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Pebbles
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Double your tomatoes?

Hi all

I read with interest a week ago on the internet about growing tomatoes.

I remember it was a story of an age old secret about doubling the crop a plant produces.

The main secret I remember was to cut off all the leaves and leave only 3 on the plant but in order to know which leaves to keep you had to buy the guide which cost 50 pounds - which is a lot of money to me.

I am wondering whether anybody has heard of this and has experimented with successful results?

tfoals
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I saw an advertisement for that. Alot of those are scams so I didn't even look into it. If it was an age old secret and it's that valuable then surely more people know about it. And I dout they'd chage 50 pounds for it. But I'd love to know if it really works.
Patiently they wait and hope, and God provides the rest. All we really need is The Faith Of A Little Seed

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Kisal
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Humph! Just my opinion, but no plant that has had the majority of its leaves removed is going to be able to produce a maximum crop. If you remove all but 3 leaves from a plant, it will be lucky if it manages to survive! I've had plants stripped of all but a few leaves by snails and slugs, and they have a really hard time just trying to grow. Forget about producing enough food to support a double crop. Again, that's just my opinion. [img]https://bestsmileys.com/clueless/4.gif[/img]

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Gary350
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Tomato plants have the ability to sprout roots any place dirt touches the stem. Dig a hole the size of a 10" flower pot. Put a hand full of 15/15/15 in the hole. Put a hand full of ammonium nitrate in the hole. Put a hand full of lime in the hole too. Pour a gallon of water in the hole. Come back an hour later when the water has gone down. Strip the leaves off of the bottom half of the tomato plant. Plant the roots deep so only the top leaves stick out of the dirt. Water the plants after they have been planted. In about a weeks the tomato plants will turn very green and start growing at a very fast speed about 3" every day. The plants will produce lots of very large ripe tomatoes. Each plant will produce about a bushel basket of tomatoes during the summer growing season.

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atascosa_tx
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I've been growing tomatoes for 15 years and that sounds crazy..
Stripping off all of the leaves will only leave to sun scald on the developing fruits. True that the plant won't spend it's energy on developing foliage,
but to say that it will double your output?...
Sounds to me like extreme pruning out the suckers.
Feed your soil and your soil will feed you

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tomatodude
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One poster advised about putting fertilizer directly into the planting hole..
I would stray away from this because it would burn the roots..
unless it was organic fertilizer..
It's not what you Grow, it's How you grow it.

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Pebbles
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Morning all

tfoals - Yes, I too wasn't sure whether or not the advert was a scam, but like you, I would love to know if it really works.

If I ever come across anybody that has read the guide and experimented, I'll let you know whether it was successful or not. Thanks for the input.

Kisal - Yes, I understand totally your way of thinking. You would think the poor plant would go into shock, fall over and die wouldn't you. - Thanks for the reply.

Gary350 - Thanks for the advice. Not sure what 15/15/15 is though, can you enlighten me?

atascosa_tx - It does sound crazy doesn't it? One thing the advert did say, just as yourself, is that more energy, water and food will go directly to the fruit instead of feeding the leaves. Thanks.

tomatodude - Thanks for the advice regarding the fertilizer. I have bought organic even though it is more expensive but I wanted to give them a good start seeing as this is my first time of growing veg. Thanks.

TZ -OH6
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You are refering to "Orgainc Tomato Magic", which is neither organic, nor magic.


Fact:
The technique of severe pruning is used by some greenhouse commercial growers. You can find a series of "how too" videos on the web by a reputable grower who used it for field tomatoes. It differs slightly from "Magic" and is more realistic.

Flim Flam:
"Organic Tomato Magic" was written by the grandson of a commercial European greenhouse grower. The work is so full of scientific errors, and other erronious statements that it is difficult to believe the author has ever grown a tomato himself (and there is no reference of him growing tomatoes in the book, just recounting what his one armed grandfather did). He seems to think that there are only three types of tomatoes. Grocery store tomatoes, home grown tomatoes that are just as bad as grocery store tomatoes, and the wonderful tomatoes his grandfather grew. The severe pruning is only one step to getting super production. Other "must do" steps include growing in a greenhouse, using a specific soil mixture, and using a specific variety of tomato (the author does not say what this variety is, but his grandfather grew it in Poland decades ago). You have to buy the book to find all this out.

