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applestar
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Spiral Tomato Garden

Waaah! My tomato seedlings NEED to get planted! (last night's low was 36°F :roll:)
I fertilized them today because they are starting to lose color from lack of nutrients and maybe not liking the accommodations.

But the forced delay HAS given me time to ponder and prep the main tomato garden for this year... I decided to make it a Tomato Spiral. Still have lotS to do but here is basicaly the "before" picture ;)
Image
Image

It's roughly a 16-18 ft circle and the spiral/continuous row will be 3 feet apart. I still have to dig the good soil out of the path spiral and mound up the planting bed spiral and amend it, mulch it, etc.

I also made a narrow 2ft wide raised row along the new 20ft x 4ft high fence line which hopefull will be enough to catch any overflow. :>
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

What a wonderful idea! :) So you will put the tallest varieties in the center and the dwarf varieties on the outside? Have you figured out how many feet of planting row that will give you?
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Awesome Apple. When are you planning on getting your seedlings out?

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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

You know me and math :roll: I found a formula, but haven't sat down to figure it out yet. The center circle is about 2 ft and as it happens contains a thriving anise hyssop patch. I thought that was a fun coincidence. :D

The forecast was 41-45°F overnight but my thermometer said 38°F this morning. With several 41°F forecasts in the coming week I think it's probably better to wait, but I will start planting some in more protected beds than this one -- maybe even today, but more likey, I will try to finish up the Tomato Spiral bed preps today since there is a 50% chance of rain tomorrow and in any case I want ths area to have a chance to "mellow" (huge earthworms and tiny baby worms galore while I was using the garden fork -- * actually had to stop and help one off of the fork when it was in a clump of clay :lol: * -- so plenty of helpers). Planning to spread semi-finished compost, rock phosphate and greensand on the spiral bed, then top with dug out good soil from the spiral path. Mulch later with hay/straw when I finally get around to it.

Not sure if I'll have the energy to plant anything after that. :?

Hmmm.... Haven't decided on the planting arrangement. Dwarfs need to be in the "front" so not necessarily on the outside. Since the herb patch will be short, I may go short then tall than short?
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

You always have such wonderful ideas! 8) What an inspiration to us small spacers! Can't wait to see how this comes out. If anyone can outfox the weather, I am quite sure it is you!

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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Thanks! :D
I am exhausted and ready to collapse, but I got the prep work done :()

Ready to spread the good stuff (mostly finished and half finished compost from the bottom of my pile -- tons of fat earthworms cavorting within 8) )
Image

Digging out the spiral path:
Image
Image

View of prepped spiral garden fom an upstairs window:
Image

As i came to them and dug them up, I transplanted Seascape strawberries that had been planted in this area to the central mound with the anise hyssop patch. There are also a monarda patches, etc. I also dug up a sweet gum and a callery pear -- volunteer saplings that I'd been saving and potted them up for my Bonsai wannabe collection. (No pics yet. let's see how they recover first.)
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Forgot to mention -- I grabbed the compost thermometer and took soil temp readings:

It was 50°F in the flat ground before mounding up the spiral bed and 55°F in the mound after mounding. (For comparison, over on the other side of the house where it warms up faster, the raised bed temp was 60°F -- I'm planting some tomatoes there first after the weather warms up 8) Not today though since we're getting much needed rain today. :D )

Also, even with all that digging, I only found 8 wireworms and 3 grubs (so the Soil division of the Garden Patrol is on the job :mrgreen: ) -- they all made their way into the birdbath. :twisted:

I also found one cicada larva in the final stages of emerging (brown skinned rather than soft white).
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

A work of art! But won't the anise hyssop and strawberries in the center get shaded out by the tomatoes?
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

I'm going to plant about eight dwarfs (18-24" through 36-40" ht. max) using 4' cages in the center spiral and hope for the best. :wink:

I laid out a 50 ft sprinkler hose which I will be using like a dripper with the holes turned to the bottom and under the mulch. I'm glad I started in the middle because I ran out with about 1/3 of the outer spiral remaining. I dragged out a short hose that was left along a flower bed, repaired the broken end fitting and a leak, and found it fit exactly to a Y connector with another garden bed soaker hose. 8) Poked holes with a push pin (there was a thread about that -- thanks for the idea!) to turn it into a dripper hose as well.

So at a guess, it's about 70-75 ft and I should be able to plant 35-40 tomatoes (dwarfs only need 18-20" interval vs. 24" interval for indeterminates. Maybe more if I stagger the row, but that may make it harder to provide support.

I mulched the first 30-36 feet or so with leaves and grass/weed clippings, then I ran out of energy. :roll:
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Getting ready to plant:
Image

-- What a day! I planted as much as I could, but still didn't manage to plant everything I wanted. But that entire tray on the wheelbarrow has been planted.

