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Heirloom Vegetables: Carolyn, Tell Us Please.....

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Forum: Heirloom VegetablesReplies: 27, Views: 1,158
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Richmond, KY
(Zone 6b)

April 15, 2001
8:53 PM

Post #3667

if you absolutely, positutely had to pick just one tomato variety, what would it be? How come that one?
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

April 16, 2001
2:52 AM

Post #68129

Nope Brook, I can't name just one. LOL And I won't name just one. I can't tell you how many times I've been asked the same question and I can't/won't answer it. No amount of dark chocolate will help. LOL

Last year I was ganged up on at AOL, my home base, and relented and gave a list of 10, but each one had a back up so I was able to fit in 20. LOL

Carolyn, who never had human kids and won't pick just one of her mater kids lest I be accused of favoritism by the tomato Gods and Goddesses.
Richmond, KY
(Zone 6b)

April 16, 2001
11:34 AM

Post #68150

But Carolyn, this isn't just any dark chocolate. This is Lady Godiva... ;>)

Seriously, then. How about repeating the list you ran on AOL? Purty pweeze??
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

April 16, 2001
2:48 PM

Post #68181


I don't like Lady Godiva chocolates. LOL Too overpriced.

I'll try to find my abbreviated AOL fave 10/20 list in the backposts and if I don't I'll make up a new list. LOL

But no searching until I get these darn tomato seeds sown. Got the list done, now to find the seeds. LOL

Lyndeborough, NH

April 16, 2001
5:06 PM

Post #68219

Would it do any good to open a Lindt store near you?


Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

April 17, 2001
1:55 PM

Post #68411

With 59 hits youse guys are making me feel guilty for not doing that posting of my 10/20 faves. LOL

But I can't find the original of that in the AOL backposts and I just am NOT going to take the time to recreate it until I have my own seeds sown and delivered to the germination greenhouse at Charlie's place.

Sorry, but you'll just have to put up with waiting a bit longer.

I'd give anything to be able to transfer over here the many posts I've written at AOL. But I guess that isn't a possibility. Heck, I was lucky and pleased as heck to see that URL I did to Keith Mueller's web site re vernalization show up as an hyperlink here. LOL I'd prefer just pulling stuff in posts here as blue links but I guess it won't happen.

I'm computer illiterate, as are my two cats, so please just put up with me. LOL

Richmond, KY
(Zone 6b)

April 18, 2001
12:37 AM

Post #68605

Hey, Carolyn,

Priorities are priorities. And we've waited this long for it; another couple of weeks sure won't hurt.

Appreciate it whenever it gets posted.
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

April 21, 2001
12:07 AM

Post #69432

I've got 12 categories to list per my faves as of today. LOL And that means it can change this summer because I have some newbies, Actually one I tasted last summer and thought it was great but the deer got the rest of them and I couldn't save seed so I need a second look and taste. And soon I'll get around to posting what I'm growing this summer under that thread already here.

1.Large Pinks

Sudduth strain of Pink Brandywine
Large Pink Bulgarian
Omar's Lebanese
Aunt Ginny's Purple
Dr. Lyle

2.Small Pinks

Eva Purple Ball
Sandul Moldovan
Estler Mortgage Lifter
German Head

3.Large Reds

Andrew Rahart's Jumbo Red (not Jumbo)
Aker's West Virginia
OTV Brandywine
Russian #117

4. Small Reds

Bulgarian #7
Red Brandywine
Box Car Willie

5. Hearts

German Red Strawberry
Nicky Crain
Reif Red
Anna Russian


Earl of Edgecombe
Kellogg's Breakfast

7. White

White Queen

8.Yellow/Gold (not bicolors)

Dr. Wyche
Yellow Brandywine
Dixie Golden Giant
Golden Queen (USDA strain only)


Noir de Crimee
Black from Tula


Aunt Ruby's German Green

11. Cherries

Green Grape
Dr. Carolyn
Camp Joy
Amish Salad
Red and Yellow Pears, but not for taste; for cuteness

12.True Bicolors

Big Rainbow
Regina's Yellow
Marizol Gold
Mary Robinson

Richmond Hill, GA
(Zone 8b)

April 21, 2001
11:45 PM

Post #69712

Thank you, Carolyn! I'll be sure to try a few off your list next year. :)