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Pebbles
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Well thank you very much for the information. Am I right in thinking that you bought the book or have read it and if so, how much did it cost?

Also, you state that it contained so many scientific errors etc, I was still just wondering whether you actually tried to take off all leaves except for 3 as an experiment maybe on one of your tomatoes?

TZ -OH6
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You can do a google search for [organic tomato magic] and download the pdf file.


The scientific errors have to do with the author saying things like... tomatoes need air to breath, and leaves get in the way of this, so on and so forth. I'd have to go back and see what the particulars where, but it was obvious that the guy did not know how a plant functioned. It sounded like a used car salesman telling a customer that oil was bad for cars without saying why.


I have not tried the pruning method because I can't keep up with the production I have now when I barely touch my plants.



Check out Chuck Bartok's Growing Tomatoes for Health and Wealth Video series (You Tube?) for an example of how to do extreme pruning.

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hendi_alex
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I don't care about doubling my harvest, but when gardening in the 1970's my better boys and other indeterminates produced from early summer until frost. Now the tomatoes almost always get diseased and spent and barely make it through September most years. I'm planting some in new ground this year, and using drip irrigation for improved watering. Hope that helps extend the season to nearer the first frost date as used to be the case.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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Pebbles
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TZ-OH6

Thanks very much for the time and advice you have put in to answer my questions.

I will certainly check out the Bartok's growing tomatoes for health and wealth.

I will ask my hubby to down load the pdf file for organic tomato magic - he is much better on the computer than myself.

Glad your plants are doing very well.

Alex

I wonder what has changed since the 1970's that has lessened the life span of your plants? I can only think that it be the bad weather conditions we have experienced recently. I do hope you find a way to improve this.

Drip irrigation sounds interesting - let me know how you get on.

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pharmerphil
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we only plant indeterminate heirlooms.
We place each plant in a hole that has one tbs.of epsom salts, and one handful of a worm casting/bone meal mix into the hole, throw a little dirt over the mix, and water in the plant.

As far as removing the leafs, this is wrong, the plant need the leaves for photosynthesis, and cutting them back can drastically effect the production, AND, expose your tomatoes to the sun, causing sunscald.

Now as for pruning the suckers, or side shoots, some remove the whole sucker, Others, most typically the busy gardener who has gotten behind, do what is called a "Missouri Prune" I have included a graphic to show both.
I let the suckers get a bit long, then do th Missouri prune, this makes for MORE leaves, thereby more photosynthesis.
we plant 45 tomatoes every year, and the last 4 years average is 75-100 pounds every three days.
must be doing something right :D
[img]https://www.imageviper.com/displayimage/136806/0/A_missouri_PRUNE.jpg[/img]

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pharmerphil
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hendi_alex wrote:I don't care about doubling my harvest, but when gardening in the 1970's my better boys and other indeterminates produced from early summer until frost. Now the tomatoes almost always get diseased and spent and barely make it through September most years. I'm planting some in new ground this year, and using drip irrigation for improved watering. Hope that helps extend the season to nearer the first frost date as used to be the case.
Alex, do you support or cage your tomatoes?
The worst enemy is splash up from the soil..We always trim the bottom trusses to 1 foot above the ground, then mulch heavily.
Never water in the evening, and disease is NOT easy to get rid of..
but it is easy to prevent..
I use 1 cup of H202 (plain old brown bottle Peroxide)
mixed with a gallon of water and spray the plants once a week prior to damp, cool weather which is when the nasties normally come to visit.
another thing, If you, or anyone touching your plants smoke tobacco, wash your hands in either bleach or milk before touching or working with your plants...they say that today there is little cause for alarm of TMV disease, but if that were the case, breeders would not bother breeding resistance into tomatoes for TMV

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hendi_alex
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phil,

Thanks for the suggestions. After reading an earlier post, perhaps from you, I decided to start pruning the lower leaves up much higher. I did wonder though, pinching the leaves just prior to planting would seem to provide an entry for soil born disease. Do you pinch the lower leaves several days in advance so that they can heal prior to planting?

