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Tomatillo flowers falling off?

                                  


Joined: Jan 14, 2011
Posts: 5
Hello!

I have a tomatillo plant that has been flowering like crazy for a couple months now, but the flowers after opening just rot and fall off.  It's been pretty mild here in Oregon until this last week or so, and now it's in the 80's, about 65ish at night. It also acquired powdery mildew recently when it'd been overcast for about a week.

I'm reading now that tomatillos need a companion to pollinate. That hadn't been a problem at our last house, but I think our neighbors were growing them as well so the bees could've pollinated from their plants.

Thoughts? I think we're going to move the plant (gasp!) to a better location tomorrow...
Leila Rich
steward

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3890
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
    
  80
I had a solitary tomatillo last year. Dropping blossoms, no fruit. Then I found out about the cross-pollination thing.
Is there another tomatillo at the 'better location' ? I don't imagine it'll be worth your while moving the plant if there isn't.
Baking soda and diluted milk are quite effective on the early stages of powdery mildew if sprayed on really thoroughly and repeatedly.
PM always  defeats my cucurbits by season's end and I generally just let it go, but it's still pretty early over there isn't it?
Actually, are other plants showing symptoms? A brutal, yet practical option might be to cut your losses and chuck the lone tomatillo on the compost if it's a PM carrier, with no likelihood of producing.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
your problem is lower temps. tomatillos set better fruit in the heat. also if you feel like it. whenever you walk by in the morning give the plant a light shake. this helps disperse pollen. we used to plant tomatillos way back in march every year in our greenhouse. and every year after the first year, our volunteer tomatillos would start mid june, and always outproduce the ones we started way early by the end of the year. ive learned that they just like the heat.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
                                  


Joined: Jan 14, 2011
Posts: 5
We decided to just compost it after all. I'm sad about it, but it would've been more work to make that one healthy than to just buy a couple new plants. I think instead we're going to use that space for more peppers and squashes.

The strange thing is, I have a friend a couple miles away whose tomatillo plants are LOADED with huge, nearly-ripe tomatillos. I'm going to grow them next year, but put them in a much better area of the garden.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
get some seed from your friend. one fruit contains hundreds of seeds. i find that if you disperse the seeds where you want them to grow. they will germinate when the temps get right and will outgrow pre started plants by a long shot. the semi volunteer plants are extremely hardy to drought too.
Marissa Little


Joined: Jun 27, 2011
Posts: 63
I've grown a sole tomatillo plant before at my house.  Never had a problem with not producing - thus the only growing one as they produce a TON of fruit.

When planting them on our farm, we struggle mightily to get them to produce.  The soil is too acid.  But if you've grown them successfully before, that may not be your issue.  But something to think about.  Ours behaved the exact same way until we started dumping dolomitic limestone on them.


Marissa
Sand Holler Farm
Dale TX
Leila Rich
steward

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3890
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
    
  80
That's great to know they produce on their own; after mine didn't, everything I read said they needed 'friends'.
Looks like it was probably a temperature issue for me.
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
they also dont like fertile soil and lots of water. they do best when growing with the rest of the "weeds"
 
 
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