The Dawg Patch

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GoDawgs
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Cajun Jewel Okra

#261

Post: # 26319Unread post GoDawgs
Wed Jul 22, 2020 4:40 pm

This is my first year trying Cajun Jewel okra. The catalog description from Southern Exposure says, “Dwarf-type, 2½-4 ft. tall spineless plants produce an early crop of tender 1 in. diameter pods up to 8 in. long.” Well, it might not get as tall as other okras but it sure makes up for it in width. This morning that sucker measured 3’ tall and 4’wide.

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I’ve found that it is really multibranched, starting near the bottom. And the ends of every one of those branches is loading up with okra flower buds! I initially missed some of the first pods because they set so low I didn’t see them under the huge leaves. Tender at 8” might be a stretch but my pocket knife has easily slid into 6” pods.

They’ve been pretty dense plants but it almost seems as if it’s starting to open up a bit as it gets a little taller. I haven’t eaten any yet but should have enough coming on to try some this weekend. This one will be a fun one to watch!

@Ginger2778, It was kind of soft. I went ahead and cut it open at lunch and it probably could have ripened a little longer but we ate it. I have one more like that one that I'll let ripen some more and one other that is smaller and still needs a lot more time.
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Re: The Dawg Patch

#262

Post: # 26321Unread post ponyexpress
Wed Jul 22, 2020 4:55 pm

Nice garden and grow log. I only read this page but I'll have to start from the beginning another time.

Regarding your corn, do you have any issues with raccoons or squirrels eating them? I grew corn 25 years ago and had a beautiful crop. Picked about 20-25 ears. Then a few days later, the entire crop was knocked down and a bite was taken out of every single ear. 7 30' rows down the drain.
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GoDawgs
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Re: The Dawg Patch

#263

Post: # 26388Unread post GoDawgs
Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:30 pm

Thank you, @ponyexpress . I retired about nine years ago and was finally able to devote full attention to doing what I love. I feel blessed that I can do that! Experimenting and puttering with different methods of doing this and that scratches the itch of wanting to know.

Corn and critters! I have no problem with the squirrels. That's probably because the garden is pretty much out in the open away from the house and the trees where Squirrel City is. It doesn't hurt that my sister Pickles has a bird feeder with black sunflower seed hanging in the yard behind the house, making for the fattest squirrels in the county. The squirrels prefer the tomatoes by the house. :roll:

Coons are an off and on thing. I know there are some in the woods down behind the back of the house because they've been seen on the game cam. For whatever reason they haven't bothered the corn in two years. That must have been a whole mess of raccoons that got your big corn patch and pretty selective about how the ears taste! What a heartbreak to have all that work ruined. If coons raid my little patch, they eat every kernel off every cob but they don't raid the whole crop at once. It will start with one or two stalks pulled down and ears eaten. Probably a single coon. The last time they came I still had a dog so little damage. Maybe they don't know he crossed that rainbow bridge.

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Oh Deer.....

#264

Post: # 26389Unread post GoDawgs
Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:40 pm

I got out there early this morning and watered everything in the garden. That happens every other day and the tomato buckets get watered twice a day. We haven't had a drop of rain in two weeks so the pastures are looking a lot less green, the grass around the house is starting to brown up a bit and there are some leaves falling from the trees. That usually means deer go looking for greener stuff and they found some in the garden last night.

Pickles was doing her morning walk and when I got down to the garden she told me the deer had munched one of the three Choppee okra plants last night. Yep. I have never ever had deer munch itchy old okra leaves before but there was the hoof print as proof.

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And I saw that they also topped off the two cayenne peppers I just planted in there last week. Grrrrrrrrrr!

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After thinking about how to protect each plant I decided to just go ahead and set up the deer netting around the whole bed. The now-empty trellis would be one side of the square. I just banged in some t-posts (that dry ground is rock hard!), tied poles to the posts and tied the netting to the poles. It didn't take too long and will serve the purpose. The post at one one of the trellis is the "door". Currently it's tied to the trellis but I'll get a little bungee cord on that for easy opening.

