The good news is that if you’ve ever grown tomatoes from seed, you already know how to grow tomatillos from seed! Who knew? It’s a good thing to keep in mind if you want to try growing tomatillos from seed this year. You can even grow purple tomatillos if you want to add some extra color to your vegetable garden! Our favorite ways to use tomatillos from our gardens are to make tomatillo salsa or salsa verde.
How to grow tomatillos from seed
Growing tomatillos from seed is pretty easy. They are fast growing plants, but it takes them a long time to produce mature tomatillos. So, generally it’s best to start tomatillo seeds indoors rather than sowing them directly into the garden.
This year, in addition to growing the regular green tomatillos, I’m growing purple tomatillos from seed too. I’m super excited about it! I can’t wait to see if there’s a difference in flavor between the green and the purple tomatillos. Don’t worry, growing purple tomatillos from seed is the same as growing the green ones.
When to plant tomatillo seeds
Start tomatillo seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before your last frost date. If you live in a warm climate with a long growing season, you could sow the seeds directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed.
Planting tomatillo seeds
The rule of thumb for sowing seeds is to plant the seed twice as deep as it is wide (or twice as deep as the diameter of the seed). Tomatillo seeds are really small, so don’t plant them very deep – they only need to be planted 1/8″ – 1/4″ deep.
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To plant tomatillo seeds, you can either make shallow holes in the middle of the seed cells, drop the seeds in, and cover with soil. Or you can place the tomatillo seeds on top of the soil, and then gently tease them into the dirt with a pencil. Once all of your tomatillo seeds are sown, water them well and keep the soil evenly moist (but not soggy) until the seeds start to grow. Adding bottom heat will help tomatillo seeds sprout faster.
Caring for tomatillo seedlings
Once they sprout, tomatillo seedlings grow pretty fast and are very prone to growing long and leggy. To avoid this, be sure to hang a grow light a few inches above the seedlings as soon as they start to sprout. A sunny windowsill won’t give tomatillo seedlings enough light.
Tomatillo seedlings like their soil kept evenly moist, never allow the soil to dry out completely. You can begin watering with a weak dose of fertilizer once your tomatillo seedlings have started to grow their true leaves.
If your tomatillo seedlings outgrow the seed cells, you can pot them up into larger containers to give them more room to grow. Tomatillo seedlings can be planted into your garden after all chance of frost has passed in the spring (at the same time as you plant your tomatoes). Just be sure to harden tomatillo seedlings off before planting them into your garden.
More information about growing plants from seed…
- 3 seed starting methods every gardener should try
- Repotting seedlings 101
- Seed starting: Grow lights versus sunny windowsills
- Choosing vegetable seeds for garden success
- How long do seeds last?
Do you grow tomatillos from seed? What tips would you add?