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Old June 21, 2011   #1
arivaraci
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Default Help with my single tomatillo

I was given a lone tomatillo plant by my next door neighbor. I love this plant - it is beautiful! And I love tomatillos - I cook with them in season. As this is my first year gardening, I did not know I needed 2 tomatillo plants. My neighbor was trying tomatillos for the first time, and only 3 seedlings made it from her seeds.

After reading about the plants here, and realizing I need at least 2, I am wondering
1) can I manually pollinate my tomatillos with one of hers?
2) should I try to take a stem cutting and root it ?(never done that)
3) if I do pollinate my tomatillos and get fruit, should I move those plants out of main garden so the plants don't take over? (pretty sure this should happen) do large tomatillo plants transplant well?
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Old June 21, 2011   #2
beefsteak
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I also am trying tomatillo for the 1st time and did not realize that you need 2, glad I planted 2, I always plant at least 2 of anything in case 1 does not make it, I realize that you could not do that, hope things turn out well for you..
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Old June 21, 2011   #3
larskyler
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I too raise tomatillos, I plant two of everything much for the same reasons as beefstake mentioned. That said I would really like to know from plant specialist if it is true you need two. I have read all kinds of conflicting data. Some say no, some say yes.

This year my tomatillo plants, two of them varied in getting started. One took off like a race horse and the other more like a mule. The race horse produced flowers and then husks before the mule did, so I know there was no cross pollination. The mule has since learned to run and it is going strong now, so now I may be getting tomatillos.

I know this does not answer your question but hopefully someone can so we both can know.
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Old June 22, 2011   #4
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From my very little knowledge is that tomatillos need a male and female plant in order to set fruit so the idea of needing two is that would be the minimum one male one female and that it is often recomended 3-5 plants to have a good mix of male and female plants.

This from the only online reader only others please post otherwise.

Craig
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Old June 22, 2011   #5
tam91
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One year I grew just two tomatillas and they worked fine. I didn't pick anything special, unless I got lucky and got a male and a female.
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Old June 22, 2011   #6
arivaraci
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I guess it can hang out and attract bees. I'll leave it where it is and if it doesn't fruit, I won't have to worry about volunteers next year.

Anyone else with any expertise please chime in...
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Old June 22, 2011   #7
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It isn't about male and female - it is that the pollen of a particular plant can't pollinate itself (like tomatoes can) - so you need two plants and the bees present to fly from one plant to the other with pollen, and vice versa. A few of my seedling customers have only one Tomatillo plant, so I am trying to root some side shoots...if it works, I will have some plants available locally (three, to be exact - and one is spoken for!)
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Old June 22, 2011   #8
arivaraci
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Craig! You have floated my limping, first time plot single handedly since it began taking on water (probably due to the fact that is way tomato heavy!). I once knew a sailor that told me that a terrible captain could easily sink a great boat, and that a great captain could blue-water a clorox bottle. So far you have steered my garden away from the rocks. Thank You! By the way, the plants I picked up from your house while ya'll were away were Aunt Ruby's green, Lucky Cross, JD's special and Black Cherry Hope you guys had a good trip!

As to my tomatillo, I would love to be able to just walk over to my neighbor's garden "grab some pollen?" and pollinate the plant myself. Is that even possible? I am sure we share bees as our gardens are only 30 yards apart. I am taking a wait and see approach. I can't tell if I am being lazy or proactive.
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Old June 22, 2011   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nctomatoman View Post
It isn't about male and female - it is that the pollen of a particular plant can't pollinate itself (like tomatoes can) - so you need two plants and the bees present to fly from one plant to the other with pollen, and vice versa. A few of my seedling customers have only one Tomatillo plant, so I am trying to root some side shoots...if it works, I will have some plants available locally (three, to be exact - and one is spoken for!)
Thanks Craig learn something new everday.

Craig
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Old June 24, 2011   #10
larskyler
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@nctomatoman

Not trying to be rude or call you out or anything, but I am a scientist and I just find it hard to believe that a plant that has both male and female parts cannot self pollinate. Now mind you I am a soils guy and not a plant guy, so if you could help me out here I would appreciate it.
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Old June 24, 2011   #11
carolyn137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larskyler View Post
@nctomatoman

Not trying to be rude or call you out or anything, but I am a scientist and I just find it hard to believe that a plant that has both male and female parts cannot self pollinate. Now mind you I am a soils guy and not a plant guy, so if you could help me out here I would appreciate it.
Below is a link to the best article I know of about Tomatillos and I've linked to it here in the tomatillo Forum before as have others.

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/p...tml#Production

Please read the section on genetic incompatibility despite the fact that the blossoms have both male and female sexual organs. And the article also mentions that a single plant can be cross pollinated by another Physalis so many meters away, I forget the exact distance.

If you click on the Tomatillo Forum you'll see several others threads and most of them discuss the issue of self incompatibility and also link to the above article.

This isn't a matter of someone being a scientist, or not, as you alluded to above, for self incompatibility is a fact. Craig is a scientist with an advanced degree, as am I, as are many who participate at Tville, but tomatillos appear to have a very advanced degree since they have done away with self pollenization despite having male and female sexual organs within a single blossom.

In some of the other threads in this Forum you'll also see that Craig has extensive experience in growing tomatillos as do some others here at Tville.

Hope that helps.
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Old June 24, 2011   #12
arivaraci
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Carolyn, That link was helpful. Since my garden is definitely close enough to my neighbors, I am going to see if some bees make the jump, fingers-crossed. Can't wait to make my pork- tomatillo recipe from my tomatillos. Hopefully this year!
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Old June 24, 2011   #13
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Thanks for the link Carolyn. Again I apologize if my post sounded rude, it was not intended to be and from what I have read on this forum I have no doubts as to some peoples credentials.
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Old June 24, 2011   #14
nctomatoman
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larskyler, self incompatability is not limited to Tomatillos...there are many apple varieties (and other fruit varieties) that can't pollenize themselves, so a pollinator is necessary.

I actually don't know of a vegetable species that comes in separate male and female versions. But if anyone does, please do tell! We are all learning here (and I am in no means an expert on anything, but like to dabble in everything!)

And by the way, arivaraci, not only do my tomatillo cutting seem to be rooting, but I do believe that the Cossack Pineapple ground cherry will provide effective pollen.....and I have a few more lingering on to give away!
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Old June 24, 2011   #15
larskyler
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Thanks for the reply nctomatoman. I knew certain plants were either male or female, ask me about my battle with avocado fruit setting , but I did not know that a plant with male and female parts could not self pollinate. Though now that I think about it, it makes sense because it would encourage genetic diversity. Again thanks.
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