Richmond Hill, GA
(Zone 8b)

April 22, 2001
5:20 PM

Post #69907

I just noticed something, Carolyn and I thought I'd ask you about it. Why do you like the Sudduth strain of Pink Brandywine? Would this strain produce better in the heat of the deep South? Thanks. :)

Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

April 23, 2001
12:17 AM

Post #70026


There are over 20 different stains of Pink Brandywine, each slightly different from the other. I've grown maybe 12 of them. it wasn't until a friend sent me seeds for the Sudduth strain that I was a believer in Pink Brandywine as a great variety. And many others agree that the Sudduth, also called the Quisenberry strain, is the best.

There is no difference in the reproductive stuctures of any of the strains so the answer to your question is no, the Sudduth strain won't do better than any other strain in the South.

Richmond Hill, GA
(Zone 8b)

April 23, 2001
1:00 AM

Post #70038

I thought I might hear something else about the Sudduth strain. Oh well. I guess I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best out of my Pink Brandywines.
Richmond Hill, GA
(Zone 8b)

May 4, 2001
12:36 PM

Post #72625

Carolyn, I found the post of your favorites that you were referring to and looking for. I hope you won't mind if I post it for all the folks that can't go read at the AOL tomato folder. Thanks! :)


Carolyn's post @ the AOL tomato folder:

"First I'd like to discuss heirloom OP varieties and then hybrids.

A few general considerations need to be mentioned. Regardless of what someone else says about a particular variety, each person needs to grow it and taste it to see how it does for them. Tastes differ. Climates differ. Climate and fertilizers and Lord knows what else can alter the performance and taste of a tomato. Gardeners have their own gardening practices which vary widely.

The smallest fruit types bear the most, like cherries and medium size ones, and beefsteaks usually bear less, with some exceptions. Heart shaped varieties bear the least amount of fruit but to many folks they have some of the best tastes. The various colored tomatoes perform differently in different parts of the country. The dark ones like Cherokee Purple or Black from Tula color up deeply in the South but not in the north. On the other hand we northerners can grow varieties such as Pink Brandywine which don't do well in the south because they have deformed calyces which doesn't allow for good pollination on top of the problems with high heat and devlopment of sterile pollen. Many of the large blossomed potato leaf varieties also have real problems setting fruit in prolonged heat. The deformed blossom problem is universal, not just limited to the south. The white varieties usually are yellow in the south because of high sun intensity whereas in the north the degree of whiteness is more dependent on the degree of foliage cover.

The varieties below represent my personal selections and were culled from my book, by and large but not exclusively, but input into varieties and their performance in almost zones has come from other areas also. For instance, for several years Craig LeHoullier and I did an international newsletter on heirloom tomatoes. I got lots of feedback on performance from many of those folks who lived in almost every state representing almost every growing zone. And the input of folks here in the folder for five years and the input of my many tomato friends from Seed Savers Exchange has also helped me a lot. I've grown over 1200 different varieties of tomatoes including both heirlooms and hybrids and have been doing so for over 50 years.

I'm listing the heirlooms by color class and then separate lists for cherries, pastes and early varieties. For folks who've grown all that I list here I'd be glad to give further suggestions. This list represents what I consider to be the most no sweat varieties to grow in addition to representing the glorious tastes and fruit shapes and colors found with heirloom varieties. LOLMuch more info is known about lots of them in terms of jistories, but that's far too much info to put in posts here in AOL, with few exceptions. I mean every year it seems I do a post on untangling the Brandywine varieties for folks. LOL


Aker's West Virginia; gorgeous lg red beef
Andrew Rahart's Jumbo Red; not jumbo but a beef and super taste.
Box Car Willie; workhorse of a tomato, globes, high yield
OTV Brandywine; better than the Pink for the South, super taste, potato leaf
Red Brandywine; regular leaf, globes, not related to other Brandies
Druzba: Superb, high yielding globe, great taste
German Red Strawberry; One of the best red hearts
Reif Red Heart; an alternative to above in heart shape
Russian #117; huge sometimes double hearts
Zogola; Never fails, huge beef, great taste, high yield
Bulgarian Triumph; a cluster type tomato with superb taste as are all Bulgarians I've tasted
Rutgers; Should have included in my book but didn't. Workhorse standard commercial type with real tomato taste.


