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Green manure/mulch

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  • Ludwig
    Hello fellow Pfafers, I have half an acre that I want to sow with green manure so it is ready for 2012. Which green manure can you recommend that alsoproduces
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 27, 2011
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      Hello fellow Pfafers,

      I have half an acre that I want to sow with green manure so it is ready
      for 2012.
      Which green manure can you recommend that alsoproduces lots of mulching
      material at the end of this growing season to cover my existing beds?

      The land is in Forres, Scotland.
      What is your opinion?

      Thank you!
      Ludwig
    • fran k
      Hi,  Well Im definitely considering a very large patch of comfrey.   Being perrenial, and its easy to cut, with a scythe.  Its up to about chest height
      Message 2 of 15 , Jan 27, 2011
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        Hi,  Well Im definitely considering a very large patch of comfrey.   Being perrenial, and its easy to cut, with a scythe.  Its up to about chest height within about 4 to 6 weeks of sprouting, every year, and it buzzes with bees and all the other insects, and even leaving it for them like that for a while, I get about 3 crops every year.  Done deal!  How it conditions and aerates the soil it grows in is another thing too!.  It takes a while to establish a patch though.

        Best wishes,  Frank.


        --- On Thu, 27/1/11, Ludwig <the_pooh_way@...> wrote:

        From: Ludwig <the_pooh_way@...>
        Subject: [pfaf] Green manure/mulch
        To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Thursday, 27 January, 2011, 13:19

         

        Hello fellow Pfafers,

        I have half an acre that I want to sow with green manure so it is ready
        for 2012.
        Which green manure can you recommend that alsoproduces lots of mulching
        material at the end of this growing season to cover my existing beds?

        The land is in Forres, Scotland.
        What is your opinion?

        Thank you!
        Ludwig


      • Ludwig
        Hi Frank, Thank you for your reply. Indeed a comfrey patch is a must. I am planting them underneath fruit trees and hedges. I m more looking for plants to sow,
        Message 3 of 15 , Jan 28, 2011
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          Hi Frank,
          Thank you for your reply.

          Indeed a comfrey patch is a must. I am planting them underneath fruit trees and hedges. I'm more looking for plants to sow, that I can harvest and them mulch over to make new beds next year. The comfrey will be a permanent presence.

          There are so many green manures out there, which one will give the most biomass and nutrients?
          Ludwig

          On 27/01/2011 16:53, fran k wrote:
           


          Hi,  Well Im definitely considering a very large patch of comfrey.   Being perrenial, and its easy to cut, with a scythe.  Its up to about chest height within about 4 to 6 weeks of sprouting, every year, and it buzzes with bees and all the other insects, and even leaving it for them like that for a while, I get about 3 crops every year.  Done deal!  How it conditions and aerates the soil it grows in is another thing too!.  It takes a while to establish a patch though.

          Best wishes,  Frank.


          --- On Thu, 27/1/11, Ludwig <the_pooh_way@...> wrote:

          From: Ludwig <the_pooh_way@...>
          Subject: [pfaf] Green manure/mulch
          To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Thursday, 27 January, 2011, 13:19

           

          Hello fellow Pfafers,

          I have half an acre that I want to sow with green manure so it is ready
          for 2012.
          Which green manure can you recommend that alsoproduces lots of mulching
          material at the end of this growing season to cover my existing beds?

          The land is in Forres, Scotland.
          What is your opinion?

          Thank you!
          Ludwig



        • sapha
          Hi people, Comfrey seems like a great option for all the reasons Frank mentions. Furthermore, comfrey tea is great nutrition for plants, specially in
          Message 4 of 15 , Jan 28, 2011
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            Hi people,
            Comfrey seems like a great option for all the reasons Frank mentions.
            Furthermore, comfrey tea is great nutrition for plants, specially in combination with nettles.
            And as a herbal remedie, comfrey is good for wounds and skelet injuries (http://www.ehow.com/how_5089591_make-comfrey-tea.html)

            Also, i´ve read about build a comfrey-hedge around the plot, to create microclimates and as a first line of defence against snails.
            One thing to consider is that comfrey seems to attract the snails, not deter them, so planting them on the outer spots seems to be the clue.

