Tomatillos

joeorganictomatoes(6A)October 22, 2013

I recently went into my local food market and saw these on sale (green ones LOL variety?) and purchased two. Wow what an interesting taste. "Quite yummy" Now my question. I did some research and found "Tomatillos are not self pollinating. Is this true for all of the varieties? I just received a seed catalog which had 3 varieties ( Cisineros, De Milpa and Purple) for sale and nothing was mentioned about them not being self-pollinating. I'd love to grow them but have very limited space. Any feedback on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Correct, they are not self pollenizing, but you don't have to grow two different varieties, just 2 or more plants of the same variety.

You're one of the first who has said you like them raw b'c most folks use then almost exclusively for salsa. ( smile)

Carolyn

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:16PM
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joeorganictomatoes(6A)

Thanks Carolyn for your input. Now I'm really confused because I just received an email from the vendor offering these varieties and she told me they were self-pollinators. Hmmm where do I go from here? Guess I'll have to send out more emails to other seed suppliers. I'm also wondering if only certain varieties are self-pollinators. This is what "Wiki" has to say, "Tomatillo plants are highly self-incompatible, and two or more plants are needed for proper pollination" Ahh I love semantics!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:45PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Correct, they are not self pollenizing,
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

INCORRECT: they are self compatible and self pollinating. I have proven that "NOT SELF POLLINATING" claim is wrong.

I heard that in 2009. Then I went and bought just ONE plant. It took a while but it did eventually fruit. This was in ATL, GA.

This year again,(in Seattle WA) I bought just ONE plant. Planted it around late May-early June. It kept flowering like crazy but no husks. The tag said something like "Mexican strain". I thought, well, it is not for the PNW. Come September, suddenly it burst into husks.(Johny come too lately !). So what happen was (I think) that by September our daylight length decreased fro 16 hours to about 12.5 hours. I think it was /is sentimental to day length.

The hypothesis of high temperatures, lack of bees, cold weather all have been proven false. It is something about tomatillo that is hard to figure out.
Right now sees that it is loving even cooler weather like peppers.

Her a picture I took about a week ago.

This post was edited by seysonn on Tue, Oct 22, 13 at 15:04

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 2:52PM
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joeorganictomatoes(6A)

Great news...thanks seysonn for the info and great pic. What variety is that one shown?. I'm hoping to germinate 2 varieties this Spring and plant them in large pots! I love the unique taste.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 3:03PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Below is the best link I know for all things tomatillo. If you do a general Google search on tomatillos you'll find that Purdue U has been very active in this area.

In the link at the very bottom go to production and you'll see thefollowing:

self incompatible

pollination by insects

And most important for those who say that only one plant is enough, and many have felt that to be true,is the following:

Cross pollination with other cultivars ( that means other tomatillo varieties) or other Physalis ( that means anything in the Physalis genus), is possible if closer than 500 m (that means meters).

And just noting that there many many members of the Physalis genus.

Up to 90 different species in the genus physalis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis

Hope that helps.

Carolyn

Here is a link that might be useful: tomatillo culture

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 4:29PM
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joeorganictomatoes(6A)

Thanks Carolyn for the info and the link! I had just finished ordering 2 different varieties from Seed Savers when I received and read it. Oh well, at this point I'm just going to see what happens. It will be my little experiment for 2014! I'm new to the "hobby" of growing tomatoes and to me it is just that. Thank you (and seysonn) so much .for taking your time to help me with this issue. The members of Garden Web for the most part are soo helpful. i can't remember how i found this site but I'm so thankful that i did! HAGD and just remember "Spring is just around the corner" !

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 5:29PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Well, I just said what I have experimented with JUST one plant that has produce fruits. This has happened TWICE. The latest is still in my garden.

As far are other Tomatillo plants being around where I garden, there are no gardeners in the vicinity(as far away as I can tell). Even if it has been the reason It is hard to believe that the plant did not fruit even ONE for almost 3 months then suddenly burst into husks. Almost every flower grew husk. There are husks at the branches at the lowest point touching the ground, under top branches.. If there were just a few fruit I could suspect that the pollin came from another plant but it has maybe over 100 fruits at this point even at the hidden parts of the plant.