And from here on out I'm not talking about taste unless I need to. These all have great taste or I wouldn't have included them in my book, or here. LOL

Anna Russian; pink heart, very early for a heart
Aunt Ginny's Purple; lg beef, potato leaf
Pink Brandywine; but ONLY the Sudduth strain as listed in two catalogs, potato leaf
Crnkovic Yugoslavian; Sweet and lucious, oblate (flattened fruit)
Dr. Lyle; huge beefsteaks, good production for a lg one
Dr. Neal; same as above in plant habit, big ones with taste
Eva Purple Ball; everyones favorite, globe with lovely pink color, juicy, prolific perfect fruit
Large Pink Bulgarian; lg beef, can be super big, that great Bulgarian taste
Omar's Lebanese; another great one, lg beef, can get real big
Sandul Moldovan; oblate, sweet and productive


Yellow Brandywine; only the Platfoot strain
Dr. Wyche's Yellow; lg beef, good performer
Hugh's; lucious lg lite yellow beefs
Lillian's Yellow Heirloom; Superb but not easy. On;y lg yellow which stays yellow with potato leaf foliage, creamy flesh
Manyel: prolific globes
Plum Lemon; fruit shaped like lemons, slight citrus taste
Dixie Golden Giant; med size beef


Earl of Edgecombe; outstanding, globes
Kellogg's Breakfast; big beef's, much better than Amana orange
Orange Strawberry; super vibrant orange heart


These fruits are green when ripe. Absolutely delicious spicy, sweet taste. Interior is neon green. Please consider growing Green Grape (see cherries) in order to practice knowing when they are ripe.

Aunt Ruby's German Green; everyone's fave, only lg beef of this color
Green, or Dorothy's Green; also a fine one
Evergreen; also an alternative
Green Zebra; also in my book because many folks like it, for me it's too astringent but other say sweet and nice


I've grown lots of whites; Most are so bland as to be not worth growing. Most whites turn yellow with exposure to the sun and have a pink blush on the blossom end. The only white I think has any flavor at all is White Queen and it's a good one.


A bicolor is a variety that has a basic background color with a second color that appears starting at the blossom end and moving up to the stem end and that second color is found on the interior. So the novelty striped varieties don't qualify as bicolors because the 2nd color doesn't penetrate. Bicolors are not the easiest to grow. Can vary tremendously from one season to the next. Great one year, goo goo the next...for the same variety. Bicolors can be had in different color combos but gold/red types are the most common and what I list here. A major problem with bicolors is concentric cracking at the stem end. The following seem to be better in this regard.

Big Rainbow; lg beef type
Marizol Gold; oblate fruits with scalloping, foliage bluish green
Regina's Yellow; nice bicolor


Cherokee Purple; med size, a fave of lots of folks
Black from Tula; the only beef type in this color class
Black Krim; globe shape
Pale Perfect Purple; not purple because purple in tomato language mean pink, with two exceptions, but perfect deep pink globes with potao leaf foliage. juicy and nice.


Mirabell; thumb size lite yellow
Pink Ping Pong; pong sized pink
Dr. Carolyn; ivory to lite yellow depending on foliage cover
Green Grape; green when ripe type
Mini-Orange; pong sized orange, mild flavor
Reisentraube; unique flower stem with 200-300 blossoms, about 40/cluster of red fruits with nipple
Red and Yellow Pears; grow because so darn cute, not much tomato flavor
Galina's Yellow; deep yellow fruits, potato leaf foliage
Chelsea; standard red cherry


Most paste tomatoes taste lousy compared to the alternatives. I can't explain why so many folks insist on using them to make sauces when they could be using a really great tasting variety and just cooking down the sauce a bit more. Most paste varieties, especially the hybrids, are very susceptible to blossom end rot (BER). the following heirloom varieties are less susceptible, for those who insist on using paste tomatoes.

Martino's Roma; small plum
Opalka; long pepper shape, darn good for a paster
Heidi and Tadsse and Wuhib are also good varieties but not yet commercially available if i remember correctly. Maybe Chuck Wyatt would have them. I forgot to check. I sent him the seed last Spring.


