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Go Beyond Tomatoes in the Garden

The hero of the summer garden is undeniably a homegrown tomato, but have you tried its Clark Kent cousins, masked in papery suits? Both tomatillos and ground cherries are in the tomato's botanical family. They grow in the same conditions favored by tomatoes yet bear fruit wrapped in husks that turn a papery tan when mature.

Tomatillos are larger, branching plants that can reach 5 feet tall and—with the pollinating help of a second tomatillo plant nearby—produce fruits 1 to 3 inches in size. Tomatillo selections can be purple or green, lending an acidic crunch to fresh salsas or sweeter notes when roasted. We put tomatillos to scrumptious use in a charred okra side dish.

Ground cherries are named for their cherry-size fruit and their habit of falling to the ground when ripe. Plant these low-growing, widely branched plants in containers or at the corner of raised beds so that it's easy to pick up the bounty. Varieties such as 'Cossack Pineapple' and 'Aunt Molly's' yield a surprising sweet-yet-tart taste with hints of pineapple.

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