This year I grew pineapple tomatillos (really more of a ground cherry than a tomatillo) for the first time ever. I love growing strange plants that I've never tried. These are true to their name and do taste like pineapple. They made some great fresh salsa over the summer. Since tomatillos can keep for months if left in their husks I could collect the little bits they gave over time and combine them.
- April 3rd, seeded in soil blocks, used heat mat to germinate
- April 14th-16th germinated - only half germinated
- May 14th transplanted
- July 26th first harvest
I had two plants and harvested 2.6lbs of fruit for an average yeild of 1.3lbs per plant.
I've found all tomatillos attract cucumber beetles to the garden. That is the bad news. The good news is that they make a great trap crop. I hand pick them every day during the height of the cucumber beetle seasons. If you plant them on the other side of the garden from your cucumbers, the cucumbers will be ignored. My biggest pest were the chipmunks. They love tomatillos. Bird netting around the plant discouraged them, but didn't totally prevent loss of fruit. I probably lost half of what they produced. They got no diseases and grew very well.
My biggest mistake with them is to let them sprawl. They can grow several feet from the main stem if you let them. Caging would have been much better. It would have raised the fruit up so I could see it better. It would allow me to see the ripe fruit better. The fruit is ripe when it falls to the ground, but they get knocked off easily when rooting through the plant for ripe ones.
I probably won't grow this again anytime soon. I liked it, but I have limited space in the solanaceae bed. Next year I'd like to grow a couple of real tomatillos (P. ixocarpa instead of P. pruinosa).
As for eggplant, I didn't think it deserved its own post. I'm not going to grow them again I think. I didn't even eat the ones I got from my plants. I gave them away. I'm not an eggplant lover. Last year they did so much better. This cold wet year was not the year for eggplants. From four plants I got barely got over a pound. Part of the problem was that my pole beans on the other side of the path had started shading the plants so I ripped them out at the end of August in hopes of spinach. The solanaceae bed will be better used for tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos.