Tag Archives: tomato

Tomato’s Seed to Table – Short Course

Don’t Crowd Seedlings.
Don’t Let Seedlings Grow Into Each Other. If you are starting tomatoes from seed, be sure to give the seedlings room to branch out. Close conditions inhibit their growth, so transplant them as soon as they get their first true leaves and move them into 4″ pots about 2 weeks after that.

Provide lots of light.
Tomato seedlings will need either strong, direct sunlight or 14-18 hours under grow lights. Place the young plants only a couple of inches from florescent grow lights. Plant your tomatoes outside in the sunniest part of your vegetable plot.

Put a fan on your seedlings.
Tomato plants need to move and sway in the breeze, to develop strong stems. Provide a breeze by turning a fan on them for 5-10 minutes twice a day.

Preheat the soil in your garden.
Using Black Plastic to Warm the Soil. Tomatoes love heat. Cover the planting area with black or red plastic a couple of weeks before you intend to plant. Those extra degrees of warmth will translate into earlier tomatoes. Tomato’s will germinate below 70 degrees, however best results are obtained when soil temperature is above 70 degrees and below 95 degrees.

Bury them deep.
Bury tomato plants deeper than they come in the pot, all the way up to a few top leaves. Tomatoes are able to develop roots all along their stems. You can either dig a deeper hole or simply dig a shallow tunnel and lay the plant sideways. It will straighten up and grow toward the sun. Be careful not to drive your pole or cage into the stem.

Mulch Later.
Straw Makes a Great Vegetable Garden Mulch. Mulch after the ground has had a chance to warm up. Mulching does conserve water and prevents the soil and soil born diseases from splashing up on the plants, but if you put it down too early it will also shade and therefore cool the soil. Try using plastic mulch for heat lovers like tomatoes and peppers. (See Tip #4)

Remove the Bottom Leaves.
Tomato Leaf Spot Diseases. Once the tomato plants are about 3′ tall, remove the leaves from the bottom 1′ of stem. These are usually the first leaves to develop fungus problems. They get the least amount of sun and soil born pathogens can be unintentionally splashed up onto them. Spraying weekly with compost tea also seems to be effective at warding off fungus diseases.

Pinch & Prune for More Tomatoes
Tomato Suckers in the Joint of Branches. Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. They won’t bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant. But go easy on pruning the rest of the plant. You can thin leaves to allow the sun to reach the ripening fruit, but it’s the leaves that are photosynthesizing and creating the sugars that give flavor to your tomatoes.

Water the Tomato Plants Regularly.
Blossom End Rot. Water deeply and regularly while the plants are developing. Irregular watering, (missing a week and trying to make up for it), leads to blossom end rot and cracking. Once the fruit begins to ripen, lessening the water will coax the plant into concentrating its sugars. Don’t withhold water so much that the plants wilt and become stressed or they will drop their blossoms and possibly their fruit.

Getting Them to Set Tomatoes.
Determinate type tomatoes tend to set and ripen their fruit all at about the same time, making a large quantity available when you’re ready to make sauce.
You can get indeterminate type tomatoes to set fruit earlier by pinching off the tips of the main stems in early summer.

Iowa State University is for those of you that garden in the northern 1/2 of the U.S. University of Texas provides information that most often effect southern state tomato gardens.

No matter where you live both sites have a huge amount of useful information on Identifying and treating tomato diseases. Don’t be discouraged or intimidated by the sheer numbers of tomato diseases. I’m pretty sure you will not suffer from all of them this year. in fact, insect control very well maybe your biggest problem in a home garden.

Iowa State University Contains Pictures, description, Control and Treatment of tomato disease, bacterial and virus infections.

Texas A and M University Contains Pictures, description, Control and Treatment of tomato disease, bacterial and virus infections.

Insect control just like disease control starts with properly identifying the insect(s) that are causing your problems.
Colorado State University will help you identify and control some of the most common tomato insect pest.