12 in the Spiral Garden
9 extras in 1 gal and 1/2 gal containers
3 in the Winter Trial cherry trellis (5 total with the first two I planted on 4/30)
10 in the Winter Trial part shade garden (SF&H)

Forecast for the rest of the week is rain, so I really wanted to plant a whole another tray, but I jut couldn't do it (I did plant a "token" seedling from the second tray) -- so exhausted I could barely put the tools away as it started to rain after sunset, and ran out of (day)light while trying to fill out the map of the garden with what was planted. :roll:

...my hands are swollen and tingling now. :(

(Not really a great picture, but I did take one after planting the spiral :D )
Image

Most of the dwarfs in this tray were intended for the Winter Indoor Trial garden, but I did plant a Tasmanian Chocolate in the center of the spiral. 8)
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Image
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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

That looks great!Somebody should do the math and figure out whether or not you could put more in if you put them in straight rows.

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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Probably not, if you assume that planting in rows you would make a square patch that would reclaim the corners in the above diagram. In that diagram, if you assume that the sides of the square are 10', the area of the square is 100 sq feet. The area of the circle inscribed inside it is only 78.5 sq feet. It's hard for me to think that there is any planting advantage to the spiral that would make up for that.

Nonetheless, even if you sacrifice space for a few plants, it is a work of art and unlike anyone else's tomato patch and I love it! :)

You do lose some perimeter too. I like to plant things on the edges of the beds outside the tomatoes, a row of carrots, onions/garlic, spinach, broccoli along the outside edges of the beds, with tomatoes in the interior. The square has 40 feet of perimeter and the circle has 31.4 feet of circumference. But you could make up for that by planting all those corners with low stuff. 4 little triangular corner beds around the outside of your circle/ spiral would give you back all the room you lost!
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

This morning after last nights pouring rain: :o
Image
-- this is actually good. :D The spiral path is acting like swales and will help to sequester water for the spiral beds. 8) ...I did have to go out and rescue the three potted plants that were sitting in the water. :roll:

I went around standing tomato support sticks where the others will be planted, then came inside and re-arranged some more to squeeze in extra two plants so on the paper, the plan is like this:

Image

36 plants. :() Added to the 20 in the SF&H Winter Trial Bed, that's about half of the total number of seedlings. :-()
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Lovely, can't wait to see more.
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Are those Ghost pots in the previous pic?

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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Sorry, I didn't understand the question.... :?:
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

I have an idea for supporting the spiral garden, and I wanted to run it by you all to see what you thought.

I have several -- eight? -- heavy duty 7 ft. T posts
I have several -- not sure how may -- 4 ft U posts

I was thinking of getting those $23 feedlot panels from Tractor supply and fencing the spiral. I haven't worked with them before, but my understanding is that they will bend into a curve fairly readily. Tall T posts at the ends and short U posts to hold the curve?

What do I use to secure? Zip ties? wire?

Does this sound sturdy enough?

I understand they are 16 feet x 50" each. I don't see how I could carry them in/on my SUV. DH's Chevy Sierra 4x4 pickup isn't long enough either, but some people say you can bend the panels into a U-shape (tied) and then load them in the truckbed of a pickup....
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Got more planted today -- I've pushed the design to hold 44 tomato plants by interspersing early and/or dwarf determinate varieties. :()

Image

14 more tomato plants and this bed will be done.
I've also started to "accessorize" -- 4 celery and a celeriac in the back, a couple of marigolds, a toothache plant, a couple of basils, parsley....
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Looking great Apple.

Like I said at the Depot, zipties to get it in place than wire to finalize. If there was a LOT of pressure I might go with a more solid clamp for safety.

I haven't even planted my own marigolds yet, but they will come back on their own, so why bother. Would like to put some in the garden, with all the rain now is a good time to do that.

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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Couldn't get them this weekend :x
Now, it has to get done on or before next weekend or the plants will get too big. :bouncey:

11 more plants from Tray V to plant:
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

I love that you have a view of it from the (upstairs?) window. It is looking beautiful!
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Looking good Apple. Can't wait to see it in the summer.

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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Thanks! It will be a colorful JUNGLE by then, I hope!

Image

All except gray background squares are planted now. alien indicates dwarf/<3-4ft and clock indicates Determinate. Leaves indicate potato leaf. Two hands that look kind of like earmuffs indicate extra-tall varieties.