            More info on comfrey and snails in the garden here
            http://gardeninginspain.com/53/comfrey-%E2%80%93-the-gardeners-pet-herb/

            Comfrey is a great herb and well worth to have available in every garden!

            greetings
            Sapha

            --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, fran k <frank_bowman@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > Hi,  Well Im definitely considering a very large patch of comfrey.   Being perrenial, and its easy to cut, with a scythe.  Its up to about chest height within about 4 to 6 weeks of sprouting, every year, and it buzzes with bees and all the other insects, and even leaving it for them like that for a while, I get about 3 crops every year.  Done deal!  How it conditions and aerates the soil it grows in is another thing too!.  It takes a while to establish a patch though.
            >
            > Best wishes,  Frank.
            >
            >
            > --- On Thu, 27/1/11, Ludwig <the_pooh_way@...> wrote:
            >
            > From: Ludwig <the_pooh_way@...>
            > Subject: [pfaf] Green manure/mulch
            > To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
            > Date: Thursday, 27 January, 2011, 13:19
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >  
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Hello fellow Pfafers,
            >
            >
            >
            > I have half an acre that I want to sow with green manure so it is ready
            >
            > for 2012.
            >
            > Which green manure can you recommend that alsoproduces lots of mulching
            >
            > material at the end of this growing season to cover my existing beds?
            >
            >
            >
            > The land is in Forres, Scotland.
            >
            > What is your opinion?
            >
            >
            >
            > Thank you!
            >
            > Ludwig
            >
          • Matthew Lynch
            What about yarrow and borage? - both apparently excellent soil conditioners. Oats and alfalfa are superd green manure crops, though alfalfa is deep-rooted,
            Message 5 of 15 , Jan 28, 2011
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              What about yarrow and borage? - both apparently excellent soil conditioners.

              Oats and alfalfa are superd green manure crops, though alfalfa is deep-rooted, long-lived, and probably better suited to an alley crop / pasture cropping system...


              Matthew Lynch
              theGreenBackpack

            • Bekki Shining Bearheart LMT
              Hi All, I love comfrey and grow it in several places in my yard and gardens--- I find it very useful for improving soil (one area with a lot of clay for
              Message 6 of 15 , Jan 28, 2011
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                Hi All,

                I love comfrey and grow it in several places in my yard and gardens--- I
                find it very useful for improving soil (one area with a lot of clay for
                instance) and holding banks (we have a stream that runs through our
                property).

                That said, no one has addressed its tendency to be invasive and spread
                aggressively. I am careful to put it where it won't be a nuisance...

                I haven't tried cover crops, our vegetable garden is small and all
                raised beds so I assumed that cover croppng wouldn't be practical; so we
                mulch heavily with fallen leaves in autumn and amend with horse manure
                from neighbors. We use the same protocol for our extensive herb beds.
                (we don't really have much lawn). When we kept goats that was the best--
                we composted the old bedding and manure and dug it in.

                We live in rural sutheast Ohio...

                Bekki
              • fran k
                Hi Becky. Yes it is invasive. I quite like that because I can dig it up and put it by the fruit trees (which is another project to do this year), where
                Message 7 of 15 , Jan 28, 2011
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                  Hi Becky. Yes it is invasive. I quite like that because I can dig it up and put it by the fruit trees (which is another project to do this year), where apparently the pottasium in the dead leaves or cut leaves feeds the tree for development of the flowers and the fruit. It will be interesting to see if it improves the fruit.

                  Weve got two types one is the spreading type, and other is called bocking 14 and it doesnt spread, and if you want to propagate that you dig it up and split the root like rhubarb. I didnt buy any of it, I pinched a few, and have split them since. I like the idea of them being a herb too. I had heard that but forgotten. It could have been very useful recently for a bad cut through the bone on my finger which is still recovering. :) frank

                  On Fri, 28 Jan 2011 16:20 GMT Bekki Shining Bearheart LMT wrote:

                  >Hi All,
                  >
                  >I love comfrey and grow it in several places in my yard and gardens--- I
                  >find it very useful for improving soil (one area with a lot of clay for
                  >instance) and holding banks (we have a stream that runs through our
                  >property).
                  >
                  >That said, no one has addressed its tendency to be invasive and spread
                  >aggressively. I am careful to put it where it won't be a nuisance...
                  >
                  >I haven't tried cover crops, our vegetable garden is small and all
                  >raised beds so I assumed that cover croppng wouldn't be practical; so we
                  >mulch heavily with fallen leaves in autumn and amend with horse manure
                  >from neighbors. We use the same protocol for our extensive herb beds.
                  >(we don't really have much lawn). When we kept goats that was the best--
                  >we composted the old bedding and manure and dug it in.
                  >
                  >We live in rural sutheast Ohio...
                  >
                  >Bekki
                • Bekki Shining Bearheart LMT
                  I am an herbalist-- I have some great recipes for comfrey salves for several purposes! happy to post here, or send me your email... Frank, where do you live?
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jan 28, 2011
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                    I am an herbalist-- I have some great recipes for comfrey salves for
                    several purposes! happy to post here, or send me your email... Frank,
                    where do you live? there are a few other herbal ingredients in those
                    salves, don't know if they grow where you are. Cheers, Bekki