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Re: The Dawg Patch

#265

Post: # 26398Unread post JRinPA
Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:45 pm

There was a couple up from NC last year that I met at the comm garden. They were surprised by my okra patch here in PA. They said they have a lot of trouble growing it down there, or at least, keeping it. I think they're on the edge of the tri-cities sprawl but I'm not positive. They said it goes fine until one morning you see that the deer ate the okra all the way down to the ground.

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Rejuvenation! Thirsty No More

#266

Post: # 26576Unread post GoDawgs
Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:22 am

Rain! Thursday evening, after no rain for two weeks, one of those pop-up thunderstorms finally cried all over us, donating 2" of rain in one hour. There was not a puddle to be seen afterwards as the earth just sucked it all up. That was followed by 1/2" on Friday and another 1" yesterday afternoon. Wonderful! Dances With Hoses can finally put her hose down for a little while. :D:

The Colossus field peas are blooming and I spied the first pods yesterday. Since some wayward vines were sneaking under the support twines and invading the walkway, I tucked them back in. Then I realized I hadn't put any of the twine across the ends and corrected that omission.

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The two Roselle plants are finally showing their differences. The 'Thai Red' I grew last year is setting a ton of flowers and already has formed a lot of red calyxes. However this year's 'St. Kitts & Nevis' has only one or two blooms. I still have a whole quart jar of dehydrated flower calyxes from last year and a ton of collected seed so I won't need to add to that emergency vitamin supply this year. 'St. Kitts & Nevis' is on the left and 'Thai Red' is on the right.

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And finally a photo of the squash nursery where the second baby Zuchetta trombone squash is happily playing with two baby spaghetti squash. All is well out here in Cow Pie County. Hopefully the rain has recharged local greenery enough that the deer will ignore these peas! :thumb:

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Enjoying The Ride

#267

Post: # 26836Unread post GoDawgs
Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:51 am

It's that time of year when things are slow in the garden. The spring prep and planting rush is in the rear view mirror but fall is slowly arising in the windshield. Meanwhile one enjoys the ride of picking and preserving.

Last evening I picked the first handful of Colossus field peas. They were shelled and added to a small box holding a palm full of the last shelled blackeye butterbeans. A small addition to lunch today. As usual, the nectaries located right above where the pods attach to the vines were being visited by a host of different pollinators, mainly all kinds of bees/wasps enjoying a late afternoon snack. I also discovered both green and brown stink bugs and dispatched about five of them.

The Cherokee Trail Of Tears beans are drying down for seed collection.

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I might skip growing them next year The fresh beans come in the same time as the regular green beans. The shelling stage is a tad worky but the dried phase is easy peasy and they seem to be the one bean that the bugs don't mess with. It's a good one to have in the "got the seed if I need it" category. These are the shiny black CTOT seeds along with the first of the Alabama Blackeye Butterbeans I've collected so far.

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This is Lemon Mint Monarda, the first time I've ever grown it. It's ok but there are better and taller Monardas out there. It was a last minute addition to the seed order and the vendor was out of several other possibilities I'd rather have. Still, the bees like it.

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And finally, a pleasant surprise popped up in the yard near the garden... a rain lily. This one shows up about once a year and came up after that rain we had last week. There used to be a pretty red one around but I haven't seen it in several years. And so it goes.

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Re: The Dawg Patch

#268

Post: # 26864Unread post PlainJane
Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:50 pm

It’s just too dang hot for fresh beans here ... so I pulled a bunch of plants and started new ones.
Only thing happening is eggplant (don’t care for okra).
On the other hand, fall tomatoes are germinating at a good clip!
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friedgreen51
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Re: The Dawg Patch

#269

Post: # 26892Unread post friedgreen51
Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:37 pm

Go Dawgs
You inspired me to plant some Big Red Ripper peas. My seed were probably 6 years old or so. I removed my vining zucchini and had a nice 4 x 4 bed that had a cattle panel bent over it in a U shape so plenty of room for the rippers to run. I wasn't sure about the Big Red Rippers even germinating so I planted half the bed in Big Red Rippers and the other half in Mississippi Silver peas (saved from 2016).