My feeling is that early varieties aren't worth growing because the taste is not good. But after a winter of ethylene gassed pink anemic tomatoes from FL and Mexico I guess folks will eat anything. LOL if you use a variety that is a midseason one you only have to wait a couple of weeks and you get something decent. And this comment applies even more so to all the early hybrid varieties out there.

Stupice; early and great taste, red globe
Sophie's Choice; short plant loaded with huge red tomatoes. like wet feet
Anna Russian, pretty early for most folks


I grow hybrids only to compare with heirlooms which is why I went to growing almost all heirloom types. LOL I cannot understand why so many folks insist on growing hybrids unless they just don't know any alternatives. Tomato hybrids don't show increased vigor because tomatoes don't show inbreeding depression (a genetic thingie) and they have been bred for uniform ripening, shippability, high solids, non-green shoulders, small cores, and whatever, but
not generally, for taste. Which is why many hybridizers are now working with heirloom types to introduce some taste. And the disease tolerances present in some but not all hybrids seems to sway folks also. But that would be wrong. Why? Well, the most common disease designations you see listed next to a hybrid are VFNT. Now V stands for Verticillium Wilt which is found in the north but not the south and the tolerance is no way absolute. F stands for
Fusarium of which there are three races. Fusarium is ONLY found in sandy soils in CA, FL, a bit in GA and some along the Gulf Coast. And the race #3 Fusarium in CA is not usually included in those tolerances. And what does tolerance mean? It means at the most, a week or two more harvesting time. N stand for Root Knot Nematode disease which is found primarily in CA and FL. And T stands for Tobacco Mosaic Virus which is no longer a problem except in a commercial greenhouse setting. And where did those tolerance genes come from in the first place? You got it, from heirlooms and other of the 8 species of tomatoes.

There are several long posts on diseases and also abiotic conditions like catfacing, cracking, etc in the AOL Garden Library And there is also a post there that explains why Blossom End Rot (BER) is NOT caused by lack of soil calcium as so many misguided garden writers and book writers continue to say without having paid any attention to the research done in the area. LOL

OK, having explained and vented a bit, what do I like in a hybrid variety?

1.Big Boy and Better Boy were two of the first hybrids ever created and I think they are just fine. And for the hybrid purists may I point out that each of the above has as one parent Teddy Jones, a pink heirloom from the midwest. Sorry, just can't help myself.

2. I prefer the taste of the Harris hybrids such as Jet Star, Supersonic and the first in the series, now available again, Moreton Hybrid. Pik Red is too susceptible to Early Blight. Don't need the Harris catalog, altho a fine seed company, can get these at TGSupply.

I've grown probably every Girl, Boy, Big this and that, Ultra this and that and still feel the above are the best if you really care about taste in a hybrid.

3.Sungold, a cherry, because I know 25 folks who would kill me if i didn't put it here but I must confess I think it tastes more like candy than a tomato. LOL I personally prefer some of the OP cherries.

4. There are no paste type hybrids I can recommend altho Andrea will chime in with that gold one. LOL

5.Different strokes for different folks. I just don't think hybrids offer that much to the gardener and that folks have been pretty much conned into buying them via garden writers and the various tomato associations. LOL I will say that performance of hybrids is more consistent, for a given variety, across many parts of the country. But I don't really know what else I can say in their defense. if you want to grow big ones for competion, let it be
know that the current world record at 7# 12 oz is an OP variety as are all the others, as far as I know, who have won national revords, There are some truly monster genes lurking in many of the OP varieties. And yield, we've got some OP's that can match the yield of any hybrid and do it with taste.

OK, I'm done. I'm tired and if this doesn't send I shall hereby skewer myself with the bamboo poles I do NOT use to trellis tomatoes. LOL"

Salina, UT
(Zone 4a)

May 4, 2001
4:32 PM

Post #72657

thanks for the list, I wish that I had run into it a few months ago when I was collecting my seeds for this season.
I have planted about 30 OP and Heirloom varieties this year and I am sorry to say that only about 6 were on your list. I haven't even heard about most of the varieties you have described until I read this.
Can you tell me a good source to get some of your favorites from? I'm starting my next years must-have list now.
Thanks, birdie

This message was edited Monday, May 7th 10:30 AM

May 4, 2001
4:45 PM

Post #72659

ditto what Birdie said. I'm growing 18 different varieties of tomato this year, and only one is on your list (Marizol Gold). Coincidentally, the Marizol Gold is the only seed I received got from the SSE this year.