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Dried Tomato’s Packed In Olive Oil

Selecting tomato’s to be dried. Select any kind of Tomato, ripe, but not over ripe, still firm and free of insect damage or bruising. The yield varies considerably depending on the moisture content of the tomatoes, which depends upon the type of tomato you select weather and gardening conditions.
* Oven drying, set oven temperature to 130 to 145 degrees. Prop open (crack oven door) to allow warm moist air to escape.
* Counter top electric dehydrator. Follow instructions for your dehydrator.

Cut small tomatoes, grape, cherry and Roma types in half. Cut large tomatoes in to 1/4 size. Under running cold water remove seeds. Dust with your choice of herbs. Place tomatoes ‘Skin Side Down’ on drying racks.

Drying time depends on temperature and water content of the tomatoes, the thickness of the slices, and how well the air is able to circulate around them. When done, the tomatoes should be flexible, like a fresh raisin, not brittle. Dehydrating Your Fruit and Vegetable Harvest
Hint If you are going to pack your tomato’s in olive oil, error on being a little moist over being overly dry.

Let your tomatoes cool to room temperature this will take about 20 to 30 minutes. Fill zip lock bags. Don’t overfill the bags, leave a little room for expansion. Do try to avoid leaving any excess air pockets! A vacuum bag is a better choice. Be sure to squeeze out the extra air.

Storing your dried tomatoes. Store dried tomatoes in a cool dark place. The freezer is best, the dried tomatoes will retain their color and flavor for about 9 to 12 months. A refrigerator is OK for a few weeks, but if there is much moisture left in them, they WILL soon start to get moldy.

Packing Dried Tomato’s In Oil

Using wide mouth, canning jars, 1/2 or 1 pint size. You can use larger jars they’ll store more tomatoes. Wash and sterilize your jars and utensils.

Layering your dried tomatoes in the jar adding between each layer. A pinch salt, a thin slice of garlic, pinch of dried basel and oregano. Repeat this process until you’re nearly at the top of the jar (leave 1/2 inch or more of head space). Use a spoon and press down to compress the ingredients.

Fill your jars with olive oil, make sure that the tomatoes are completely covered with olive oil.
Hint Let jars set a few minutes allowing air bubbles to escape and top off with oil as needed.

Tightly seal and store the jar in a cool, dark place. I think being refrigerated is best, Not Stored in a pantry.

Let your tomatoes sit for a week before consuming them. This will allow your tomato’s, spices and olive oil to infuse and allow your tomatoes to become soft. Ready to grace any dish you prepare.

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Preserving Your Excess Tomato Crop

At some point most gardeners will have a few or a lot of excess tomato’s. Ripe tomato’s have a short shelf life, so to preserve your crop consider one of the following options.

Preparing Tomato’s for Canning or Freezing Select only disease free, vine ripe, tomato’s.

Freezing Tomato’s is fast, easy and a good option even if you only have a few excess tomato’s.
Wash tomato’s under cold running water. Dry your tomato’s well and pack whole in freezer bags.
Hint After thawing your frozen tomato’s the skin will easily slip off.

Acidification – to ensure safe acidity in whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes, add two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid per quart of tomatoes.
Hint Four tablespoons of a 5 percent acid vinegar per quart may be used instead of lemon juice or citric acid.
For pints, use one tablespoon bottled lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid or 2 tablespoons vinegar.
Lemond juice, citric acid or vinegar can be added directly to the jars before filling.
* Some gardeners add a small amount sugar (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) to offset acid taste.

Wash tomatoes under cold running water. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Dip in cold(ice) water. Slip off skins and remove cores.
Hint Coring tomato’s is optional.
Leave whole or cut in halve or quarters. Add bottled lemon juice, vinegar or citric acid to jars.
{Optional} Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jars.

Raw pack Heat water to boiling for packing tomatoes. Fill hot sterilized jars with raw tomatoes. Cover tomatoes in the jars with boiling water, leaving 1/2 inch head space.

