Can You Plant Tomatillos Next to Tomatoes at a Garden?

Even though the tomatillo plant (Physalis ixocarpa) and the tomato plant (Lycopersicon esculentum) might have similar names, they’re very distinct plants with different fruits. The tomatillo produces small yellow or green fruits enclosed in a papery covering known as a husk, while strawberries are husk-free and usually red, and larger than tomatillos. Both plants have been grown as annuals in all portions of the U.S. and you can successfully develop them side by side on your garden, as long as you listen to a few gaps in their cultural needs.

Picking a Site

You can begin both tomatoes and tomatillos from seeds indoors, beginning 8 or 6 weeks prior to placing seedlings in the garden, or you can purchase seedlings of plant at a garden center. Put them at the garden after land has warmed to at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit, picking a site that gets full sun for at least 6 to 8 hours every single day, a must for good fruit production. Avoid a place where soil tends to stay soggy after a rain, because tomato and tomatillo plants need well-drained soil to thrive. You may develop both tomatillos and tomatoes in pots on a warm patio or porch, but choose determinate types of tomatoes — these stop getting taller by mid-season– or miniature tomato cultivars, and maintain tomatoes and tomatillos in separate pots for best results.

Spacing and Water

Tomatoes and tomatillos need similar spacing between plants, about 2 to 3 feet, which gives every plant enough space to spread without crowding. An even and regular water supply facilitates greatest growth and fruit production, and neither plant tolerates drought well. Approximately 1 to 2 inches of water each week is ideal, including rain, so supply the plants with additional water during dry spells. Mulching tomatoes and tomatillos using 2 or 3 inches of straw or shredded bark also will help keep soil moisture, while suppressing growth of weeds that compete with water.

Soil Nutrients

Healthy seedlings do not require fertilization till they’ve started to blossom and put fruits, but you can improve your soil’s general fertility by adding several inches of compost into your soil at planting, mixing it in well with a garden fork. Both plants yield the most fruit when they’re fertilized during fruit production. For every single 100-foot row of strawberries, mix approximately 5 lbs of a 10-10-10 fertilizer into a shallow trench with the row when the first fruits are approximately one-third grown, provide another identical feeding two weeks after choosing the first fruit, and do so again 1 month later. For tomatillos, gently mix about 1/2 cup of a 5-10-10 fertilizer into the soil around each plant after choosing the first fruits to encourage continued flowering. Because tomatoes are heavier feeders compared to tomatillos, it’s best to plant them at side rows, so that it is possible to fertilize them individually.

Other Problems

Tomatoes are self-fertile, so you can select a great deal of fruit from a single plant, but the tomatillo plant does not share this attribute, therefore plant at least 2 tomatillos at a good harvest. Tomatillo plants typically become three or four feet tall, though some strawberries can be 5 or 6 feet tall, depending on the cultivar, and plants tend to sprawl on the ground since they grow if they’re not supported. Contact with the ground promotes spoiling and rotting of fruit, therefore both plants benefit from staking or growing in cages. The plants are also prone to the same insect insects — aphids, cucumber beetles and other leaf-eaters — that could damage leaf and lessen fruiting. Spray plants with insecticidal soap to control these insects, diluting 6 tablespoons in 1 gallon of water. Spray until the plants have been dripping wet and repeat every 2 weeks as required.

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