Well, now I have my list for next year. :)

Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

May 4, 2001
10:49 PM

Post #72734

Actually there was an addendum to that list updating varieties and seed sources. But no matter, there's enough there for years of growing for most folks.

I'm not very good at doing hyperlinks, so I won't. But seeds for all of those varieties can be found at either:

Chuck Wyatt's website: OR

Tomato Growers Supply (enter at Google and it pops up)

Between the two sources, everything is covered if I remember correctly.

And do add Bulgarian #7, available at TGS, in the red class. An absolutely super variety; rounf red,.no blemishes, high yeilding and great taste.. I can't remember the other changes I made, but as I say, not that important.


May 5, 2001
12:47 AM

Post #72744

Chuck Wyatt's site:

Tomato Growers Supply:

Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

May 5, 2001
2:37 AM

Post #72773

Thank you Dave for those hyperlinks.

I'm not totally stupid but I was raised with an abacus instead of a computer. LOL

Carolyn, actually it was a slide rule. One day I'll learn, I really will. LOL Maybe.

May 5, 2001
2:47 AM

Post #72776

No problem, Carolyn. Making a hyperlink on Dave's Garden is easy, by the way. All you have to do is copy and paste the complete address (URL) into your post, and the DG website will take care of making it clickable for you.

Bethel, OH
(Zone 6a)

June 19, 2001
9:34 AM

Post #84534

Just a question? (or two)
I read somewhere, can't remember where, but someone wrote, check these catalog.
J L Hudson, Sand Hill, Harris Catalog, T G Supply. I can't find these anyplace. This is the first year that I am growing Heirloom vegetables in my garden. I have grown nothing but hybrids in the past and am very interested in heirlooms. Help me please. I am a member of SSE and got most of my seed from there, but would like to expand my horizons and check out these four. Are they catalog seed company's or not? Could you please post the internet sites?
Thanks bunches.
Cindy ;>)


Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a)

June 19, 2001
12:59 PM

Post #84569

JL Hudson has a website:

I don't know about the others.
Ijamsville, MD
(Zone 6b)

July 29, 2007
8:56 PM

Post #3793592

MAJOR bump - what do you think Carolyn, still like most of your picks?

Sierra Vista, AZ
(Zone 8b)

May 19, 2014
7:30 PM

Post #9843702

Any comments from you pros on which of the varieties Carolyn mentioned would do well in the high desert regions of the southwest?
North Las Vegas, NV
(Zone 9a)

September 2, 2014
6:00 PM

Post #9931693

DITTO, what WillyFromAZ said.

I live in the same climate as WillyFromAZ---Las Vegas, NV.
It's not easy growing ANY vegetable here in the HOT, DRY & WINDY
desert, but we keep trying, huh Willy?

Does ANYBODY know what I can do to reduce "CRACKING" on my
HEIRLOOM TOMATOES? I really, really try to water regularly, but
sometimes a HOT & WINDY wave will sneak up on you and the
tomatoes and Peppers wilt, but they always come back with a good
I have to grow everything in containers because we have NO SOIL,
it's Caliche, and you cannot dig in it without a jack hammer.
Besides, I can move the plants under the patio cover during the hottest part of the day.

This thread is probably way too old to help Willy or me, but just in case someone's checking this forum---

Thanks, Diane

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Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 4, 2014
3:37 PM

Post #9932971

How about doing most of the watering on a timer? There is some initial cost in buying mainline tubing and a timer and fittings, but I think that can be kept below $50-$70. You might even save a little money each by wasting less water.

if you never go away form home for a week, a spring-wound timer that you start manually, then shuts off after 20, 40 or 90 minutes can be cheap.

Or buy a battery timer or AC timer and set it to water automatically twice each day!
During a hot spell, either hand-water in addition, or run the drippers for an extra hour around Noon.

Then run either fast drippers or slow sprayers to each bucket. You could run drippers for a few hours per day, or sprayers for 10-20 minutes.