Hot pack Put prepared tomatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to completely cover them. Boil tomatoes gently for 5 minutes. Fill hot sterilized jars with hot tomatoes. Add cooking liquid to the jars to cover the tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
Optional Hint Strain cooking liquid to remove tomato seeds.

A Word Of Caution.
Canning tomato’s is easy, However, Carefully Follow the canning times to insure your tomato’s reach the temperature required to kill all harmful bacteria.

Table 1. Recommended
process time for water-packed Whole or Halved Tomatoes
in a boiling water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 – 1,000 ft 1,001 – 3,000 ft 3,001 – 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot &
Raw
Pints 40 min 45 50 55
Quarts 45 50 55 60
Table 2. Recommended
process time for water-packed Whole or Halved Tomatoes
in a dial-gauge pressure canner
  Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 2,000 ft 2,001 – 4,000 ft 4,001 – 6,000 ft 6,001 – 8,000 ft
Hot &
Raw
Pints or Quarts 15 min 6 lb 7 lb 8 lb 9 lb
10 11 12 13 14
Table 3. Recommended
process time for water-packed Whole or Halved Tomatoes
in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Gauge Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 – 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot &
Raw
Pints or
Quarts
15 min 5 lb 10 lb
10 10 15

Hint Add a bit of spice to your life. Before packing jars with tomato’s, add a spoon full of finely chopped onion, garlic, oregano, basel, pepper (hot or mild) or other spices you like.

This is an updated version of a July 2013 posting.

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‘Adult’ Tomato Juice – Homemade – Quick And Easy

Select ripe juicy tomato’s.
Wash then blanch in boiling water 1 minute.
Cool quickly in ice water.
Peel tomato’s and remove stem scar.
Cut tomato’s into quarters.
Add 1 tbs worcester sauce.
Add 1/2 tbs Louisiana or tabasco hot sauce.
Add 1/2 tbs ‘non’ iodized salt.
Using a blender, puree tomato’s.
Carefully measure your tomato puree.
Add an equal volume of 100 proof(50%) Vodka or Gin.
Stir well.
Seal jar using a ‘new’ lid.
Store tomato juice in your refrigerator.
Serve with a fresh cut stick of celery.
Juice will keep longer than it takes you to consume this juice.

Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Corn-o-rama ?

Early planted corn ‘about 30 stalks’, is in full tassel stage and it looks like I may get as many as 60 ears of corn to harvest by the end of this week.

I have never planted this variety ‘Peaches & Cream’ sold by Ferry-Morse seed company. Seed package said ears will be 7 1/2 inches long. Well truth is I’m not convinced that my crop will ever be more than 6 or so inches long. My stunted corn crop problem was not caused by a lack of moisture or fertilized.

I will not plant this variety next year. First and second planting had at best only about 75 percent germination rate. The stalks are small and under size for their age. The ears are also small. Well filled out but small all the same.

Second planting of corn, same variety and supplier, had a poor germination out of about 35 seeds planted I have about 15 stalks that will enter tassel stage near the 30 of this month. Even with this poor stand, I may, with luck, harvest near 30 ears of corn.

These two plantings will give me and family a lot of smallish ears of fresh corn and a good number of ears to freeze for this winters table.

On the sunny side, I discovered a sunflower only about 2 feet tall but if has a flower at least 8 inches in diameter and an unusually light, bright yellow flower. Grin … no idea where it came from.

O-yes, my porch container planted tomato has started blooming. Loads of grape size tomato’s, mmmm, that’s yet to be seen.

A New Hybrid Tomato/Potato – Known As “TomTato” Or “Ketchup ‘n’ Fries”

Source [Fox News] Ketchup ‘n’ Ffies

You Can’t make this stuff up. Tom Tato or Ketchup ‘n’ Fries is now available in the US after first being released in the UK.

Ketchup ‘n’ Fries combines a vine growing cherry tomatoes with roots growing white potatoes but it is not genetically (GMO) engineered. Ketchup ‘n’ Fries is created by grafting a tomatoe vine onto a potato rootstock.