I checked yesterday and the Mississippi Silvers had germinated nicely. Nice row of the them already about 2 inches tall, but no Big Red Rippers. I checked again tonight and I saw 1 Big Red Ripper Pea had germinated. Our weather has been 90-95 with about 3.5 inches of rain since Saturday night.
My question is based on your experience, should I keep watching and hopefully some more rippers will germinate? I do have some Vining September Peas that are viable seed from last year that I could plant in that spot. I planted some in late June and they are about 2 feet tall. I have a row of them growing on a fence.

I also wanted to thank you for the picture and instructions on your netting idea to help with my rabbit problem eating my baby okra. In mentioning this I wanted to tell you about my quick fix one summer for deer. I used Catfish fishing line and enclosed the garden using tomato stakes about 4 feet out of the ground and just a string at the top and one closer to the bottom. I then went outside that rectangle about two feet and made another rectangle fence like the first of catfish fishing line ( a fence inside a fence). Deer have no depth perception and will not jump this because they don't know where they will land. Just an idea for a quick fix for your deer problem.
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GoDawgs
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Re: The Dawg Patch

#270

Post: # 26926Unread post GoDawgs
Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:38 am

@friedgreen51, for me the Rippers usually come up in about four days. It could be your seed, especially if the other ones popped right up. You could try to dig a few up at the end of a row and see if they're starting to germinate. I have a pint jar full of Ripper seed that I saved last year! Despite the heat and drought they've come up just shy of 100% so if you'd like some I'd be glad to you send some. Just PM me with your addy. That includes anyone else who might want to try them.

Funny you should mention the catfishing line fence to keep deer out. Back in 2015 deer were "pruning" my field peas. I set up the game cam and caught the culprit in the act. What a gorgeous buck!

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After reading about using heavy fishing line as you mentioned, I strung up some 20 lb test line as you described but not the double fencing. He just shredded that line with those antlers and proceeded to munch! I ended up pruning off munched stems down to where new foliage was coming out lower down and they came back fine. I also opened up some tomato cages made of field fence and put them over the two rows like tunnels. Most likely he was just passing through because when the time came that I had to take the fencing off, there was no more damage afterwards.
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Re: The Dawg Patch

#271

Post: # 27088Unread post GoDawgs
Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:21 am

The night before last, the deer came to visit the Red Ripper pea patch. Actually, the tracks left make it seem like there was just one deer (thank goodness) that was sampling some plants in each of the four rows before wandering off. Lots of skips now where there were none!

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The last time this happened two years ago, the plants were about 10" tall and had growth emerging below the munched stem. I pruned them down to the new growth and they came back fine. But these plants were so small! Still, on some of them I see tiny bits of growth emerging. There's hope.

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So yesterday, knowing they'd be back for more that night (they always do) I got another netting enclosure put up. Good grief, the garden is starting to look like a fortress!

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Meanwhile, the bed of Colossus field peas remains untouched. I think the deer only go for the young tender stuff because when the same plants mature, the deer don't mess with them. So far I've gotten the first two small pickings from these peas.

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Transition Time

#272

Post: # 27374Unread post GoDawgs
Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:10 pm

How did it get to be August already? Transition time is here. Pull old things, start new ones and maintain the rest. It's not a very exciting time in the garden and can border on boredom. Beds are gradually emptying, trellises are gradually coming down.

Yesterday I got out the broadfork and loosened/weeded/prepped the fall bush bean bed. The plan was to plant 18' of Strike beans on one side today and 18' of Contender on the other side in about two weeks. However, half of one side still has some really pretty marigold plants there so I just planted the rest of the row with the Strikes, about 9'. We've already canned what we want so these are just for fresh eating.

Today I took down the Cherokee Trail Of Tears trellis and collected the last of those seed pods for planting next year. Maybe next week the last of the climbing butterbean pods will be dry enough so that I can collect them and take that big trellis down.

This afternoon I will start the onion and scallion seed in pots for transplanting out in October and start two more summer squash plants for fall.