                    fran k wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Becky. Yes it is invasive. I quite like that because I can dig it
                    > up and put it by the fruit trees (which is another project to do this
                    > year), where apparently the pottasium in the dead leaves or cut leaves
                    > feeds the tree for development of the flowers and the fruit. It will
                    > be interesting to see if it improves the fruit.
                    >
                    > Weve got two types one is the spreading type, and other is called
                    > bocking 14 and it doesnt spread, and if you want to propagate that you
                    > dig it up and split the root like rhubarb. I didnt buy any of it, I
                    > pinched a few, and have split them since. I like the idea of them
                    > being a herb too. I had heard that but forgotten. It could have been
                    > very useful recently for a bad cut through the bone on my finger which
                    > is still recovering. :) frank
                    >
                    > On Fri, 28 Jan 2011 16:20 GMT Bekki Shining Bearheart LMT wrote:
                    >
                    > >Hi All,
                    > >
                    > >I love comfrey and grow it in several places in my yard and gardens--- I
                    > >find it very useful for improving soil (one area with a lot of clay for
                    > >instance) and holding banks (we have a stream that runs through our
                    > >property).
                    > >
                    > >That said, no one has addressed its tendency to be invasive and spread
                    > >aggressively. I am careful to put it where it won't be a nuisance...
                    > >
                    > >I haven't tried cover crops, our vegetable garden is small and all
                    > >raised beds so I assumed that cover croppng wouldn't be practical; so we
                    > >mulch heavily with fallen leaves in autumn and amend with horse manure
                    > >from neighbors. We use the same protocol for our extensive herb beds.
                    > >(we don't really have much lawn). When we kept goats that was the best--
                    > >we composted the old bedding and manure and dug it in.
                    > >
                    > >We live in rural sutheast Ohio...
                    > >
                    > >Bekki
                    >
                    >
                  • Ludwig
                    /Thank you everyone for your splendid suggestions. /Comfrey is indeed my favorite mulching and companion plant. It grows so well with trees. I use /Symphytum x
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jan 28, 2011
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                      Thank you everyone for your splendid suggestions.

                      Comfrey is indeed my favorite mulching and companion plant. It grows so well with trees. I use Symphytum x uplandicum, Russian Comfrey, bocking 14. Like Frank pointed out, it is an infertile hybrid. It is easily divided and propagated. But it won't turn up where you don't want it.

                      I am looking for something else than comfrey, cause were I want to sow these green manures this year, I want to grow vegetables next year.
                       

                      Seems white clover, yarrow, borage, oats and alfalfa are recommended by Matthew Lynch. I might add Bird's foot trefoil (lotus corniculatus) or white mustard (sinapsis alba) or meadow fescue  (festuca pratensis) to the mix. I like diversity :-)

                      Steve, you said:
                      For pasture or other broadacre design, a winter wheat/vetch/rye mixture may be appropriate.

                      Is that a recommended mixture to sow next autumn, or can I still sow that this spring? What would you recommend to sow this spring?

                      I'd love a recipe for comfrey salves Bekki!

                      Thank you everyone!

                      Ludwig


                    • david.keltie@gmail.com
                      I d also suggest aliske clover and field beans - both nitrogen fixing and provide a lot of biomas. Both should do well up north! Cheers, David ... it.
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jan 28, 2011
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                        I'd also suggest aliske clover and field beans - both nitrogen fixing and provide a lot of biomas. Both should do well up north!
                        Cheers, David

                        On 28 Jan 2011 20:20, "Ludwig" <the_pooh_way@...> wrote:
                        > /Thank you everyone for your splendid suggestions.
                        >
                        > /Comfrey is indeed my favorite mulching and companion plant. It grows so
                        > well with trees. I use /Symphytum x uplandicum/, Russian Comfrey,
                        > bocking 14. Like Frank pointed out, it is an infertile hybrid. It is
                        > easily divided and propagated. But it won't turn up where you don't want it.
                        >
                        > I am looking for something else than comfrey, cause were I want to sow
                        > these green manures this year, I want to grow vegetables next year.
                        >
                        >
                        > Seems white clover, yarrow, borage, oats and alfalfa are recommended by
                        > Matthew Lynch. I might add Bird's foot trefoil (lotus corniculatus) or
                        > white mustard (sinapsis alba) or meadow fescue (festuca pratensis) to
                        > the mix. I like diversity :-)
                        >
                        > Steve, you said:
                        > For pasture or other broadacre design, a winter wheat/vetch/rye mixture
                        > may be appropriate.
                        >
                        > Is that a recommended mixture to sow next autumn, or can I still sow
                        > that this spring? What would you recommend to sow this spring?
                        >
                        > I'd love a recipe for comfrey salves Bekki!
                        >
                        > Thank you everyone!
                        >
                        > Ludwig
                        >
                        >
                      • robinjw13
                        Hi Ludwig, White clover is low to establish and will not grow enough in one season for your needs. Vetch is good but has to be sown in autumn. I suggest
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jan 28, 2011
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                          Hi Ludwig,