Ketchup ‘n’ Fries a non-GMO plant in a 2.5-inch pot from Territorial Seed Company

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Tomato Horn Worm And Tobacco Horn Worm

Of all the tomato growing problems that I can take action to control. The tomato/tobacco horn worm has to be on the top of my list of things to control.
Tobacco horn worm larva is generally green with seven diagonal white lines on the sides and a curved red tipped horn.
Tomato horn worms have eight V-shaped marks on each side and their horn is straighter and blue-black in color. Horn worms are the larvae of hawk or sphinx moths, also known as hummingbird moths. Tobacco horn worm are generally the most commonly seen of the two, but both can be found and may even be present on the same plant.

Tomato/tobacco horn worms are the largest caterpillars found in this area and can measure up to 4 inches in length. The prominent “horn” on the rear of both gives them their name.

The size of these garden pests allows them to quickly defoliate tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Occasionally, they may also feed on green fruit. Gardeners are likely to spot the large areas of damage at the top of a plant before they see the culprit. Horn worms are often difficult to see because of their protective coloring. They are not much for the heat of direct sunlight, they tend to feed on the interior of the plant during the day and are more easily spotted when they move to the outside of the plant at dawn and dusk.

Control of horn worms:
* Handpicking. The large size of horn worms makes it easy to get hold of them. Once removed from the plant, they can be destroyed by snipping them in half with shears or dropping them into a bucket of soap water.
* Rototilling (deep digging) your garden, turning up the soil after harvest will help destroy any pupae that may be there.
* Biological. Bacillus thuringensis, or BT (e.g., Dipel, Thuricide), is also considered very effective, especially on smaller larvae. Spray BT as a precautionary measure.

Natural enemies, such as the parasitic wasp that lays its eggs on the horn worm’s back, are common. If found, such worms should be left in the garden so the emerging wasps can parasitize other horn worms.
* Insecticides labeled for horn worm control can be used, products containing carbaryl, permethrin, spinosad insecticides. Read the label carefully before using any insecticide and follow all instructions in their use.

ADELAIDE, Australia – Officials say more than 168 buldings more three dozen homes (38 at last count) have been destroyed or badly damaged and almost 30 people have sought medical treatment as a result of a massive wildfire that has raged out of control for days across farms and woodland in southern Australia.

Pray for our Australian friends and ask what ever God you believe in to put an end to the fires and suffering.

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Tomato’s Spring Planting – Getting Started pt-2

indeterminate-tomato Planting your Tomato’s
STOP… Before you spend you egg money on tomato seed or plants. What do you ‘really’ want from your tomato garden? Selecting a Determinate or Indeterminate varieties is a very important decision.

Determinate varieties of tomatoes, also called “bush” tomatoes, are varieties that are bred to grow to a compact height (approx. 4 feet). Then they stop growing, set fruit on the terminal or top bud and ripen all their crop at or near the same time (usually over a 2 week period), then they stop blooming and die.

If you have limited space or you plan to can, dry or freeze your tomato crop for winter use. Then a Determinate variety may be your best choice.

Determinate varieties require a limited amount of caging and/or staking for support, they should NOT be pruned or “suckered” as it severely reduces your tomato crop. Determinate varieties will perform relatively well in large containers (minimum size of 5-6 gallon).

Indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are also called “vine” tomatoes. They will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost and can reach heights of up to 10 feet although 6 feet is considered the norm. They will bloom, set new fruit and ripen fruit throughout the growing season. They require substantial caging and/or staking for support and pruning and removal of suckers is practiced by many but is not mandatory. Because of the need for substantial support and the size of the plants, indeterminate varieties are not usually recommended as container plants.