(Maybe I should be posting this in the PETC thread.... :lol: )
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Image

Image
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Pictures of fruiting plants in the Spiral Garden

NOT Sinister Minister F4 so probably Jaune Flammeé
Image

Snow White
Image

Pineapple Pig
Image

Gajo de Melon
Image

Jaune Flammeé ??? (looks different from the NOT Sin Min :?)
Image

Tigrella
Image

Orange Banana:
Image

-- more pics from 6/18 --
Red Barn with catface
Image

Kamatis Tagalog
Image

Wes (first fruit set at eye-height)
Image

Stump of the World (same even fluting as seen on FR plant)
Image

Pineapple Pig update
Image

Tigrella update
Image

Indigo Apple (traces of antho on fruits)
Image
Last edited by applestar on Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:13 am, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Added more fruit pics
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

It keeps raining.... NOT that I'm complaining -- this is a great boon compared to last spring/early summer of drought and no rain when I was scrambling to get the garden watered.

I took this picture earlier in the afternoon to show how much it's puddling in the spiral path/swale -- the water is all the way inside the center spiral:
Image

But we just had another heavy shower pass through and now it looks like this:
Image

...good thing we went to the petshop and got more feeder goldfish and minnows. I think we put three goldfish in the center spiral swale and two minnows in the shallower outer spiral swale which you can barely see in the photos -- though the water has come up high enough to see a bit of it at the right.

I can watch the goldfish cavorting from the upstairs window. Two of them have paired up and seem to be chasing each other 8) ...I looked it up and goldfish eggs hatch in 48-72 hrs. The way it's raining and filling up the swales, that should be enough time befor the water dries up. Don't know if we'll be able to see or catch the babies though.
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

You are so cool, applestar! So the little feeder fish are to make sure the puddles don't become mosquito breeders? If you can't catch the babies, you will just buy more the next time, if the puddles dry up in between? (I know they are super cheap, like several for a quarter or something, I've bought them myself.)

You designed the drainage that way to be a water reservoir for all the tomato plants? So does it go downhill into the center (like a reverse herb spiral) or is it pretty flat, but with ditches between the spiral arms?
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

:()

It wasn't entirely intentional -- truth be told -- but when I dug out the path to make the raised spiral row by flipping the path vegetation (used to be my "sunny meadow" so all kinds of non specific tuff, not just grass) onto the row, I went almost down to the clay subsoil in my enthusiasm, and ended up with greater path-to-row difference than I originally planned. But I did also recognize the Emilia Hazelip-esque design factor. :wink:

The ground is graded in a slope away from the house and the house corner downspout to the right of the blue spruce where the rain barrel overflow used to just drain right past this area to the upper left corner where the fence meets in a corner and I have the former Carolina Gold rice paddy, now designated Native Bog Garden.

The water drains out from the outlet there to a shallow swale that wraps around my Front Yard Fence Row, and then on down the front lawn to the side walk. Thanks to the new Spiral Garden catchment, there are less water that makes it all the way to the sidewalk to puddle uselessly. Just need a few more plantings in the front yard to capture them all and not let them go on down to the street.

Now the spirals catch and sequester the water and appears to fill the lower/far half of the outer and inner spiral including the center which had a fairly deep topsoil (I think it's because there used to be a path through here that I always mulched heavily) that got piled up in the middle.

As for the goldfish and the minnows -- yep, they usualy run around 12¢ each now, though I got these for 10¢. I tell the kids not to get attached... That these are "sacrificial" (though we'll do our best to catch and rescue them when the water level goes down since they help us with the mosquito larvae) So they choose the plainest, most average fish out of the bunch. They hold back the black tail tip and white/red bicolor ones to keep in a 5 gal bucket as well as the main holding tub with air pump -- which of the fish are happier, I wonder?
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

As of 6/18,
B: plants with blossoms
F: plants with green fruits (and blossoms)
n: no blossoms or fruits
*: photo

Red Barn - F*
Orange Minsk - B
Kamatis Tagalog - F*
Amos Coli - B
Wes - F*
Amos Coli - F
Native Sun - F
Opalka - n
Not SinMin >> Jaune Flamee - F*
Stump of the World - F*
Grandma Viney's Pink and Yellow - B
Snow White - F*
Pineapple Pig - F*
Gajo de Melon - F*
Jaune Flamme - F*
KBX (Kellogg's Breakfast PL) - F
Tigrella - F*
Nature's Riddle (Zagadka Prirdy) - B
Lead Beatter's Lunker - B
Not Purple Strawberry - n
Casey's Pure Yellow - B
Vorlon - B
Marachite Box (Malkhitovaya Schkatulka) - n
Rebel Yell - F
Orange Strawberry - n
Liz Birt - n
Turhune - F
X Orange Icicle X
Anna Banana - n
Jersey Devil - n
Big Cheef - F
Orange Banana - F*
Red House Freestanding - n
Grub's Mystery Green - B
Cherokee Green - B
Dwarf Emerald Giant - n
Polish Dwarf - B
Indigo Apple - F*
White Zebra - n
White Queen - F
White Tomesol - F
Tasmanian Chcolate - F
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

You have way too much time on your hands Apple. Do you have time to come do a thorough inventory on my garden some time soon.

My list goes like this:

Pretty much everything has fruit on it.

