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Post  timwardell 3/18/2010, 3:33 pm

Found out last night (via email) that one of my sources for tomato transplants had a complete crop failure and will not be fulfilling any transplant orders. Luckily I ordered my heirloom tomato transplants from 2 different sources so half of this year's crop is still on it's way. To replace the fallen and fill those empty squares I had set aside just for them, I went to a local nursery. I was able to find adequate replacements for those that I won't be getting, then a tomatillo caught my eye.

I've never grown tomatillos, but I couldn't resist. darn those garden centers and their tempting transplants! Anyone have experience with these things? I'd hate for my $2.50 to go to waste.  Smile

A quick check of Wikipedia just told me I'd need two in order to have them set fruit. Dang. Now I've got to go back to the source of my temptation. Help me Garden Gods! Must resist. No... squares... left.  AHHHHHHHHHH! affraid
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Post  sigep185 3/18/2010, 4:02 pm

I am trying Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries and Tomatillos this year after taking a cooking class where they had us taste ground cherries. They were great. I have never planted either, but I read the same thing that you did, that they will not set much fruit without a second plant. I did read that ground cherries and tomatillos will cross polinate, so that could work for you, but that would still require another plant. Here is what I found out about ground cherries/tomatillos:

They grow to about 2-3 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. They will grow in the husks and will fall off the plant when they are ripe. Do Not eat them before 1) either the husk browns and pops open, or 2) they fall off the plant. The plant itself and premature fruits are toxic. A suggestion was to put some sort of plastic mulch (red plastic mulch works well) to keep the fruit from getting dirty when they fall. Hope this helps. Good luck.

Brian
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Post  jerzyjen 3/18/2010, 4:28 pm

I did not know this rule when i spontaneously added a last minute tomatillo to my sfg last year. Started late too cause i started in the spring from seed. However, I did get some fruit. Most were a bit small, so I'm planning on two plants this year and hope to get a much better yield. I am sticking them in a 2 x 3 area of squares to give them some room.

Oh and I understand they like it hot, so you should do well in Texas. We had a pretty cool summer for our area so that also probably had a factor on plant.
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Post  donnainzone5 3/19/2010, 10:41 am

Because of my relatively cool location, I haven't had much luck with tomatillos. The plants typically grow 5' - 6' tall, bloom, start to set fruit, then succumb to powdery white mildew or some such ailment.

However, I came close to having a small crop last year. Apparently, the plants all went to seed in one small pot. Several tomatillos are growing there (and already blooming!). I plan to just let things be and see what transpires.
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Post  beagle love 3/20/2010, 5:46 pm

This is my first garden, so not much advice to offer. I too bought two tomatillo transplants and they are doing well in the SFG. They have lots of flowers and I read the flowers attract bees Smile It gets pretty hot around here so the weather won't be an issue. This week it has been in the mid to high 80's.
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Post  timwardell 3/20/2010, 7:04 pm

beagle love wrote:This is my first garden, so not much advice to offer. I too bought two tomatillo transplants and they are doing well in the SFG. They have lots of flowers and I read the flowers attract bees Smile It gets pretty hot around here so the weather won't be an issue. This week it has been in the mid to high 80's.
Yes, if have flowers you will have bees. They just seem to show up. How do they know? Wink Good thing too since they will pollenate your plants. Would be very difficult to garden without them. (Why is there no bee emoticon? This is a gardening forum?) Hmmmmm.... :suspect:
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Post  corrermucho 5/6/2011, 6:53 pm

I am going to plant some tomatillos today in my salsa garden. I just bought 4 tomato plants from a local farm. I have a salsa pepper plant also that I planted. I guess tomatillos are 1 per square foot (at least that is what I am going to plant!) Very Happy
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 5/6/2011, 8:56 pm

Tomatillas are another of those crops that keeps on giving...once you plant it, if you ignore an overly ripe fruit, you will have a gratuitous crop the following year. We've had progeny from our original planting of tomatillas every year for the past five years. Tomatillas are definitely worth the space if you like green salsa, or green enchiladas. We really like their somewhat citrusy taste in a salsa. BTW, we're in the cool, rainy Pacific Northwest, but have always been blessed with a good crop of tomatillas.

Sigep185, like you, we are trying Aunt Molly's ground cherries this year. I'm an odd plant junkie, and always want to try something new. Hope you and I can compare recipes this fall!
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Post  milaneyjane 5/6/2011, 11:37 pm

Tim,

I started them from seed to plant for the first time this year. I can't wait to grow them. I am not sure how much fruit I will get from each plant so I am planting 4 (yet to be decided if they make it into a box or if they will get stuck outside the box this year). We want enough to make salsa verde. I have so many seedlings, that I forcing several newbie gardener friends to grow them as well, LOL!
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Post  westie42 5/7/2011, 1:09 am

Tim just because you only have one plant should not be a big worry in your area. Pollen will probably blow or fly in from another plant in the area or for good measures plant the extra one in a 5 gal bucket, they are real estate hog's anyway.
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Post  Furbalsmom 5/7/2011, 11:41 am

I am growing Aunt Mollies Ground Cherries for the first time this year. I remember the ground cherries from my childhood, when I visited family in the mountains of WV, and they grew ground cherries sprawling around the edge of the yard. We ate them after they fell off the vine and I remember my aunt making ground cherry preserves. Always served on hot biscuits with lots of butter.

