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Growing tomatillos

This is one plant I don't need to say much about. Our first two were seedlings given out freely at a local garden forum so I don't know the variety.

Purple Keepers Landrace tomatillo

Purple Keepers Modern Landrace tomatillo from Adaptive SeedsIn 2014 we grew Purple Keepers Modern Landrace tomatillo from Adaptive Seeds. These were as productive as the freebies from the previous year.

Adaptive says Purple Keepers is a medium-sized purple tomatillo that stores for a very long time off the vine. Shades range from a slight purple blush on green, to deep purple all through the fruit. A landrace is a variety that has been purposely maintained as a diverse gene pool to help it be more adaptive to harsh conditions.

Growing tomatillos has been just too simple. Plant in pots, transplant with normal soil amendment, watch 'em grow. I guess if gardening were as easy as growing these tomatillos, it wouldn't be very interesting. :?:

Each year we transplanted into unknown soil with our basic organic fertilizer and just watched them grow. Sometimes novelty is a real treat. Also a treat were the many jars of salsa and relish we canned.

You can see more photos of our tomatillos from the 2015 crop on the page of tomatillo photos.


My primary challenge with growing tomatillos is keeping the gangly stalks upright. In years previous to 2017 I erected complex and ridiculous supports from poles. Still limbs sagged and fell, often breaking down the supports.

In 2017 I gave up on the architecture and left the stalks bend and break as they chose. This adds to the time it takes to harvest them, but eliminates the repetitive building of supportive structures.


I transplanted five plants at a suitable time in the late spring in my Fall City garden. I figured they would repeat the productivity of previous years so I planted fewer than previous years.

The plans appeared to do well, putting on lots of limbs and lots of flowers. I made half-hearted efforts to stake the plants and support some of the limbs, but one after another the branches broke off the main stem and two of the plants collapsed to the ground.

It was a very strange season for them. I have no idea what was different that would affect the plants this way. Although they appeared healthy when I transplanted them, they were such a miserable looking lot by August that I didn't even take a picture!

2016 results

Overall, in 2016 I harvested only about 8 pounds of tomatillos from the several remaining plants. Most of the remaining fruit were quite small and weren't ripening by the time cool, cloudy weather can in mid-August, so it was off to the compost pile for the lot of them. One of them appeared strange, with lots of blossoms in an unusual pattern, but few fruit. It was a very strange season for these tomatillos.

2017 results

My lack of attention to supporting the stalks resulted in the expected collapse of main branches, but the limbs continued to produce and I had a reasonably good harvest from the six plants (more than 60 pounds).

garden/about/plants/tomatillo/growing.txt · Last modified: 2017/08/24 10:03 by davidbac