Tomatoes should be set in the garden when the weather has warmed and the soil temperature is above 60°F. Soil temperatures below 50°F impair tomato growth.
Before planting, remove pots or bands from the transplant root ball. Peat pots can remain. Set the plants slightly deeper than they originally grew so lower leaves are close to the ground. If only leggy plants are available, lay them down in a trench long enough to leave only the top six inches of the plant exposed after covering the stem.
This will allow roots to develop along the buried portion of the stem. If the plant is growing in a peat pot, be sure the pot is covered with soil, as exposed portions of the pot act as a wick, causing the root ball to dry our rapidly.
Make the transplant holes three to four inches deep and two to four feet apart in the row. Space rows at least three feet apart for staked or caged plants. For unsupported plants, leave three to five feet between rows.

Tomato Harvest
During warm weather tomato fruit should be harvested twice a week. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service said “The red color in tomato fruit does not form when temperatures are above 86°F.”

Another temperature related problem is bloom drop tends to be the first problem to emerge – especially following an abrupt temperature rise. This blossom drop and becomes worse as temperatures go above 95 degrees, particularly if accompanied by hot, dry winds. Plants that are excessively lush or over fertilized are most at risk.

Just one more think that I didn’t know about Tomato’s.

Fruits allowed to ripen on the vine may be yellowish orange in extreme summer heat. For this reason, it is advisable to pick tomatoes in the pink stage and allow them to ripen indoors for optimum color development.
About 70°F is ideal to ripen tomatoes.

Light is not necessary to complete this ripening process. After tomatoes are ripened, they may be stored in the refrigerator for about one week at 45 to 50°F.

If fruit is left on the vine to ripen it should be removed from the plant while it is still firm. Allowing the fruit to remain on the vine until full maturity increases the chances of the fruit cracking.
Cracking is more of a problem after rain.

Just before frost in the fall, remove the green tomatoes on the vines, remove the stems, and wipe with a soft cloth.
Wrap each tomato in newspaper or waxed paper. Store in a cool, dark area about 55 to 60°F, and check frequently to remove any decaying or damaged fruit. As the fruits begin to turn pink, remove them and ripen at 70% F.

Fact Sheets that you may find helpful:
BAE-1511, “Trickle Irrigation Systems”
HLA-6004, “Oklahoma Garden Planting Guide”
HLA-6005, “Mulching Vegetable Garden Soils”
HLA-6007, “Improving Garden Soil Fertility”
HLA-6013, “Summer Care of the Home Vegetable Garden”
HLA-6020, “Growing Vegetable Transplants”
EPP-7313, “Home Vegetable Garden Insect Pest Control”
EPP-7640, “Solar Heating (Solarization) of Soil in Garden
Plots for control of Soil-Borne Plant Diseases”
EPP-7625, “Common Diseases of Tomatoes, Part I: Diseases
Caused by Fungi”
EPP-7626, “Common Diseases of Tomatoes, Part II: Diseases
Caused by Bacteria, Viruses, and Nematodes”
EPP-7627, “Common Diseases of Tomatoes, Part III: Diseases
Not Caused by Pathogens

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Tomato’s Spring Planting – Getting Started pt-1

Primary Source Oklahoma State University Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden HLA-6012

ripe tomato Most of this information will be applicable for all growing zones. Find Your Last Spring Time Frost Date However planting dates and often plant varieties are for zone 7 and may or may not be correct for your growing zone.

Selecting Your Growing Site
Tomatoes should be grown in full sunlight and planted away from trees and shrubs to obtain highest yield. Tomato plants require an abundant moisture for best growth, so arrange for easy watering. The area selected should be well drained since poor drainage promotes root loss.
Tomatoes grown on heavy or poorly drained soils should be planted in raised beds or mounds four to six inches high.
Soil Preparation Tomatoes grow well in many types of soil but prefer deep, fertile, well-drained soil that is amply supplied with organic matter and is slightly acidic (pH of about 6.5). The soil should be worked only when it is dry enough that it will not stick to tools.

Fertilization
Fertilizers should be added when the soil is prepared for planting. A soil sample should be taken for testing if fertilizer needs are not known.