Another thing is that bee population had been there during those 3 summer months and actually after September, with cool and rainy weather there have been no bees around.

CONCLUSION:

The scientist in the report just mentioned that tomatilos are SELF INCOMPATIBLE,

in my search I found another description as quoted below:

>>""Tomatillo plants are HIGHLY self-incompatible, and two or more plants are needed for proper pollination. Thus, isolated tomatillo plants RARELY set fruit.""Apparently it is not as rare. My to back to back experiment have proved it.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 4:07AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

It doesn't have to be another tomatillo plant around,it just has to be another species of Physlis of which there are almost 100 of them,within 500 meters.

Bees are not the only insects that can pollinate.

There was not one scientist who wrote that report as you said above, there were three and there are many other links in the general Google search.And as I also said above, Purdue has a specialized group of scientists who specialize in tomatillos.

Yes, it is rare that one plant sufffices, you just got lucky that two years in a row that one was OK,probably the blossoms pollinated by that Physalis(others speciies) down the street from you. (wink)

You know ,I'm getting the feeling that if say the sun comes up in the East that you'd say it sometimes,but rarely, comes up in the West, based on our exchanges here at GW.LOL

Carolyn

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 10:19AM
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joeorganictomatoes(6A)

LOL....pretty interesting exchanges going on here. Penny from Penny's Tomatoes claims you only need one plant to produce fruit. I'm not a whiz on pollination but if one plant is producing a hundred fruit that's a heck of a lot of pollen floating in the air and 2 years in a row...What are the odds of that happening? I'd say that's more than just luck. Anyway, I'm going to plant 2. One in the front yard and one behind my house and see what happens. Carolyn have you ever grown a tomatillo? If not and you have the room why not try and we will all compare notes at the end of the season. Sounds like a fun to me. LOL I'm hoping I can germinate the seeds to begin this. HAGD everyone! Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 11:28AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

It doesn't have to be another tomatillo plant around,it just has to be another species of Physlis of which there are almost 100 of them,within 500 meters.

Bees are not the only insects that can pollinate.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1) But not all those scientists studied and commented the pollination issue. Then again, scientists can go wrong too.

2) I also quoted other scientists who have NOT ruled out self compatibility.

3) If tomatillos HAD to be pollinated every time, from another plants they would go through a constant x-pollination and you would see 1000s of tomatillo varieties.
That is not the case. I wonder why this(Pollin transpot by insects) did not happened for 3 months ?

When I bough and planted my Tomatillo, it was about 10". And had couple of flowers on it that I pinched. But soon after it kept flowering. It looked like a beautiful flower plants all summer long. I was tempted a few times just to pull it but I restrained myself to see what will come next. At one point around early august I finally found JUST ONE husk growing. But No more till September.

4) The insect issue (bringing pollins from miles away and pollinating more than 100 flowers) does not sound logical. It is possible to happen to one or two not to ove 100 flowers at various stage.
I am talking about my living experience and not hypothizing.

ANOTHER NOTE:
I have read (in some other threads some time ago), people have the same problem (not getting pollinated / fruits) with two or more plants, for a long time then it hits with a bang.

This post was edited by seysonn on Wed, Oct 23, 13 at 22:05

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 7:37PM
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joeorganictomatoes(6A)

Thanks again seysoon for your response. I'm going to try and grow 2 different varieties, Dr. Wyche's Yellow OG and Green Husk OG in different locations. The Green produces fruit within 70 -80 days and the Yellow in 90 - 100 days. You have grown the plant and I don't believe luck had anything to do the pollination of it nor insects etc. Here's hoping but either way I will post my results! Take care!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 8:10PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

you are welcome Joe.
There is also a blue husked variety.
is 70 -80 days from germination or plant out?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 2:52AM
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John11840(z6/CT)

I grew tomatillos this year for the first time. I received the seed in a trade. The plants were very prolific (I had 2), but the fruit were marble size and totally useless. What varietie(s) do I look for to get regular size tomatillos like I see in the store?
John A

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 10:14AM
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