Reno Plant Swap

gardenluv(8)February 13, 2010

Would anyone in the Reno area be interested in having/participating in a plant swap this spring? I always have quite a few leftovers that I grow and would love to exchange with other people and also have a chance to meet and chat with other gardeners in the area.

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dustin_nevadanorth(z5 NV)

Maybe what do you have in mind?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 3:12PM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

gardenluv, as you know I don't have anything to trade just yet, but if any of my seedlings make it, I'd be happy to check with you and see if any spark your interest.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 12:17AM
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I was just thinking that we could meet sometime somewhere and trade any extras of the things we have grown. I know I will probably have some extra tomato, peppers and lots and lots of flower seedlings to share. I already have foxglove, salvia, alyssum, dianthus, carnations, and english daisy that have sprouted. There will be lots more too.

I don't know of many people who garden here so it would be fun to meet other gardeners. We could meet somewhere public, or someone's house. I am open to any and all suggestions.

As for to suggestions on that too. I figure I will be doing most of my planting in April/May so maybe around then?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 11:10AM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

gardenluv, I am very open to meeting and discussing gardening/seed swapping. I'm open to the when and where as well.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 6:38PM
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Okay. As it gets closer we can think about the when/where.

Would anyone else in the Reno area be interested? It would be a fun/cheap way to get some new plants/seeds and meet new people.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 8:51PM
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I don't have anything to offer, by way of plants, but would absolutely LOVE to get together with some local gardeners!

I have been working 12 hours a day, for the past four summers, in my yard - with very little luck. I have every gardeners nightmare problem - to the very extreme. I come in at night, completely frustrated. My family all asks why in the world I would continue trying. I always respond that I love it so much I can't help myself and I keep thinking eventually something will work out. I refuse to let this yard beat me! LOL

I have spent thousands of dollars on hundreds of plants, with maybe 10 survivors - barely. This year, I am working with zero budget, so it would be great if I could get some cheap seedlings to start with this year. One year I did try starting seedlings inside, but my house gets very little sunlight. I spent hours daily moving them around to catch the sun. The all died once outside because my yard gets less than an hour a day of sunlight.

So anyway, I would love to be included when you guys schedule a plant swap. I don't have any schedule, so any time is good for me. Best case scenario for location would be in Sparks, but would go wherever necessary. It would be great to have others who felt the same way about gardening to talk to.

I'm so glad I found this forum tonight. Hope to meet you all soon.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 1:03AM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

Welcome Kris!
If any of my seedlings survive, I'll be happy to share. :)
Do you live in an area with a lot of tall trees blocking your sunlight? What type of shade plants have you tried? First thing I would do is research plants that survive/prefer full shade (if you haven't already).
Maybe when a group of us meet up, we should bring pictures of our yards so that we can get advice from each other about our "problem areas"?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 2:15AM
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Great! Kris, what kind of plants are you looking for? I have sooooo many seeds that if I have something that would work for you, I will go ahead and get some started. Sun plants/shade plants, flowers, veggies??? Just let me know. I grow all of my stuff outside in mini greenhouses I make from milk jugs and other recycleables. Works great for me and I only have to pay for the dirt! Let me know what you are thinking of for your garden!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 11:31AM
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valree3(Nv zone 4)

Hello in Reno! Have you guys checked with the extension office or nurseries to see if there is a garden club in your area? I'm up here in the Elko area and we have a very active club with around 40 - 60 members. We have a plant sale in May and we have a yard tour (of 4-6 yards) open to anyone interested in gardening in July. We swap seeds, go on field trips and have speakers for our meetings. Its a great group of people! I would think there's some garden group you could all meet up with? Kris- have you had your soil tested for PH levels and for other problems ( salts,etc.)? There are so many plants that do well in shade and also in zones 5-7. I use to live in Gardnerville and wanted to move to a warmer zone when I moved. So what do I do? I moved up to the Elko area and go a zone colder!!! I love where I live but I have zone 5-7 envy! Happy Gardening Valree

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 8:38PM
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My tomatoes and pepper plants are popping up like crazy so I should have some extras for when we meet up. Also extra coleus, foxglove, agastache, snapdragons, and dianthus. There will be more to come as well in the next month! Any suggestions on where we could meet? Or when?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 2:01AM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

I'm thinking a Saturday morning would work well. That way, after the swap, we have time to spend the day planting our loot! :)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 10:50AM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

Anyone having any ideas as far as dates or location? I may have some lemon cucumbers and eggplant starts. Maybe even some short-growing-season watermelon.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 11:29PM
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I'm kinda thinking maybe the first part of May? I could make it on Sunday the 2nd, Saturday the 15th, or Sunday the 16th. By that time I will have more stuff I can bring. Would any of those dates work for anyone else?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 11:22PM
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Wow, thanks everyone for the generous offers of plants and advice. I have been sick and weather has been crappy, so I haven't checked back. This will be long, but here's my gardening nightmare details.