When needed, a complete garden fertilizer should be added to the soil when it is prepared for planting. Tomatoes prefer a fertilizer low in nitrogen, high in phosphorus, and medium to high in potassium. Prior to transplanting, use one to two pounds of 10-20-10 or similar fertilizer for each 100 square feet if you do not have soil test information. All fertilizers should be worked into the top six inches of soil. For additional details on fertilization and soil preparation, obtain OSU Fact Sheet HLA-6007

Tomato Varieties
Small Fruit———————Large Fruit——————–Paste
Juliet————————–Better Boy VFN—————–Milano VF
Mountain Bell VF—————-Big Beef VNF——————-Roma VFN (canning)
Small Fry VFN——————-Bigset VF———————-San Remo VF
Sweet 100———————–Brandywine———————
Pixie—————————Carmello VNFT
Sungold FT———————-Carnival VNF
2Sweet Million FNT————–Celebrity VNF
Yellow Pear———————Flora-dade VF
——————————–Heatwave VF
——————————–Jet Star VF
——————————–Mountain Pride VF
——————————–Pik-Red VNF
——————————–Summer Flavor 5000 VNF
——————————–Sunny VF
——————————–Sunray F (yellow)
Disease resistance or tolerance codes:
Verticillium wilt (V)
Fusarium wilt, Race I (F)
Fusarium wilt, Races 1 & 2(F2)
Root-Knot nematode (N)
Tobacco mosaic virus (T)
Alternaria stem canker (A)
Stemphylium (gray leaf spot) (S)

Tomato Plants
Earliness of production and quantity of fruit produced are influenced by the quality of the plant and the time it is transplanted in the garden. The ideal tomato plant should be six to eight inches tall and dark green, with a stocky stem and well-developed root system. Normally, six to eight weeks are required to produce
this type of plant from seed.
OSU recommends If you are interested in having only fresh tomato’s you should plant three to five plants per person. If fruit is wanted for home processing, then five to ten plants per person should be grown.

A Word About Watering Tomato’s.
Top watering or using a sprinkler to water your tomato’s is the worst thing that you can do. Even heavy rain fall can cause soil containing disease to be splashed on to your tomato plant leafs

Tomatoes require at least one inch of water per week during May and June and at least two inches per week during July, August, and September. The soil should be watered thoroughly once or twice per-week. Apply enough water to penetrate to a depth of 12 to 18 inches.

Saving Water
Simple, inexpensive equipment for drip irrigation of gardens is available. By this technique plants receive water more efficiently. None of the water comes in contact with the foliage, thereby reducing leaf and fruit disease problems.
The total amount of water applied by the drip irrigation method might be less than half the amount applied in the more conventional way.
OSU County Extension have information concerning methods and equipment needs for applying water by drip
irrigation methods. See OSU Fact Sheet BAE-1511 Drip Irrigation

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Tomato Soup Fit For The Pope

Every cook needs a Tomato Soup recipe in his/her arsenal of winter comfort foods.

Pope’s Tomato Soup

Source Swiss Guards tomato soup inspired by the Pope
“Buon Appetito, Swiss Guard”, reveals the particular tastes of Pope Francis and his two predecessors, Benedict XVI and John Paul II.

Florentine Tomato Soup
1 onion
500 g cherry tomatoes
30 ml olive oil
50 ml vinegar
250 ml vegetable stock
350 ml tomato juice
2 tsp basil oil
2 tsp raw cane sugar
basil for garnish
sea ​​salt
freshly ground pepper

For the croutons
4 slices of toast
1 tsp rosemary
30g butter
sea ​​salt

Finely chop the onion and the cherry tomatoes and sauté in 30 milliliters of olive oil. Sprinkle on the sugar and let it caramelize. Deglaze with the balsamic. Pour in the tomato juice and vegetable stock, let the soup simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender and then finely sieve. Season with sea salt, pepper and basil oil.

Finely chop the rosemary. Remove the crusts from the toast slices and cut into small cubes. Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the toast bread cubes until golden yellow. Season with sea salt and chopped rosemary.

Serve soup garnished with basil leaves and croutons.

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