Light requirements: Full sun for best yields.
Planting: Space 36 inches apart. Plant deeply, burying up to 2/3 of the stem, like a tomato.
Soil requirements: Tomatillo needs well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend soil with 3 to 5 inches of compost or other organic matter prior to planting.
Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Mulch soil to reduce water evaporation.
Frost-fighting plan: Established tomatillo plants tolerate light frost (28º F to 32º F). If a surprise late spring frost comes into the forecast, protect newly planted seedlings with a frost blanket.
Common issues: If you don’t clean up the garden well in fall, you’ll likely have tomatillo volunteers appear in subsequent years. Many gardeners report seedling crops for many years after planting only once. You need to plant two different tomatillo plants for cross-pollination and fruit set to occur. Pests to watch out for include flea beetles and slugs. When humid conditions prevail, plants can develop fungal diseases on foliage.
Harvesting: Pick when husks are papery and green-brown, but fruit is still green. This is the stage that yields the tartest flavor. If fruits are allowed to develop to yellow or even purple (most ripe), flavor changes to a sweeter tang. Fruits should pull easily from plants with a gentle tug.
Storage: Store tomatillos in their papery husks. If kept at a cool room temperature, use within 5 to 7 days. To refrigerate, tuck fruits into a paper bag. They’ll keep two to three weeks. Check them weekly. If you spot fungus on husks, remove and use affected fruits.
For more information, visit the Tomatillo page in our How to Grow section.