If you want to make some incredible homemade salsa verde, then make this the year you plant and grow delicious tomatillos in your garden!
Salsa verde has exploded in popularity. Along with it, so has interest in growing tomatillo plants in the garden or even in containers. And growing them is easier than you might think!
The Tomatillo – The Salsa Verde Plant
No, that tantalizing green salsa you love doesn’t come from green tomatoes. It instead comes from the tomatillo plant.
And although the name tomatillo in Spanish translates to “little tomato”, it’s actually not a tomato plant at all. It is, however, a close relative.
And, like tomatoes, can easily be grown in the garden, or even in pots and containers.
Both tomatillos and tomatoes are members of the nightshade family. And because of their similarities, tomatillo plants grow well using many of the same methods that work to grow tomatoes successfully.
Here is a look at how to easily plant and grow tomatillo plants – and to know when and how to harvest. And we even included a simple, tried and true recipe for fresh salsa verde at the end of the article so you are ready to roll when your plants start producing!
How To Grow Tomatillos
Although there is a slight range between varieties, most tomatillo plants mature near the 100 day mark. Because of this lengthy time, much like with tomato plants, it’s important to grow from transplants, not seed.
Unfortunately, in most climates, direct seeding simply doesn’t allow enough time for maturation.
How To Grow Tomatillos – Starting Seeds
Seeds should be started six to eight weeks before planting outdoors. To know when to start, simply count back from your regions last frost date.
Once the soil has warmed and the threat of frost has passed, plant outdoors in well drained, fertile soil.
Tomatillo plants actually require a bit less from the soil than tomatoes do. But with that said, amending the soil with compost at the time of planting will help roots retain moisture while providing additional nutrients.
A few cups of compost mixed into the soil for each plant will more than do the trick. When planting, bury the transplants deep in the soil. A good rule of thumb is to plant half of the transplant underneath the soil to allow for better rooting.
Last but not least, you need to plant more than one tomatillo to get fruit production. Tomatillos are not self pollinating, so at least two plants are needed to allow for fertilization of the blooms. Seed Product Link : Tomatillo Seeds
This is extremely important to remember when planting in pots or containers. Plant multiple plants in a single large pot, or at least two small pots with one plant each to ensure a viable crop.
Like tomatoes, tomatillos benefit greatly from a bit of support. The best way to do this is with a stake, cage, or trellis.
First and foremost, it helps keep the plant’s stems and branches off the ground and out of harms way. But it also allows for good air circulation around the plant’s foliage and ripening fruit.
Good circulation is important for both pollinating and setting fruit, as well as helping fruit ripen more rapidly.
Growing Tomatillos – How To Know When To Harvest
The fruits of tomatillos are ready to be picked as soon the husks fill out and begin to split open.
And continuing to pick fruit as it ripens is a big key to long-term harvesting.
Much like tomato, pepper and cucumber plants, tomatillos can suffer from fruit overload. If a plant becomes too full of ripening fruit, it stops producing new blooms in order to concentrate its energy on ripening the excess fruit.
So remember, the more you pick, the more you get!
A Simple Salsa Verde Recipe
When those tomatillos ripen, here is a simple way to make delicious fresh salsa verde in a flash!
- 8 tomatillos peeled
- 3 cloves of garlic peeled
- 1 white onion
- 1/2 cup of cilantro
- Juice of 1/2 lime squeezed
- 3 jalapeno peppers (serrano peppers can be used as well)
- Add salt to taste ( 1/2 to 1 teaspoon)
Simmer the tomatillos and garlic in a pot of water for 10 minutes. Drain water and place all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding salt to taste.
Then pop in the refrigerator to chill, and then serve and enjoy. Here is to growing your own great crop of tomatillos this year!
For more great articles on growing vegetables in the garden, check out our Vegetable Garden Page on the blog.
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