My back yard is 25' deep and 60' wide. There are 7 trees probably 150' high. I removed 4 large tree stumps and 10 large juniper and other thorny bushes. When I moved in, you couldn't walk 5' into the yard, it was that dense. My granddaughter called it my jungle.

There isn't any area that gets even an hour of direct sun daily. I have trimmed the lower branches of the trees up as far as I can reach. I have attached white lattice to the wood fence to reflect light. I have white gravel as groundcover to reflect light (and nothing I've planted has taken off).

The tree roots are so dense throughout every inch of the yard, that it takes me two days to dig a hole to plant a six pack of flowers. I have added truck loads of compost and potting soil. I have tried every kind of fertilizer to no avail. I would like to have the soil tested, but so far nothing has survived long enough for nutrients to be the problem.

There is a concrete pond, probably 7' x 4'. The pond is my favorite part, except that it's one about 2' deep and the tree roots break the concrete every winter, so I re-concrete every spring. Total pain, but I love to sit out there in the evenings and hear the fountain, so I continue to try different approaches.

With so many tall trees, at any given time, there are 100 or so birds in my yard, from small ones to pigeons, doves, blue jays, etc. My first chore every day is hose the bird droppings off of EVERYTHING! I know most people try to attract birds so that the will eat the bugs, but I seem to have massive amounts of bugs remaining. I get eaten alive daily. Worst of all, everything I planted in the ground is gone by the next morning - MASSIVE SLUGS!

So, I have a ton of containers that I plant every year, but they don't survive the winter. I have spent a small fortune in plants and soil with nothing to show for it. I have tried bringing them inside, but the house doesn't get any sunlight either. I keep moving containers all day long trying to follow the sun.

Last fall, I was finally beaten by the plant failures, so I started doing alot of decor (frogs near the pond and angels down one side - and a truck garden around the base of the apple tree for my husband). I have about 1,000 twinkle lights, which I really enjoy the atmosphere, but I am working with only one outdoor outlet, so kinda risky. When the wind blows, as it does extensively here, tree branches come crashing down and break my decor.

I have spent hundreds of hours researching all of the above issues. My "Garden" folder on my computer has 7,000 files in 137 folders. I have two bookshelves of reference books and receive 70 gardening newsletters a month. I am at my wits end, and yet when I am puttering around in my yard, I'm the happiest I ever been. When my husband leaves for work in the morning, I go out into the yard, and am still there 12 hours later when he gets home. As I complain about all the problems, he thinks I'm nuts for continuing the battle. I must be crazy, but I'm willing to do the work, just so I can sit out there at night.

Well, I think that's about the majority of my gardening nightmare. I appreciate everyone here for their support. I would even be willing to have the plant swap at my house, so I could get everyone's thoughts. I am in Sparks, near Baring and McCarran and my schedule is wide open.

Thanks again everyone!


    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 2:10PM
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Sounds like you need some shade plants!! I will have some coleus seedlings that I would love sharing with you. They are so cute right now!! Where I plant my dianthus it only gets a few hours of early morning sun and it does okay, so I can share some of that as well if you would like!

I wouldn't mind having the swap at your house, as long as everyone else is okay with it! I would love to see your pond and your decorations!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 10:20PM
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Just stumbled on this forum and very excited to meet and share ideas with local gardeners too! This sounds like a great idea to share plants. I have a mix of a bit of everything in the way of perennials. Also have a number of shade plants Kris, like hostas, lanium, and some primrose too. I have a large amount of large spider lily plants I need to thin out this year too.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 5:35PM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

Kris, I agree with gardenluv that you definitely need shade plants. Also, have you considered raised beds? That should help with the two-day planting nightmare.

For your pond, have you considered pond or bog plants (if you don't have any already)? That might help with a little greenery and won't require digging ;)

I am up for the swap at your house as well. I love seeing what other people have as far as yards and their unique solutions to things. A few years ago, I went up in a balloon for the Balloon Races. At one point we were flying low over a neighborhood and I spied into everyones backyards :)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 10:18PM
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Thanks so much for the plant offerings.