Meanwhile, the netting enclosure around the field peas is doing it's job keeping the deer out. Next year I'll put it up right from the git go!
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Getting Ready For Fall

#273

Post: # 27497Unread post GoDawgs
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:38 am

This past Saturday I got a few brassicas started; broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. There will be four different start dates. I'm still trying to get them spaced out so that there's a nice steady flow of produce without an avalanche of any one thing! For example, there will be eight broccoli plants total, four each of Packman and four of a new-to-me OP variety called Umpqua. One of each was started Saturday, then one of each will get started on 8/21, 9/1 and 9/17. Those September starts won't get in the ground until mid and late October so that will also be an experiment in seeing how shorter days will affect the finish. The cabbages will be staggered too and they're all different DTMs from short to long.

Yesterday I started seed of Guardsman scallions, three varieties of bulbing onions and two more straightneck squash. Two of the three rhubarb plants got repotted to quart containers as was a Jochalos micro tomato. The basil cuttings I took a while ago are rooted and growing fast. One light shelf is now full.

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I've been saving some seed here and there and after several weeks of drying it's probably safe enough to pack them up. In the back row are two kinds of black eye susan variants to see if they come true, Whippersnapper tomato and Giant Italian parsley. In the front are Alabama Blackeye butterbeans, Cherokee Trail Of Tears beans and Rosella cherry tomato seeds. The bean seed will get several days in the freezer before storing just to make sure any bug eggs, etc are killed.

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Two evenings ago I was mowing between the garden beds when I looked up and saw this great cloud formation. I couldn't find it in my book with tons of cloud pics so I e-mailed it to the local tv weatherman for identification. No answer yet, if ever. Looks like maybe the outflow from a distant t-storm? Interesting. @edweather, would you know about this?

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Monitoring Progress

#274

Post: # 27753Unread post GoDawgs
Sun Aug 09, 2020 6:57 am

Every once in a while I take some pics of the garden as a whole. It’s fun to watch it change over the year. This is the right side of the garden. The new blueberry bed is in front. It has just two blueberry bushes on the right side just to see if they’ll do well here before I buy several more this fall. The other half of the bed has Indian Summer Rudbeckia I grew for the first time from seed. They’re doing great!

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Behind that bed is the four rowed field pea fortress. Some of the munched plants are showing signs of foliage while the others continue merrily on their way. Beyond them are three fallow beds and an open space that is now the former asparagus bed. Growing there are one zucchini rampicante and one spaghetti squash. There are four beds beyond that including peppers, ending in the muscadine grapes on the fence at the top.

The left side begins with Pickles' sunflowers and an open area that grew corn last spring. This year it was used for watermelon and spaghetti squash, all of which succumbed to rootknot nematodes. Beyond that area are various beds that right now have sweet potatoes, a trellis with the last of the climbing butterbeans, Colossus field peas, some zinnias, the drying popcorn and tomato cages at the top.

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The okra is moving right along. The two Cajun Jewels on the right are kicking out a mess of okra from a lot of new production points. Those pods get too big in a hurry so I’m needing to pick daily. There are three Choppee plants on the left (one’s hiding behind the big one). They’re a lot slower to produce.

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The new leaves on the Jewels are starting to skinny up and are a lot different from those huge initial leaves. I wonder if they’re getting ready to grow vertically instead of laterally.

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Late yesterday afternoon we got yet another t-storm for the fourth straight day. That dropped another 8/10” of rain, making a total of 5.5” for the four days. I’m NOT complaining! There are no puddles or other standing water anywhere as the ground continues to suck it up, getting ready for the last few months of summer heat. My weather data shows that we normally get these stretches of rain in August but usually around the third week of the month. That’s OK; we’ll take it whenever we can get it!.

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Staked Squash A Success (and other updates)

#275

Post: # 27963Unread post GoDawgs
Tue Aug 11, 2020 3:48 pm

Squash update time. This is the first time I've ever tried growing yellow summer squash up a stake. The straightneck was taller than the crookneck for a good while but now the crookneck has gone on a growth spurt and is taller. And it's about to explode with squash.

