Tomatillo question

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Does anyone here have any experience growing tomatillos? I've read about them, and everything I read says they grow from 3-4 feet tall. Problem: Mine are already 3 feet tall and just exploding, I can't believe how fast they are growing! They are bigger then my tomatoes, and I planted them at the same time. At this rate, they will easily hit 6+ feet by the end of summer.
The reason I'm asking is that I'm building tellises for my tomatoes, and I'm making them 7.5 feet tall (because last year they outgrew the 5 foot fence and the weight of the plants knocked it over. I'm wondering if I should go ahead and make the tomatillo trellis the same size - I probably will since I'm mass producing the tomatoe trellises. But I'd like to hear from anyone who has grown tomatillos.
And tonight I'll post pics of my tomatillo infestation. OMG, I have thousands of them growing wild, and some of the volunteer ones are 2 feet tall and growing fast, it breaks my heart to pull them out. They make good weed control, because there are no weeds in my garden that can keep up with the wild tomatillos.
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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

First of all, any time you see size numbers for plants, they are rough guidelines. I bought two lovage plants last year. Mine grows to six feet tall. I gave the other one to a friend and in her garden, also in full sun, hers grows three feet tall. There are lots of reasons why, none worth worrying about. Be happy that the plants are happy.
Now: Take a look at the tomato cage pictures at the link below. Trellises smellises. Any self-respecting tomato plant will destroy a trellis, especially when thunderstorms include major wind.
http://s27.photobucket.com/albums/c197/ancientangler/
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My tomatillos are about as happy as can be, judging by the way they are exploding out of the ground. My tomatoes are likewise exploding upwards, along with my squash. Last year I put plants too close together, and had a forest of spindly plants. This year I'm giving them more room.
My "trellises" are made from 1" x 1/2" x 8' wood, screwed into a 8' x 8' grid with 1 5/8 long #8 screws. They are fairly sturdy, but I don't know ultimately if they will be strong enough. I guess time will tell. If they don't hold up, next year I'll use heavier wood and more cross braces, maybe stake the corners if necessary. I do like your 'cages', however - very nice. How deep into the ground do you drive the stakes? They look like they could get to be a bit top heavy. I made my trellis 8' tall, and each pair is screwed together at the top, and the bases are about 4-5 feet apart. They lean into each other, hence my description of being 7 1/2 feet tall. I'll post pics later.
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"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

In the pictures, those are eight foot poles driven 1-1/2 to 2 feet into the ground. In my previous garden, the ground was tougher, so I used metal fencing posts because I needed to be able to really pound on them with a sledge hammer. Either way, the cages have proven themselves over a period of 25-30 years. No matter how strong the wind, they've never blown over.
By the way, without the beer in the photo, the entire project will fail. You must have a beer nearby in order to make those cages correctly.
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I don't drink, but I think you can substitute Mt. Dew for the beer in my case :-)
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Been reading all about your crops of tomatillos. What else besides Green Salsa do you make with them? I have some coming next month from TX. and have noi idea what to do with them. I know about the salsa and would like to plant some but never saw one, where would I look to propogate the lefotvers?
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I make cooked green sauce, which we all like very much. My son inhales it by the gallon (or so it seems <g>). I also use them in fresh salsa. You can use them to replace part or all of the tomatoe in many salsa recipes, or just to supplement it. I have taken 3 parts tomatillos, 1 part onion, 1 small jalapeno, small handful of fresh cilantro, a sprinkle of salt, and a squirt of lime juice. Chop it up, stir. Best dang fresh green salsa you've hever had. Eat with tortillo chips, slop it over beans or eggs or many other dishes. Nuuuuummmm.... :) This year I'm growing more of them (not on purpose), and I'm going to try to make some tomatillo jam.
As for growing them, I grow them just like tomatoes, and alongside my tomatoes. They need staking as they will fall over otherwise. The only thing I would suggest is to not let them drop their fruit on the ground. I did that last fall, and now I have literally thousands of volunteers growing all over my garden. I'll post some pics later tonight, I still have 2 trellises to go, then need to trim and tie the toms and tomatillos, mow the grass, finish watering, move the playset we are trying to get painted....it never ends...

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Ook wrote:

One important difference from tomatoes: tomatillos are self-sterile. You have to plant at least 2 to get any fruit.
I have 3 volunteer tomatillos that I dug up and transplanted into big tomato cages. They are about 2 feet tall and blooming now. I didn't grow tomatillos last year, but i grew them 2 years ago.
Bob
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Seriously? It can fertilize the plant next to it, but not itself? Huh...learn something new every day :)

Mine are 2-3 feet tall now, and started blooming at about 2 feet in height. At 6 inches you can see little buds. If anyone is interested, here are some pics of my humble weed and tomatillo infested garden, including my first try at homebuilt tomatoe trellises. If you look closely, you can see the volunteer tomatillos in many of the pictures.
FWIW - I made the trellises out of 3/4" x 1 1/2" x 8' wood. The tags on the wood call them 1X2. Huh - HTH do you get 1 X 2 out of 3/4 X 1.5?
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Have you made Jalapeno Jelly? It is wonderful with bagels and cream cheese.
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I did last year, but I didn't like it. Do you have a good recipe that you would like to share? I made it years ago and it was quite good, I just don't care for the recipe I used last time.

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I don't right now. I made it once and never again. Nobody liked it but me. I think I called the company that makes the pectic and got it from them. I will look online for you.
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Jalapeno Jam Jelly and Preserves Recipes
Ingredients: 3 medium green peppers 2 jalapeno peppers (2- inch size) 1 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar 6 1/2 cups sugar 1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 6 ounces Certo liquid pectin lots green food coloring or red.
Directions:
Seed and coarsely chop green peppers. Seed and chop jalapeno peppers wearing rubber gloves. Combine peppers in food processor and puree. Add 1 cup vinegar and blend thoroughly. Transfer to deep saucepan and add remaining vinegar, sugar and cayenne pepper, blending well. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently. Stir in pectin and continue to boil one minute longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Pour into sterilized jars to seal.
NOTES : It is important to make sure that the peppers are about medium in size and only 3 are used. To many peppers will add to much liquid and the jelly will not set.
This recipe for Jalapeno Jelly serves/makes 6 half-pints.
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That is a ton of sugar, but not the same as the one I used - it also calls for a lot of sugar, but I think called for more green peppers. I'll print it off and put it in my recipe book and give it a shot. Thanks! :)

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You don't have much to lose. Jelly usually has a lot of sugar.
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Where do you live? On the east coast we have Christmastree shops. They carry it there.
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Lebanon, Oregon. 60 minutes from the Pacific ocean :)

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http://www.christmastreeshops.com /
Nope, none in your area.
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You can make a succotash or whatever you want to call it. Take any combination of tomatillos, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, corn, onions, garlic, etc and cook in a pan.
As for growing them, ours are roughly the size of our tomatoes (but this our first year growing them, so I don't know exactly how big they'll end up). I use commercial tomato cages (I like the folding ones, for easier winter storage), which are roughly like the photos which were posted here but not quite as big/sturdy. Seem to work OK.
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Thanks for the suggestions. Sounds a lot better that that succotash my Husband favors with limas and corn? That turns me off. It's a guy thing I think. Your mix sounds yummy. I will give it a try. Thanks.
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