A Tale of Two Tomatillos

This is the tomatillo section of my garden. They have kind of taken over 1/2 – 1/3 of my wee gardening space. Next year I’m getting a community garden plot. My garden was probably 1 (mmaaayyybe two) rows at best this year, in terms of size/space. Underneath them is one poorly growing tomato plant, an eggplant, basil, and watermelon (I think it died, though – you can kind of see it looping on the fence on the far right).

While the plants underneath might not be doing so well, the tomatillos have been looking pretty productive.

These were the first two fruits of my labor! Woo hoo! I think I spent about $80 getting my feet wet with gardening this year. Hopefully next year won’t be as expensive since I have many seeds left over.
These tomatillos don’t get husks that hug and split like most tomatillos do. For the most part, the husks stay a few milimeters away from the fruit itself, and don’t turn all that brown or dry.

The one in front is pretty big for a tomatillo, and the one in the back is smaller. After I took this picture, I decided to open up the tomatillos since a) they were there, b) I’ve never had one before, and c) they looked like gift wrapped presents. Things did not go so well, and now I am hesitant about opening up any future tomatillos I get from my garden.

I peeled back the husk and noticed some dirt, and… OH GROSS! Three earwigs scuttled to the back of the husk from the edges of where I’d opened it.

Naturally, I had a mature and calm reaction:

It was really all one phrase “ohfuckbugs!” when I shouted and dropped the tomatillos on my foyer stairs (my apartment’s kind of weird). There should be another comma in there too, but when you see a bunch of earwigs that you realize are IN YOUR HAND, you don’t really consider grammar to be a priority.

They landed on the bottom step and first one, then two, and then what I thought was the final third came out. I grabbed a CD that was laying on the floor next to me (I also don’t keep my apartment that tidy… which turned out to be a good thing in this case) and started whacking at them.

I learned that earwigs are really hard to kill.

Especially when 10 more start pouring out of the small tomatillo!!! Where the hell did they all come from?! THEY WERE JUST IN MY HAND. GROSS!!

I shouted to Albany John (reinforcements). I didn’t want earwigs all over my house since I couldn’t kill them all, and he ran into the kitchen and grabbed a knife and started killing them all with me. It’s the little moments we share that I cherish.

Even with two people, 13+ earwigs are really hard to kill. They try to scurry away and gross up some other section of your house, so you have to whack and chop at them pretty quickly.

Man, after my tirade against moths, I think I might be coming off as some kind of psychotic killer fueled by bug rage. WHICH I AMMM! I’mma chop you, bugs! Get outta my ’tillos!!!

After the earwig slaughter, I washed them off… thoroughly. I mean, you need to wash tomatillos well any way, since they have a greasy coating to them, but I was washing them more to get the bug cooties off of them. Eugh.

They look much nicer all washed off and FREE OF GROSS-ASS BUGS.

I haven’t had any more earwig infested tomatillo problems, but I still open them over the sink now. It would be way easier to drown all of those earwigs in one go than scrambling to kill them all on one step with a CD.

  1. You & AlbanyJohn should have an insect assassination business

  2. grace said:

    ha. love the narration-by-pictures. who knew gardening could be so exciting? 🙂

  3. I think the bugs just mean you are doing it right. If they weren't there, you'd be eating pesticides or engineered plants.

    Bugs are good…as long as they stay outside. Once they come inside, well then it is open season.

  4. Scary… but you persevered and that's what counts. I only planted one measly tomato plant this year, and it's doing rather poorly, so kudos to you for making these work. Enjoy the harvest!

  5. p – oh man, I bet there are way ookier bugs out there to kill.

    grace – I don't even know how I manage sometimes.

    Jon – a good point. The bugs have been feasting on my garden and leaving my neighbor's Miracle Grow style garden alone.

    Alan – It's the thought that counts… right?

  6. I didn't try to grow tomatillos this year, but we got some in our CSA and I made a run at roasted tomatillo salsa. Ah, someday I'll get the post up. My super mexican food snob boyfriend expressed moderate approval, but I'm interested to hear what you do with your bounty.

  7. Chelle said:

    Holy cow! I've never seen such things. We had a problem with all these bugs coming out of our corn this year, but I've got eleventy billion tomatillos this year and so far no problems. I picked a pound earlier this week and washed them thinking of this post worried what might be in them, and nothing happened. They haven't gotten any pesticides this year either…I think they are the miracle fruit! (er…vegetable?)

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