I hope they are as good as remember.
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Post  florenceq 5/21/2011, 12:22 am

I received a packet a Ground Cherries from the Seeds of Change Sowing Millions Project. I had never heard of them before but they look interesting so I planted a couple in SFG. If anyone has any recipes for them, please share.

Tonatillo sauce is one of my favorites so of course I will being growing those as wells. I have 3 started!
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Post  sherryeo 5/21/2011, 12:07 pm

I tried tomatillos last summer in a conventional garden. They were huge plants - easily 6 feet tall, maybe even a bit more. They also probably took about 6 foot of space in circumference, too. Huge, sprawling plants. I don't know about different varieties - maybe some of them don't get that big, but mine were just out of control. I had a bumper crop of the tomatillos and was looking up salsa and other recipes for them. I was so excited. Then the stink bugs finished off my tomato plants and I pulled the plants up. The bugs then turned to my tomatillos. I'd read that tomatillos are seldom bothered by insects, but the stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs just ruined my whole crop of them. Tomatillos 671790 I didn't get enough for a single batch of salsa! Sad

I may try them again, but probably not in a regular sized sfg, unless there is a much smaller variety.
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Post  westie42 5/21/2011, 4:56 pm

I have grown them here in Iowa for for several years. They don't get quite that big but probably 4 1/2 ft tall and across so yes they do take up room. Never have had an insect problem but bugs are not as happy up here either. Getting enough hot growing season is more problem here so the crop is plentiful but smaller sized fruits in many cases. Makes me wonder if a good spot mite be in a 5 gal bucket wicking pot so they can sprawl all they want. Unless there are others growing nearby you mite need two plants for pollination. Mine are grown in the regular garden where space is not such a premium.
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 5/22/2011, 12:43 am

After growing tomatillos in a regular row garden for a couple of years, this year we're going to try Aunt Molly's ground cherries. I plan to grow them in containers against the new deer fence, and see if I can train them up the fencing, which should be possible if they exhibit the same vining/sprawling tendency as the tomatillos.
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Post  shannon1 5/22/2011, 2:54 am

timwardell wrote:
beagle love wrote:This is my first garden, so not much advice to offer. I too bought two tomatillo transplants and they are doing well in the SFG. They have lots of flowers and I read the flowers attract bees Smile It gets pretty hot around here so the weather won't be an issue. This week it has been in the mid to high 80's.
Yes, if have flowers you will have bees. They just seem to show up. How do they know? Wink Good thing too since they will pollenate your plants. Would be very difficult to garden without them. (Why is there no bee emoticon? This is a gardening forum?) Hmmmmm.... :suspect:
Oh Tim,
Please send some honey bees my way. This year I even planted some flowers just for the bees and still I have only seen 4 all season Sad . The honey bees are missing Shocked
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Post  dianamarie03 5/22/2011, 8:39 pm

Does anyone know where I can get a ground cherry plant? It's much to late to start from seed but seed savers exchange is sold out. I'm not having much luck locally Sad
You guys got me learning about the plant and now I have to have one! Smile
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Post  Glendale-gardener 5/22/2011, 8:50 pm

I'm about 2 hours from you but I have an extra seedling if you ever come down this way! It's kind of spindly but doing okay. I planted 6 peat pots not knowing how well they would germinate. All 6 did great but I only had space reserved for 2 so I've been giving them away.
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Post  dianamarie03 5/22/2011, 10:14 pm

How generous of you GG! I have been wanting to go to Ikea anyway, I might see if my mother in law is up for a trip next weekend maybe and could be in the area to to meet somewhere? If that's possible I can check with her and let you know?

Warms my heart that some people are still so kind Smile Thank you for the offer.
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Post  Glendale-gardener 5/23/2011, 11:50 am

No problem! I will lovingly care for it until then!
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Post  RoOsTeR 4/28/2013, 12:08 pm

Who else is growing Ground Cherries this year? I got a pack of Aunt Molly's and will be my first time trying them:

Tomatillos 20130428_095159_zps64eba3dc

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 4/28/2013, 12:25 pm

We grew Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries last year. I'm here to tell 'ya, they are very generous producers of fruit! This year we're trying Giant Cape ground cherries--just to compare fruit set, fruit size and flavor. Fun to experiment. Nonna
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Post  jmsieglaff 4/28/2013, 12:36 pm

Are ground cherries different that tomatillos?

I'm doing tomatillos again--we make and freeze roasted tomatillo salsa--I can't get enough of it!
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 4/28/2013, 12:41 pm

jmsieglaff asks: "Are ground cherries different that tomatillos?"

Yes and no. Same family of plants, and both have husks around the fruit; but ground cherries are sweeter and usually used for jams, jellies, and desserts like pies, etc. Tomatillos, as you note, make wonderful salsas and savory dishes. Both are well worth growing if you have adequate space. Nonna
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Post  RoOsTeR 4/28/2013, 12:44 pm

jmsieglaff wrote:Are ground cherries different that tomatillos?

I'm doing tomatillos again--we make and freeze roasted tomatillo salsa--I can't get enough of it!

They are in the same family, but different fruit Very Happy

Nonna, I will be very interested in the comparison. I also hope I have high yields for making preserves in the fall.

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