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General information and discussion about cultivating tomatillos.

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Old May 12, 2010   #1
hornstrider
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Default Tomatillo Help in Texas

My onions are about ready to harvest. In fact I will harvest this weekend. This will leave some empty space in my garden. I planted 150 onion so I have quite a bit of space. Question??........Is it too late to plant Tomatillo's??........I grew them last year, but got them in the ground earlier. I know they do well in the Texas heat, but was curious if they will set fruit if I plant this late. I have access to 1 1/2 foot plants.....Also maybe some suggestions as to what I can grow this late in the season.......BTW I have plenty of squash, and cucumber......I am pretty sure I can still plant okra.........correct??......Thanks in advance.
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Old May 14, 2010   #2
Suze
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I don't think a late start would be a big deal. I've not had problems with either tomatillos or ground cherries setting fruit throughout the summers here. The pollen does not seem to be affected by the heat, at least as far as I can tell.

Not too late for okra either.

Cowpeas are another option - they love the heat. After I get done harvesting my garlic, I frequently sow cowpeas in that spot.
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Old May 14, 2010   #3
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Not too late for melons.
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Old May 14, 2010   #4
veggie babe
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Suze and Worth are too fast for me, they suggested all the things I love to grow in Texas. Like Suze said tomatillos seem to keep producing right thru the heat.

Good Luck,

Neva
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Old May 14, 2010   #5
hornstrider
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Worth..Thanks, but I have melons........Suze..........Thank you......Tell me about Cowpeas..........I don't believe I have ever eaten a Cowpea. I would also like to know about when to harvest Garlic. I planted my Garlic in October, and alot of the leaves are turning yellow. I have quit watering my Garlic. I have also pulled a few, and the bulbs a large, but they don't look like they are quite done. When is the best time to harvest?? Thank you for you imput!
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Old May 14, 2010   #6
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Cowpeas is the general description of several types of peas that are sometimes used as cattle feed which I believe all originally came from Africa. They are healthy and tasty, though my favorite prep of them is no more than cooked on medium heat for a couple of hours in water, bacon, salt pepper, and optional onions and peppers.

My favorites are purple hulls, Crowders, cream peas (especially the petite varities), and black eyed peas. I grew some last year for the first time and they do love the heat. The only warning I would issue is they are some unbelievable climbers. They will outgrow any cage, stake or poll ever constructed in a couple of weeks, then start wrapping around everything else they find. They will take over a spot, if you let them. Good luck.
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Old May 14, 2010   #7
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Time to harvest garlic varies depending on the variety or type, and while watching the leaves is helpful, I don't go by just that.

When only the center 4-5 leaves are still green or mostly green on a particular variety, I check by carefully pulling back the soil with my bare hands until I can see the top of a bulb or two. I also feel along the side to see if the individual cloves have formed. Try not to disturb the roots when doing this.

If they are still rounds (smooth) or if I can't detect much clove formation, they get checked again in a few days. However, once you're down to the last couple of green leaves, they should be ready. If you leave them in too long, you'll lose a lot of the wrappers.

At this stage, I've harvested over half of my garlic. Some of the varieties (Creoles and Marbled Purple Stripes) are still not fully mature, though.

Cowpeas - I grow bush or half runner types that don't require support, and generally grow them for dry beans. They can also be shelled and eaten the same season, or picked at an earlier (more tender) stage and used as snaps. Favorites include Zipper Cream and Pinkeye Purple Hull.
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Old May 14, 2010   #8
hornstrider
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Thank you Suze......A few days ago the bulbs were smooth.....no wrappers.....I still have some green leaves. Like I stated earlier I have quit watering them.......is this correct??.........Dewayne mater thanks for the helpful info.
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Old May 14, 2010   #9
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Just so we are on the same page (and you may already know this) - when I say wrappers, I mean those outside layers on a bulb that entirely surround all of the individual cloves.

The skin / "wrappers" inside that surround only each individual clove are frequently referred to as clove covers.

If you leave a bulb in too long, those outer (main) wrappers will start to go, and usually the last 4-6 leaves control those wrappers. So, if you leave a garlic in too long, it can affect storage life.

OTOH - if you harvest too early, individual clove formation might not be that good, or you could also end up with rounds. And sometimes you will just end up with some rounds, despite your best efforts.

Some years are tougher than others in Texas, some varieties tend to do better here, too.

In many ways, when to harvest garlic is a judgment call. Some varieties might be ready when you see 4-6 green leaves left, and others might need a little more time, perhaps even to the 2-3 leaf stage. That is why I carefully dig down by hand for each individual variety to check clove formation and don't just go by the leaves before deciding to harvest.

Also, some of the best info on growing garlic in Texas can be found here:

http://www.gourmetgarlicgardens.com/

I hope that all made sense, but if not, let me know.


At this point, yes, ceasing watering is likely the right thing to do. The vast majority of my garlic gets harvested mid-May, with some going to late May or even the first week of June. Much easier to dig it up without a lot of mess or fuss when the soil is on the dry side.

What variety or varieties are you growing?
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Old July 5, 2011   #10
Direct Sunlight
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Are they like tomatoes in not setting fruit at high temperatures? I've got three plants and flowers everywehre, but nothing growing on them.
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Old July 5, 2011   #11
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Direct Sunlight,

I presume you are talking about Tomatillos and not Garlic.

How long ago did you plant your plants and how large were they when you planted?
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Old July 6, 2011   #12
Direct Sunlight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feldon30 View Post
Direct Sunlight,

I presume you are talking about Tomatillos and not Garlic.

How long ago did you plant your plants and how large were they when you planted?
Oops! I had just read a similar thread on another forum and didn't connect that I was responding to a post on garlic. I planted tomatillos at the end of April. I got them on a whim from the local nursery. They were about a foot long at the time, and struggled to put on new leaves for awhile. Now they're about 2 1/2 feet tall. They have really grown in the last couple of weeks!

Last edited by Direct Sunlight; July 6, 2011 at 12:34 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old September 10, 2011   #13
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Well, now one of the plants has about 200 blooms on it at a time. Highs are in the 80s, and lows in the 60s, mostly. Still no setting fruit. Does anyone know under what conditions they set fruit? I have 3 plants in a triangle layout.
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Last edited by Direct Sunlight; September 10, 2011 at 10:40 AM.
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Old September 11, 2011   #14
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I have 4 purples, and only one is flowering and setting fruit. It didn't start flowering until maybe a month ago. But this has been a remarkable season for many crops.
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Old September 11, 2011   #15
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My understanding is that tomatillos are very dependent upon insect pollinators, especially bees - more so than tomatoes. They also tend to drop most of their blossoms early in the season then produce like gang busters later. At least that's been my experience.

I'm raising Toma Verde and Purple. The purples are hardly producing anything, while I can hardly keep up with the Toma Verdes. I have a fair number of pollinators buzzing around, so I'm not sure why the purple is so much less productive.
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