If you have to move the buckets a small distance for shade, you MIGHT be able to clip the drippers firmly to the buckets and move them together.

1/4" dripline could be run from bucket to bucket if you get the right spacing (18"??). But you would have to remove and replace the dripline each time you moved the buckets.

Most people say NOT to just spray water over the whole plant, and that WOULD be a very wasteful way to water buckets.

One side-benefit of running 1/2" irrigation mainline all around your yard is that you can put a Y with valves and a garden hose spigot every 50 feet if you want - plastic parts can be as cheap as $5 per spigot.

1/2" mainline $10 for 50 feet. $15 for 100 feet

More Spigots Equal Easier Watering:


Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 4, 2014
3:48 PM

Post #9932981

>> Does ANYBODY know what I can do to reduce "CRACKING" on my

Hot, dry, windy and cracked?

Maybe some kind of shade arrangement could give some relief during the hottest part of the day, AND block some of the wind. Both of those would reduce the water imbalance.

It is possible that the soil in the buckets is perfectly moist, but no possible root system could keep up with the demand at high Noon, with dry hot wind.

If you have free poles like bamboo, "Boy Scout lashing" would let you build lean-to arrangements that give partial shade from one direction only.

Something similar to a snow fence might block or, rather, slow the wind. Or some nativve plant that can withstand your climate, yet grow tall and thick enough to block wind (but not block too much sun).

Is the summer, Noon wind usually from just one direction?

Someone talked about "shade sails" over greenhouses and patios. Those would take some STRONG guy ropes if you have high winds!
North Las Vegas, NV
(Zone 9a)

September 14, 2014
4:48 PM

Post #9940294


Thanks so much for replying, I didn't think anyone

You're very knowledgeable and very helpful--Thank You.

The Master Gardeners from the Univ. of Reno, NV said that Blossom
End Rot and Cracking are epidemic problems here in the desert.
They also said that this was a particularly bad summer, for some reason...??? Wasn't as hot as some years.
One of the Master Gardeners said she gave up this year!!! At least
I've got Bell Peppers, she didn't get any.

Well, now I've got an invasion of Leaf Footed Plant Bugs!!! Scary looking things and SO MANY of them!! 7-8 of them all breeding on ONE tomato!!! Eating it, too---leaving behind bacteria.
Finally got rid of the Tomato Hornworms & Cabbage Loopers---
(got a rash on my hand from the BT, too) NOW THIS!!!

I GIVE UP!!! "IF" I ever try growing vegetables here in Las Vegas again, I'll ONLY do so with automatic watering. Is there such a thing as Automatic Re-tracking Shade cloth?? If so, it would be WAY out of my price range!!

Thanks for all your advice Rick.
Have a good harvest, Diane

PS...The last 2 were taken with my new USB Digital Microscope.
I had to kill one to get it to In the last pic, it's upside down so you can see it's long piercing mouthpiece. ICK!!!

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Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

September 15, 2014
5:50 PM

Post #9941081

Those do look like nasty bugs!

I recently read someone that I think well of getting good insect protection from spraying with "used coffee". he collected used grounds from Starbuck, then made "solar coffee" by steeping the used ground in a 55 gallon drum. Then he sprayed the result on plants in his greenhouse and controlled aphids and may other things.

I don't know about your bugs! I would call out the National Guard and hope they brought tanks.

Here is a post where I found a few "shade lean-to" photos online. There are also some links to sites favoring expensive "lath houses".

But no automated sun-following shade gizmos. You could bend an arch from cattle panels or hog panels or welded fencing, then clamp shade cloth onto that for hot days.

Automatic watering: can't be beat. Even if you just run 1/2" irrigation mainline around your house and attach plastic hose spigot hardware every 50 or 100 feet, it's well worth it for the convenience of watering. Add a timer and a few sprayers or sprinklers, and save yourself 90% of the time spent watering.

Honest: 2-valve spigots for under $5 each, and cheap mainline tubing:
1/2" tubing 100 feet for $16 or 50 feet for $10.

3/4" tubing - may be cheaper locally - 100 feet / $32

And if you use dripline or drip tape, you reduce water waste to near-zero. The water gets to YOUR plants' root zones so fast that not even weed seeds get enough water to sprout.

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