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The straightneck is taking a break but there are lots of flower buds for the next round.

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So far these are the healthiest summer squash I think I've ever grown. Perhaps being off the ground provides better air flow, a more dry environment deterring powdery mildew, etc. And they just might have been planted late enough (they were second round plants after the first rounders died) that the squash vine borers (SVB's) had moved on. The fact that I was diligent in keeping Sevin dust around the plant bases and reapplying after rain probably didn't hurt either.

At the other end of that bed there are two National Pickling cukes going, one running and one climbing.

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The tomatoes in the garden are nearing the end of the line. It's been a battle against funk after all the rain we've been getting. Over time I've been cutting off infected foliage before spraying and now most of the plants are bare up to the top cluster of fruit and leaves. But there are several that have clean new growth at the bottom so I'm going to play with cutting those plants back down to about 2-3' tall and tossing the rest.

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Finally....*finally*... the purple coneflowers I grew from seed have started blooming. Good grief, they were started April 5th!

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The plants themselves have been very healthy but just as slow as molasses. And being a generic one, they're not even that pretty considering the wait. Oh well, I'll do something quicker next year. Like maybe more of these Indian Summer Rudbeckia!

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Last edited by GoDawgs on Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Now You See it, Now You Don't

#276

Post: # 28239Unread post GoDawgs
Sat Aug 15, 2020 11:14 am

As the season moves along, things come and things go. This past week the big trellis went, as the Cherokee Trail of Tears beans and the blackeye butterbeans were done. Now you see it...

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and now you don't. Like magic. :) That mess at the bottom of the photo is where the trombone zucchini and spaghetti squash vines are playing. Likewise, that mess in the middle of the photo in the empty area is sweet potato vines among the weeds. I cut those vines back yesterday to let all the energy go into potatoes for the last four weeks until digging.

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The micro tomatoes on the front porch have set another batch of flowers, lot of them. They're been tickled with the electric toothbrush but it remains to be seen if the pollen is viable in the recent heat. I should know soon as the flowers are about ready to drop and we'll see if any little green BBs start to appear.

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This morning I spied a laced up leaf or two. Closer inspection revealed that the danged southern army worms are back. There were a lot more of them than just the one I happened to see and there were some on the other plants too. Sneaky little bastiges.

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Time to get out the bT spray before they get any bigger. The UGA extension folks said bT only works well on these when they're 1/2" long or smaller. Larger ones can withstand bT and that means hand picking. I inspected every branch closely on all of the plants and think I've got most of them. Then I found this one when I went out to take a pic. I need to spray. It's always something, ya know? :roll:

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Re: The Dawg Patch

#277

Post: # 28308Unread post Ginger2778
Sun Aug 16, 2020 5:37 am

I just learned about sweet potatoes from your post. I had no idea that it helps to cut back the foliage a month before harvesting. Where did you learn to do that?
Thanks for posting.
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Re: The Dawg Patch

#278

Post: # 28315Unread post GoDawgs
Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:15 am

I learned about pruning sweet potato vines from somewhere on the internet. I want to say it might have been on the site of Sow True Seed in Ashville, NC. They had (maybe still have) a "how to grow sweet potatoes" thing. Actually, I probably should have done it earlier in the season. When I first read it, it seemed to make sense to me. I also read that sweet potato leaves (newer foliage) are edible and I've tried them. They're OK in an emergency but I wouldn't eat them on a regular basis.
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Re: The Dawg Patch

#279

Post: # 28317Unread post Ginger2778
Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:55 am

I never ate them but I read that they are like spinach. Some critter likes the orange ones leaves, but lets the purple sweet potato foliage alone. Maybe it's an antho dislike thing.
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Re: The Dawg Patch

#280

Post: # 28335Unread post GoDawgs
Sun Aug 16, 2020 10:01 am

Yeah, "like spinach". I heard that too but it's a bit different. Let's just call it a "green" flavor all of its own. If you pick a sweet potato leaf you will see a white latex-like substance ooze out of the end of the stem. That's what probably makes the difference. I do like to experiment so when I read about it, you know I had to try it just once. :D
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