Now Sowing: Tomatillo

When to plant

January-April (start seeds inside) and July-August (sow outside)

Borrow seeds from the Library

Check out tomatillo seeds 

About Tomatillo

Common Name:  Tomatillo

Scientific Name: Physalis philadelphica

Seed Saving Level: Advanced


Seeds can be planted indoors for starts after January. When ready to plant in the summer, sow new seeds or starts in full sun. Plant multiple plants because tomatillos are not self-pollinating. They need pollinators to transfer pollen between plants in order for the flowers to fruit.


Harvest when the husks turn tan and papery and the fruit is bright green. Typically around 75-100 days after sowing.

Seed Saving

Select fruits from as many plants as possible.  Remove the paper husks and place the berries in a blender or food processor with enough water to cover them. When totally blended, empty contents into a large bowl. Add enough water to double the mixture, stir vigorously and allow seeds to settle to bottom. Gently pour off debris. Add more water and repeat until only clean seeds and water remain. Clean seeds and pour into a strainer. Set out to dry on a paper towel.


  • Complete Guide to Saving Seeds (2011) by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough
  • Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners (2002) by Suzanne Ashworth

Recipe:  Salsa Verde Cruda (Raw Green Tomatillo Salsa)


  • 1/2 pound tomatillos (about 5 or 6), husked, well rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped, including seeds
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped white onion
  • 1 tsp roughly chopped garlic
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro, thick stem ends removed
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste                              


Starting with the tomatillos, put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor, then process to a smooth consistency. The salsa should be quite thick, so don’t be tempted to add water to thin it.

Source: La Cocina Mexicana by Marilyn Tausend with Ricardo Muñoz Zurita