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Growing Organic Tomatillos

I've never seen organic tomatillos for sale in any market so I'm wondering if this is the reason, every time I have tried to grow them, at harvest time each one has a tiny hole near the stem and a worm inside. This year I planted 6 green and 6 purple plants which are loaded with fruit all with worms in them. I'm very disappointed. I really am an organic gardener and never use anything on my crops. I make my own compost and don't use any purchased fertilizer. I have just bought a remineralizing soil booster since I had a little trouble with blossom end rot on the early tomatoes and some summer squash and I understand this can be a calcium deficiency. I'd appreciate any suggestions on how to stop the worms.

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

I think you can use diatomaceous earth or BT and still qualify as "organic"?

You need to do something to control the worms if you want some fruit. On the other hand the worms are edible too. :lol:

Super Green Thumb
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

Yes, DE and BT are organic treatments. So are chickens, who may (I stress *may* since I don't have chickens) eat the worms or the worm cocoons in their foraging. But, to protect your plants, a "chicken tractor" would be recommended; this restrains the territory over which the birds can roam as they overturn the ground, searching for those worm cocoons and other delights.

Soap sprays; garlic sprays; vinegar sprays (but be careful: vinegar is an herbicide!)--all these are organic, too. But without knowing what kind of worms we're talking about here, it's difficult to know what to suggest.

I suggest that, when you harvest the tomatillos, you soak them in a sink of slightly salted water. The salt will "encourage" the critters to flee the vegetables, whereupon you can send them (the critters) down the drain and rinse your now-critter-free veggies. I use this method on difficult-to-wash leafy greens like kale, chard, and broccoli, where aphids like to hide. The slightly salted water (I'm talking about 1 tsp. in a 6-inch-deep sink) simply isn't to their liking, and they emerge from the veggies, looking for anyplace else. :twisted:

Oh, did I mention warm water? And my sink is maybe half-size of some folks' sinks; it's a divided sink. So if you need to use a dishpan to soak your veggies, that's about the size of my sink.

Give it a try; it can't hurt (you rinse off all the salt) and may help. :)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Greener Thumb
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Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

smallish black worms? have had a few of them on fallen physalis of several kinds...

never had any problems with tomatillos before they fall, though, and we're totally organic. og tomatillos at our local food coop available, too.

sorry I'm no help for your worm issue.

Super Green Thumb
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You may try fruit socks like they use on apples. Footies are a cheaper substitute. I will be trying shoe store socks on some of my fruit trees next year.

Something like this.

Should also work for the Hornworm.


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Greener Thumb
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Location: N. California

We don't even Plant tomatillos anymore they plant themselves, and we are far beyond organic. Food forest grown produce is less susceptible to pests and disease. Even though it was a dry year were getting a bumper crop of tomatillos. I have never had a worm problem with the fruit. Or bug problem, hell the deer won't even touch them.

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