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Old April 17, 2012   #1
Worth1
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Default Tomatillo Pollination The Facts?

Ok here is the deal.
I have never grown these critters ever in my life.
I purchased some the last time I was home and they just said (tomatillo)
I have possibly narrowed the variety down to Cisinaros due to the large size they said it would get.
The store in Austin (The Natural Gardener) didn't even tell people you needed at least 2 of them.
They are covered in blooms and for all I can read here and other places I get conflicting information.

I am looking for an expert such as Craig L (nctomatoman) or anyone else that has experience to tell me something.

Will a tomatillo plant pollinate another tomatillo plant, if they are the same variety?
They are all bunched together in one area and I have some I think pollinated, the husk is closed and they are not yellow and falling off.
Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

PS Fried green Tomatillos are to die for.
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Last edited by Worth1; April 17, 2012 at 03:07 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old April 17, 2012   #2
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I cant believe this thing corrected tomatillo to tomato in the title sorry.
If there is any way to fix this please do.

Worth
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Old April 17, 2012   #3
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I've grown tomatillos before that were all the same variety, and they pollinated each other and set fruit just fine, but you do need more than 1 plant to set fruit.

The husk grows first, and then the fruit grows to fill in the husk, eventually splitting it open.

It sounds like yours are doing fine so far.
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Old April 17, 2012   #4
Worth1
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Originally Posted by Neohippie View Post
I've grown tomatillos before that were all the same variety, and they pollinated each other and set fruit just fine, but you do need more than 1 plant to set fruit.

The husk grows first, and then the fruit grows to fill in the husk, eventually splitting it open.

It sounds like yours are doing fine so far.
Thank you very much Neohippie

Worth
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Old April 17, 2012   #5
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Worth, I've grown that exact tomatillo the last 4 years. I usually put two of more plants into a bucket and let nature take its course.

You can harvest them anytime you feel the husk is filled up. I usually wait til the husk splits. Anyhow, at the end of the growing season, I harvest anything left regardless of size and put them into a ziplock freezer bag and save them for fresh recipes during the winter.

You can also save the seeds from really ripe ones. The seeds are a bit of a fuss to get separated from the "meat", but you don't need many to be able to grow some next season. Some folks put tomatillos into their own little area and let them reseed themselves. This can be an "in-exact" thing that may or may not happen. I prefer the more deliberate method of sewing new seed every year.

I put them in my salsa which is really more like a picante sauce. They add some "chunky-ness" to the whole thing. The flavor is kinda neutral. Some say you must cook them, but I've eaten them "raw" without any problems.
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Old April 17, 2012   #6
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http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=362

The facts about tomatillo pollination are given in this thread, a few posts down, by Grub, link from Purdue.

Best info there is about tomatillos and I've posted the same link to Purdue many times here but didn't go searching for it today.

Hope that helps.
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Old April 17, 2012   #7
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I read this thread, and the other references. Sorry, but lost in cultivars etc. If I have one regular tomatillo, and one purple one, planted next to each other - will that work for pollination?
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Old April 17, 2012   #8
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I read this thread, and the other references. Sorry, but lost in cultivars etc. If I have one regular tomatillo, and one purple one, planted next to each other - will that work for pollination?
Yes, but you are at a very high risk of cross pollination. The initial fruit will be okay, but subsequent seasons will reveal the crosses. I had Cisneros and Purple in the same area (really only two feet apart) and while they did okay that year, the next year, I had some large fruit with only some streaky purple coloring, pointing to an obvious cross.
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Old April 17, 2012   #9
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Interesting, striped ones sound cool actually. I wasn't planning to save seed, not this year anyway - I bought the plants on a whim and don't know exactly what variety they are. But if I like the purple ones, I might find some good purple tomatillo seed for next year.

Or - is there just one purple? Is it an heirloom or a hybrid?
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Old April 20, 2012   #10
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Speaking of pollination.....if I don't see any bees, which i read the bees will come running with no problems, How would you actually help out pollination?(paint brush?)
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Old April 20, 2012   #11
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Learned my tomatillo lesson the hard way...have to have two or more. I grow Toma Verde and Purple...don't save seed from them myself, so don't know about crossing. As for bees....they usually come in DROVES to my tomatillo plants.
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Old April 20, 2012   #12
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How far apart would you say the green has to be from the purple to make sure they don't cross?

4 purple, 4 green
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Old April 20, 2012   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolynPhillips View Post
How far apart would you say the green has to be from the purple to make sure they don't cross?

4 purple, 4 green
I dont know anything but my guess would be a mile or so with bees around.

After my rosemary stopped blooming I dont have any bees.
I do know that when the squash and cucumbers bloom they will be back.
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Old April 20, 2012   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntoften View Post
Learned my tomatillo lesson the hard way...have to have two or more. I grow Toma Verde and Purple...don't save seed from them myself, so don't know about crossing. As for bees....they usually come in DROVES to my tomatillo plants.
I felt sorry for all of those folks I saw buying just one tomatillo plant.

I couldn't hang around and tell everyone but I could have spoken to the people that run the place so they could have put up a sign.

I wish I would have now but what the devil, people need to do their research.
With computers and smart phones everywhere there just isn't hardly an excuse.
I use my phone all of the time at the nursery, one of the few good things I like about it.

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Old April 20, 2012   #15
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Great topic, Worth.

My single tomatillo got gigantic last year, didn't bear a single fruit. I learned late about the self-infertility thing, so I tried propagating a second plant from a cutting. As soon as the cutting became large enough to bloom, the season ended. Looking back, I wish I would have researched rather than buying on impulse.

Aphids loved the plants, I think it fed a whole colony of ants the entire summer. This year, I'm staying on top of the aphids.

I have two green tomatillo plants from the nursery (unsure of the variety) and several purple ones I started from seed. I noticed the nursery topped the plants they had, so that two lower chutes would grow up. I'm curious if there was any particular reason they did that and if I should do the same with the purple variety.

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