I also like the hydrogen peroxide suggestion. My tomatoes will be absolutely beautiful and then we will have a four day rainy spell in July. within one week, the tops of the plants will be turning yellow and brown as the disease gets a foothold during and following that rainy spell.

Also, for the past few years I've planted most of my tomatoes in cluster of four, with concrete reinforcing wire cages twist tied together. I think that decreased air flow and helped promote disease. This year, because of a suggestion from this board, I'm planting no tomato within three feet of another.

I plan to do some pruning on the interior of plants this year. It would seem that opening them up to air flow and keeping so many branches from touching one another could be very helpful.

As mentioned earlier, the plants are being heavily mulched with newpaper which is covered with clean straw (hay) and the watering system has been converted to drip for most of the plants.

My main bed of plants was moved to a new location this year. So hopefully all of these adjustments will help decrease the desease and keep the plants growing healthy for a longer season this year. The experiment continues......
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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Gary350
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Pebbles wrote:
Gary350 - Thanks for the advice. Not sure what 15/15/15 is though, can you enlighten me?

Thanks.

I guess I assume too much. I grew up on a farm I assumed everyone knows what 15/15/15 is. I guess it all depends if your city folk or farm folks planting a small garden or a large garden where people would buy their fertilizer and supplies. Most city folks buy at Lowe's, Home Depot, Wal Mart they don't sell triple 15 fertilizer. You can buy triple 15 fertilizer at any farm supply store. 15/15/15 means 15% nitrogen, 15% Phosphate, 15% Potash. Ammonium nitrate is 34/0/0. Urea is 46/0/0. You can also buy a number of different mixes of fertilizer, 12/12/12, 6/12/12, 6/15/15, and so on. I took this is college 40 years ago I should remember this but I don't. I have forgotton more than I every knew.
Last edited by Gary350 on Wed May 06, 2009 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Handy
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what I have been doing for 40 years is when I plant tomatoes, I dig the hole about 3" deeper than the length of the plant. If you have a 6" plant, strip the bottom leaves off the plant and put some mulch in the whole and water it good. This will make you plants stronger buy causing new roots to grow and your crop will probably be ready to pick up to 10 days earlier, plus you whole tomatoe plant will be stronger.

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Pebbles
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wow Alex and Pharmerphil

You are both so far advanced at growing tomatoes than I think I ever will. I had to go have a glass of wine after reading your posts :shock:

I only hope that I too can become a good vegetable and tomato producer. I feel it will take some time though :roll:

So much to learn - so much to take in - :eek:

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If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

Its a scam.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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pharmerphil
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Alex, yes good air circulation is important, but keeping them healthy first is more important...

I trim to keep them back to a height we can deal with, they top our 6 foot cages, and go way beyond, I usually head them off at about 7 foot.

we cage them, one per cage, two cages per post, in rows of 4. 10 rows
[img]https://www.imageviper.com/displayimage/137205/0/m640.jpg[/img]

