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Kitchen Gardening

Regional Picks: Best Edibles – Southwest

Fine Gardening - Issue 131

1. Purple Tomatillo

Maturity: 80 to 90 days

Yield: 5 to 15 pounds of fruit per plant

Needs: Full sun; rich, loose soil (but will tolerate heavy clay soil)

A gorgeous addition to any garden, tomatillos can become small trees if the conditions are right, so plan accordingly. Planted in late spring through early summer, purple tomatillo is a stout, upright plant with yellow flowers, and produces husk-covered purple fruit. Sweeter than green varieties, the 2-inch-long fruit are a vivid addition to salsa. Fruit are ripe when they break through the husk, showing their purple skin. If there’s a threat of frost, be sure to pick even husk-covered fruit; slightly underripe fruit can still be used as you would use mature fruit, though they are not as sweet. Plants can become brittle as they mature and fill with heavy fruit, so be careful when harvesting or working around them.


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