The end. :D

I see your P Pig had a weird fluted fruit amongst all the others. I just noticed Sgt Peppers from Hawk has one oblate fruit where it should be a clear heart as all the others are. Strange how that goes sometimes.

By the way how many of them are from me if you don't mind?

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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

nutz: How long have you been a member here? You know I obsess. nutz:

Looks like 7 in the Spiral Garden. More in other locations :D ...you did get me started with a lot. :()
I'm also growing out seeds TZ and DV sent me a while back, then i got even more from Trudy and finally, the you-know-what (that put me over the edge :>) I have Indigo Apple and Amos Coli from THG giveaway here, too..
applestar wrote:As of 6/18,
B: plants with blossoms
F: plants with green fruits (and blossoms)
n: no blossoms or fruits
*: photo

Red Barn - F*
Orange Minsk - B
Kamatis Tagalog - F*
Amos Coli - B
Wes - F*
Amos Coli - F
Native Sun - F
Opalka - n
Not SinMin >> Jaune Flamee - F*
Stump of the World - F*
Grandma Viney's Pink and Yellow - B
Snow White - F*
Pineapple Pig - F*
Gajo de Melon - F*
Jaune Flamme - F*
KBX (Kellogg's Breakfast PL) - F
Tigrella - F*
Nature's Riddle (Zagadka Prirody) - B
Lead Beatter's Lunker - B
Not Purple Strawberry - n
Casey's Pure Yellow - B
Vorlon - B
Marachite Box (Malkhitovaya Schkatulka) - n
Rebel Yell - F
Orange Strawberry - n
Liz Birt - n
Turhune - F
X Orange Icicle X
Anna Banana - n
Jersey Devil - n
Big Cheef - F
Orange Banana - F*
Red House Freestanding - n
Grub's Mystery Green - B
Cherokee Green - B
Dwarf Emerald Giant - n
Polish Dwarf - B
Indigo Apple - F*
White Zebra - n
White Queen - F
White Tomesol - F
Tasmanian Chcolate - F
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Awesome!

Rebel Yell and Big Cheef, you will be thanking me about later. These are some dang good mators. Not that the others are bad but.....you know.

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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Update:
Image
Harvested first nearly mature fruit today -- a Tigerella. :() Several others are at color break stage or starting to blush.

(Note: Bright orange-red blobs in the picture are not tomato fruits but are actually marigold flowers from seeds from Gixx's garden. :D -- they keep pumping out blooms. I belive you can only see ONE plant clearly in this photo. I think they really like the soil here that was specifically formulated for tomato production 8)
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Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Yesterday's Harvest:
39f43f8ea08dac6329664f9c66075eee.jpg
1st Indigo Apple
1st Indigo Apple
In no particular order -- 1st Terhune, 1st Red Barn, 1st Jackss Yellow, 1st Melon Ball, 1st Rebel Yell (2), 1st Big Cheef, 1st Canadian Dwarf, 1st? Polish Dwarf (accidentally picked green), 1st Donomater F3#4; also Pineapple Pig (2), Tasmanian Chocolate (2), Kamatis Tagalog (6), Monomakh's hat (2), Russo's Sicilian Togetta (3), (not) Native Sun (3)
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Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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gixxerific
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Heck yeah Apple that looks awesome. I am in the same boat no matter how many you pick today there will be some tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

Who said Summer wasn't colorful? :wink:

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Looks great. I guess there will be a lot of tomato recipes and preserving to do.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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applestar
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

You weren't kidding, Gixx! Here's today's harvest :mrgreen:
35d0ba28bb49ef3e3a97c2db1ec18caf.jpg
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

Yesterday's (had to pick fully blushed and nearly fully blushed due to heavy rain in forecast)
1st Wes, 1st Grandma Viney's Pink and Yellow, 1st Grubb's Mystery Green... Etc.
1st Wes, 1st Grandma Viney's Pink and Yellow, 1st Grubb's Mystery Green... Etc.
Another nice Pineapple Pig.
All semi blushed Tigrella had to be picked because they split after near 1" rain.
Unexpectedly large Zarnitsa -- cue ball size.
Not pictured but an Amos Coli fruit is almost ready to pick. 8)

We ate the Terhune. Posted about it here
:arrow: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 70#p308770
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Spiral Tomato Garden

...and more today :D
1st Opalka and 1st Victorian Dwarf...etc.
1st Opalka and 1st Victorian Dwarf...etc.
- a nice Stump of the World
- 2 better sized Big Cheef
- another Grandma Viney's Pink and Yellow
- 3 good sized (not) Native Sun with a small Native Sun from SF&H
- an Orange Banana in front of Opalka....
- 1 first fruit from another (not) Earl's Green Cherry from a third plant in the Kitchen Garden -- will compare with the other one, but it turned out I only have one real Earl's Green Cherry
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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