Pebbles, No one ever knows everything. but thanks for the compliment...pass the wine :D

oh, before anyone asks, the cages openings are 2x4 inches...
however, in three to four spots, there are openings that are 4x8 inches, in each cage facilitating harvesting :wink:
had folks ask how do you get the mators out :lol:

elevenplants
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Pharmerphil, I just read your post about the hydrogen peroxide preventing disease in tomatoes, and how it should be applied BEFORE a rainy spell....and now we're already IN a rainy spell here in northeast Alabama, so can you tell me if you think it would be worth it to do the spray at some point between the showers we'll probably be getting for the next few days? Won't it just wash off? I have 21 BEAUTIFUL plants, heirlooms all, raised from seed, nurtured and loved and now planted and growing well in new raised beds, mulched with clean straw and drip-irrigated (Well, there are 3 hanging plants and they obviously don't have the drip irrigation and mulch), most are already blooming, so NOW my top priority is preventing disease. That's what keeps me awake at night, the fear of going out on my morning garden tour and finding mottled leaves, leaves curling up at the edges, leaves dying, etc....you know, basically any of the signs that there is trouble in my tomato paradise. I don't smoke tobacco, and I watch any family members and friends who do like a hawk around my plants, and I'm hoping that with the new beds and the mulch and the drip irrigation and the leaves being taken off close to the ground, I'll be able to avoid most if not all diseases on them, but then I read your post and now I'm going to worry that I should have sprayed them with peroxide before it started raining, even though I didn't even KNOW about it until just now!!! :| I think I am starting to show some signs myself....of complete TOMATO OBSESSION! Maybe I need some of Pebbles' wine too.

Rebecca

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Pebbles
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Gary

Thanks again for the info. I don't think things are labeled the same over here, that is why I was confused. Having said that, it doesn't take much to confuse me :? :wink:

Handy

I have so much info now going through my tiny mind, I'm going to go have a lye down and hopefully get up refreshed to begin this exciting road with a hopeful destination to success land.

Jal

I guess it really is a scam. I still would love to experiment with a plant though. However, in the next breath, I don't want to harm the poor baby either.

Pharmerphil

You are welcome. Pass the wine?..... hic! I've drank it all hic! sorry.

elevenplants

Oh flip! I can see you shaking all over, worried and scared about your babies. I am sure advice here will protect your tomatoes I am sure. Hang in their friend :wink:

Oh and sorry, the wine is all gone. Must remember to get another bottle - sorry I mean box full!

I've just planted some garlic bulbs next to my tomatoes. I think I read that that would be ok because white fly don't like garlic and onions and will hopefully keep pests away from the tomatoes and the vegetables that I have growing. Am I right in doing this?

elevenplants
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Yes, Pebbles, I've heard that too. And so I have onions and/or garlic near all my plants, as well as basil and parsley. And nasturtiums, they're supposed to do something, what it is fails me now, but I'm sure it was something constructive, PLUS I just LOVE those nasturtium blooms...to look at AND to eat! They (and the leaves) are great in salads.

Rebecca

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Pebbles
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Thanks Rebecca

What are Nasturtiums?

elevenplants
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They are the most delightful, fast growing, bloom-covered little flowers you will ever see and come to love! Google them. They are wonderful and you grow them direct seeded wherever you want masses of (edible) blooms.

Rebecca

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Pebbles
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Thanks Rebecca

I will google them! I was just wondering seeing as you are familiar with them, whether they be a vegetable or a fruit or just an edible flower. Time is the essensce when you have groomed your babies all day and cooked a meal and cleaned the house etc etc etc - I just thought it of a short cut to find out what they are from yourself, being a fellow multitasker :wink:

If ya can tell me b4 I have to go there - I know you say they are lovely flowers - but from which plant - would be great to know before I have to do the hard work of looking through google :wink:

elevenplants
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Oh, I'm sorry. As usual, I didn't make myself clear. Nasturtiums are a flower, but the leaves and flowers from it are edible...it's also good for keeping aphids off your plants, I believe. Here is a link to save you some time:

[url]https://www.sallybernstein.com/food/columns/gilbert/nasturtiums.htm[/url]

Rebecca

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Pebbles
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Rebecca - thanks ever so much for your trouble. I really appreciate it.

They look beautiful don't they? I can picture them brightening up any salad.

I have noted the name and will look in our local garden centres and buy some if I can see any.

Thanks again Rebecca.

elevenplants
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Pebbles, just look for the seed. They don't transplant well and need to be direct-sowed. You can order them online if you can't find them in the stores.

