Tomatillos

I am extremely frustrated trying to grow these. I planted two this year, side-by-side, because I had heard they needed more than one for pollination. Both have grown well, look healthy, and have hundreds of blooms with lots of bees visiting, but n'er a fruit. I am in East Texas so I'm sure the weather is warm enough. Any ideas?
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On Wed, 17 Aug 2005, Jim Ferguson wrote:

Might be temperature. It needs to be around 55-75 F as I understand. It might be too hot for the moment, so maybe just wait. Mine continuously bloomed and dropped the flowers without fruit a month before they finally started making fruit from flowers. I am way up Sweden and having great success at comparatively lower temperatures. In fact, my plants outdoors are thus far yielding more fruit than in the greehouse. I am doing artificial pollination in both cases.
Regarding bees, if the tomatillo is anything like tomato, then common honeybees may not be a very good pollinator. Bumble bees I am told are better. Thus far, artificial pollination seems to be working. In this case, I place a children's paintbrush below the flower, shake the flower until the pollen falls onto the brush and then move the brush in front of a flower on another plant and then pull back on the brush and flick the pollen onto the flower. This works very efficiently in my hands despite the claim of some sources on the web that this is very inefficient. Clearly the flowers a fragile and easily damaged. My technique does not involve any physical contact between brush and flower, which might explain the difference. One can also envision that since the only useful destination for the pollen is on the actual pestile to fertilize the ovules, pollen ending up on the flower petals, etc will accomplish nothing, so your goal is to get the pollen right onto the pestiles.
Also, one thing I just learned from a friend who is a botanist is to just pluck the anthers from flowers and put them in a small container and let them dry out there and they will break open. Normally, the anthers of these plants "secrete" pollen from deeper down in the flower, so you can only access a little at a time from the surface. Plucking apparently gives you a lot more for tomato and tomatillo type plants. Apparently it is common knowledge that the pollen is quite hardy.
Dominic
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