit from it if grown really large. A coarse mulch such as straw usually suffices to prevent fruit-rot, except perhaps in really moist conditions.

Pests don't seem to bother this group much, but watch them closely in case some pest occurs in your area that we perhaps have never seen or heard of.

The plants tend to flower while still very small; we usually pick them off until the young plants acquire some stature.

There's not much more to tell about growing these plants, which in our experience require very little effort or care. The fruit are ripe when they change color, soften and fill the husk so fully that it splits. (The exception is the Tomatillo Verde, which is picked when it reaches full size, but before changing color, for use in green salsas and cooked chili verde dishes. These will in fact turn a pale yellow, becoming insipidly sweet, but to our knowledge are not traditionally used this way. We've heard, however, that some folks utilize these like fruit, making pies and preserves. To each his own!)

They do need to be kept picked, otherwise some eventually will fall and rot. If this occurs, you are certain to have lots of volunteers in your garden. Transplant them if this occurs; they are every bit as good as their parent.