Rebecca

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Pebbles
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Thanks again Rebecca.

We have some good garden centres here that sell lots of packet seeds. Am I a bit late in the season to start from seeds now?

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Pebbles
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TZ_OH6

Thanks for the info on Organic Tomato Magic. Hubby did down load this for me and it has taken me a couple of hours to read it.

I agree that there are quite a few ambiguous statements. Also the fact that although he is giving particular advice, he has not experimented with the advice himself.

There was so much to take in. I would love to think that following his steps just might be productive. Some part of me wants to believe and yet other parts of me wonder.. :roll:

I am still toying with the idea to try his techniques on one of my plants (especially the 3 leaves and to snap off the leaf branch in between every fruit branch. I also liked the idea of the string and the metal pole at the top of the greenhouse to help with pollunation.

What do you think, should I give it ago?

TZ -OH6
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I am all for mutilating/experimenting on your own plants just for the fun of seeing what will happen. I personally won't do it with my plants because I don't think the guy even grows tomatoes himself. I would consider trying Chuck Bartock's, less severe, pruning method, because he was a commercial grower for many years.



Most commercial greenhouse tomatoes are grown on a string dropline, and they grow for two years and can get over 20 feet long (the lines are on reels that let line out so that the plant slumps down and top of the plant stays at picking level). Most of those growers either use motorized flower buzzers (home growers use electric toothbrushes) to aid pollination, or bring bumblebees into the greenhouse(studies have shown that bees are by far the best at getting tomatoes to set fruit). Whacking the metal frame is less effective, but better than nothing and many people walk around in the mid morning and whack their tomato cages and stakes to aid pollination. I have plenty of tiny sweat bees around so I don't bother. The bees are all over the dandelions and wild mustard weed flowers right now so I know there will be plenty of them around when the tomatoes go out. Planting flowers to attract bees might be better than whacking the plant support, it will also help attract ladybugs who eat aphids.


Once you work around the author's own lack of understanding of the facts he is preaching most of the things he says, other than the bit about pruning is pretty standard for certain situations*, and I think that he simply misunderstood his grandfather's pruning method and reasons for it.



* For example I took a quick look and saw a section on acid soil, which he states is catagorically bad and one reason everyone's tomatoes taste horrible and don't produce. The scientific fact is that nutrient uptake is maximized by tomato plants between about pH 5.8 and 6.8, which is acidic (below neutral pH 7). As you move to higher pH (basic) soil nutrients are less available to plants. That is where he is wrong saying acidic is bad, but how he got there probably goes like this... Grandfather said acid soil was very bad...reason...artificial soil mixtures (and in some cases natural field soil) tend to get more acidic with time, below the optimal ph range certain nutrients become unavailable to plants. This highly acid soil is called "sour" by farmers, who periodically add lime to their fields to "sweeten" the soil and bring it back to an optimal, slightly acidic, pH.

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Pebbles
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TZ - thanks again. You certainly are taking a lot of your time in helping me out here.

I will, this afternoon, look into Chuck Bartock's pruning methods as you have suggested.

I don't like the idea of mutilating anything to be honest. Last year, our bee population was very low. However, I must admit, I have seen quite a few already this year. It would be lovely for the bees to pollinate the plants as apposed to using artificial measures. Obviously it would be so much easier and less time consuming as well.

Just when I thought I had learnt something about soil acidity through the book, I now find that this was not the case. Makes you wonder whether other advice on the internet is correct doesn't it?

However, I am such a novice at this and I would like to learn the correct advice and would, without a doubt, take on board the suggestions of someone like yourself who has actually grown these plants and has reaped the benefits.

Thanks again. I as I said earlier, I will look into Bartock.

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Pebbles
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TZ Our speakers aren't working so I can't listen to the Bartock's videos at the moment. However, hubby is pretty well skilled in computers (he even builds them). He said he knows how to put the vids onto discs so I can watch them on the tv. May take a couple of days but I'll get there. Thanks again!

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