                          White clover is low to establish and will not grow enough in one season for your needs. Vetch is good but has to be sown in autumn. I suggest crimson clover and/or phacelia. Both will grow rapidly during the summer and phacelia in particular even after flowering will give a lot of biomass that will lie on the soil (suppressing weeds) right through autumn and in to winter. Sow from April to the end of May.

                          Robin

                          --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, Ludwig <the_pooh_way@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > /Thank you everyone for your splendid suggestions.
                          >
                          > /Comfrey is indeed my favorite mulching and companion plant. It grows so
                          > well with trees. I use /Symphytum x uplandicum/, Russian Comfrey,
                          > bocking 14. Like Frank pointed out, it is an infertile hybrid. It is
                          > easily divided and propagated. But it won't turn up where you don't want it.
                          >
                          > I am looking for something else than comfrey, cause were I want to sow
                          > these green manures this year, I want to grow vegetables next year.
                          >
                          >
                          > Seems white clover, yarrow, borage, oats and alfalfa are recommended by
                          > Matthew Lynch. I might add Bird's foot trefoil (lotus corniculatus) or
                          > white mustard (sinapsis alba) or meadow fescue (festuca pratensis) to
                          > the mix. I like diversity :-)
                          >
                          > Steve, you said:
                          > For pasture or other broadacre design, a winter wheat/vetch/rye mixture
                          > may be appropriate.
                          >
                          > Is that a recommended mixture to sow next autumn, or can I still sow
                          > that this spring? What would you recommend to sow this spring?
                          >
                          > I'd love a recipe for comfrey salves Bekki!
                          >
                          > Thank you everyone!
                          >
                          > Ludwig
                          >
                        • david.keltie@gmail.com
                          I d be surprised if phaelecia would do well in north Scotland.... ... for your needs. Vetch is good but has to be sown in autumn. I suggest crimson clover
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jan 29, 2011
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                            I'd be surprised if phaelecia would do well in north Scotland....

                            On 29 Jan 2011 10:23, "robinjw13" <robinkjw@...> wrote:
                            > Hi Ludwig,
                            >
                            > White clover is low to establish and will not grow enough in one season for your needs. Vetch is good but has to be sown in autumn. I suggest crimson clover and/or phacelia. Both will grow rapidly during the summer and phacelia in particular even after flowering will give a lot of biomass that will lie on the soil (suppressing weeds) right through autumn and in to winter. Sow from April to the end of May.
                            >
                            > Robin
                            >
                            > --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, Ludwig <the_pooh_way@...> wrote:
                            >>
                            >> /Thank you everyone for your splendid suggestions.
                            >>
                            >> /Comfrey is indeed my favorite mulching and companion plant. It grows so
                            >> well with trees. I use /Symphytum x uplandicum/, Russian Comfrey,
                            >> bocking 14. Like Frank pointed out, it is an infertile hybrid. It is
                            >> easily divided and propagated. But it won't turn up where you don't want it.
                            >>
                            >> I am looking for something else than comfrey, cause were I want to sow
                            >> these green manures this year, I want to grow vegetables next year.
                            >>
                            >>
                            >> Seems white clover, yarrow, borage, oats and alfalfa are recommended by
                            >> Matthew Lynch. I might add Bird's foot trefoil (lotus corniculatus) or
                            >> white mustard (sinapsis alba) or meadow fescue (festuca pratensis) to
                            >> the mix. I like diversity :-)
                            >>
                            >> Steve, you said:
                            >> For pasture or other broadacre design, a winter wheat/vetch/rye mixture
                            >> may be appropriate.
                            >>
                            >> Is that a recommended mixture to sow next autumn, or can I still sow
                            >> that this spring? What would you recommend to sow this spring?
                            >>
                            >> I'd love a recipe for comfrey salves Bekki!
                            >>
                            >> Thank you everyone!
                            >>
                            >> Ludwig
                            >>
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ------------------------------------
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                          • vapid ness
                            I d also be careful with the red clover as some varieties can be perennial and difficult to get rid of after- these may be issues with crimson clover so I d
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jan 29, 2011
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                              I'd also be careful with the red clover as some varieties can be perennial and difficult to get rid of after- these may be issues with crimson clover so I'd check.  There's an ok article in Farmer's Weekly interactiveon issues relating to more industrial use, based on info from Garden Organic. 
                              The RHS have a page on green manures which is quite handy.  I've had ok results with tares, Phacelia, and buckwheat 25 miles south of Aberdeen, but we tend to leave it til later in the year to plant.  Phacelia was a bit thin but did  kind of valiantly struggle on.
                              It'd be interesting to hear how you do if you try field lupins up your way- I think they're more suitable for industrial purposes though as they do get woody.  But they're so pretty!

                              Good luck,

                              Carol.


                              On Sat, Jan 29, 2011 at 11:28 AM, <david.keltie@...> wrote:
                               

                              I'd be surprised if phaelecia would do well in north Scotland....

                              On 29 Jan 2011 10:23, "robinjw13" <robinkjw@...> wrote:
                              > Hi Ludwig,
                              >
                              > White clover is low to establish and will not grow enough in one season for your needs. Vetch is good but has to be sown in autumn. I suggest crimson clover and/or phacelia. Both will grow rapidly during the summer and phacelia in particular even after flowering will give a lot of biomass that will lie on the soil (suppressing weeds) right through autumn and in to winter. Sow from April to the end of May.
                              >
                              > Robin
                              >
                              > --- In pfaf@yahoogroups.com, Ludwig <the_pooh_way@...> wrote:
                              >>
                              >> /Thank you everyone for your splendid suggestions.
                              >>
                              >> /Comfrey is indeed my favorite mulching and companion plant. It grows so
                              >> well with trees. I use /Symphytum x uplandicum/, Russian Comfrey,
                              >> bocking 14. Like Frank pointed out, it is an infertile hybrid. It is
                              >> easily divided and propagated. But it won't turn up where you don't want it.
                              >>
                              >> I am looking for something else than comfrey, cause were I want to sow
                              >> these green manures this year, I want to grow vegetables next year.
                              >>
                              >>
                              >> Seems white clover, yarrow, borage, oats and alfalfa are recommended by
                              >> Matthew Lynch. I might add Bird's foot trefoil (lotus corniculatus) or
                              >> white mustard (sinapsis alba) or meadow fescue (festuca pratensis) to
                              >> the mix. I like diversity :-)
                              >>
                              >> Steve, you said:
                              >> For pasture or other broadacre design, a winter wheat/vetch/rye mixture
                              >> may be appropriate.
                              >>
                              >> Is that a recommended mixture to sow next autumn, or can I still sow
                              >> that this spring? What would you recommend to sow this spring?
                              >>
                              >> I'd love a recipe for comfrey salves Bekki!
                              >>
                              >> Thank you everyone!
                              >>
                              >> Ludwig
                              >>
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > ------------------------------------
                              >
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                            • travelerinthyme
                              Here in Texas, where it s too hot for clover or comfrey, we grow buckwheat for summer ground cover. It s an annual, but reseeds freely, and adds lots of
                              Message 14 of 15 , Jan 30, 2011
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                                Here in Texas, where it's too hot for clover or comfrey, we grow buckwheat for summer ground cover. It's an annual, but reseeds freely, and adds lots of phosphorous to our black gumbo/limestone alkaline soils.

                                In the winter, there is a low groundcover that I think is dead nettle, very soft and cushy to walk on, I call it "mulch weed", that dies out in late spring leaving nice, brown, springy mulch on the ground, and it looks so pretty growing all over the garden and back yard, spilling over the rock walls and covering the pathways.

                                ~Traveler in Thyme, zone 8-9
                              • Jonathan Teller-Elsberg
                                If you want something for a single year only, I recommend buckwheat. It is famed for growing fast and producing great volumes of biomass. Its fast growth also
                                Message 15 of 15 , Jan 30, 2011
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                                  If you want something for a single year only, I recommend buckwheat. It is famed for growing fast and producing great volumes of biomass. Its fast growth also helps to suppress weeds. It grows fast enough that, often, you can grow more than one successive crops in a single season, which would give you double or triple the biomass to till into the soil. It doesn't fix nitrogen, so you might want to add an N-fixer to the mix; but neither (to my knowledge) is it a heavy feeder, so even without an N-fixer alongside it, it shouldn't deplete the soil's fertility, certainly not from a single season's use. And if you like, you could potentially harvest a crop of the buckwheat groats in the process.

                                  Cheers!
                                  Jonathan

                                  --
                                  "We have changed the world, and we wonder why things won't stay the same." -Les Lanyon
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