Gardenluv - would love coleus and dianthus seedlings. Are they perennial for you - or did you start from seed?

Crazy4cows - love hostas, lamium, and primrose, never tried spider lily - again are these perennial or new seedlings?

Themayocynic - would love your input, have seen your many posts among the forums, for quite a while now.

I have tried tons of shade plants, but they either wither and die, slugs and earwigs eat them or they don't survive winter. Shade is supposed to be 2 hours of dappled light. I don't even get 15 minutes of sun on the darkest side.

It has gotten somewhat better since I limbed up the trees, added white backgrounds and mirrors. I have about 50 planters that I use so that I can move plants to follow the sun. Spent most of last year scouting craigslist and yard sales looking for cheap plant stands that could support heavy containers. Otherwise bugs just get into containers.

The darkest side of the yard has 2 Nandina, supposed to be invasive, growing barely couple inches, in 4 years. I have 2 Euonymous shrubs growing around the outer (sunnier) edge. Daylily bulbs and some ornamental grass have been here before me.

I have repeatedly planted Coral Bells and Ajuga, which I love, but they don't make it. Seems like there might be some life this year. I planted Hostas several times, but slugs ate them. Last year, planted 2 large containers with Hostas, which have green shoots popping up. Have container with Dwarf Sweet Flag showing signs of life. Have a container with Storksbill, definitely sprouting.

On the sunnier side of the yard, we cut the crab apple tree, that was touching the ground, up to the trunk (didn't care if I killed it), so the North side gets maybe an hour of sun.

I have managed to successfully grow Snapdragons, Dianthus, Euonymous, Boxwood and looks like the Guara I planted last year is coming back. Every year the slugs try to get the all of the plants in this bed. Tried all of the usual slug remedies with no luck. I found the only thing that works is sawdust (the kind used for hamster bedding).

The pond was here when I moved in, concrete with years of plant garbage sitting inside. It is only 1 1/2 to 2 feet deep and higher in the back than in front. So it overflows the front with water level in back a foot below top. We have redone the concrete every year, but the tree roots keep breaking through. Last year, I thought I found the ultimate "hydraulic cement". But it is chipping up from the bottom too. I understand that I can't put plants or fish in concrete pond - is that true?

Last year I made a canopy from a sturdy wedding tent frame covered with a large piece of heavy duty shade cloth. Helped to keep some of the crap out of the pond. The first big snow storm, though, completely collapsed the whole thing. Had to try and get lights off of it while standing in 4' snow. Frame completely bent, so not sure what to attach the shade cloth to this year.

The corner beside the pond has always been a dark, creepy corner, no matter how much I tried to light it up. So last year, I decided to make a joke of it, and made it like a seedy, bar corner. With the disco light going in the pond, it was quite funny.

I soooo love the sound of running water, that I continue to kill myself over the stupid pond. I have blue underwater lights, a disco ball underwater light, clear rope light outlining the pond and twinkle lights hanging from canopy above. Sitting in the swing, under the gazebo, on the patio, looking up to the pond is the best reward for all my hard work.

I have decorated the dark side of the yard with tons of frog decor. The sunny side is done with angels. Last year my husband was bummed that he didn't have a spot, so I made him a "truck" garden with tonka trucks (he's a truck driver).

All the decor and lights had to be stored to protect from falling trees this winter. So right now, it's pretty boring and empty. I'm getting started on putting it back together.

I can't wait to meet you all and hear your thoughts on my yard. No one else to talk to about gardening --family thinks I'm crazy. I had things kind of dialed in last fall, just in time for harsh winter to ruin it all. Yet I can't wait to get back at it. I will try and get some of my decor put out so it at least looks interesting.

I don't really know much about seedlings from scratch, but I would imagine that they probably need to be planted in the next month, right? I work when I need to, from home, kid grown and gone, and hubby gone most of the week - so I have no schedule to work around. I imagine weekends might be the best time get everyone together. Either day works for me, and afternoons better than early.

So how about next weekend - April 24-25? The Spanish Springs community yard sale is Saturday, so I will be scouting for containers and plant stands in morning, maybe 2 or 3 o'clock? Let me know if that would work for everyone.

Really looking forward to it.


I have a couple crates of old seedling containers, if needed for hauling away plants.

I'm not sure if posting my number or address is allowed (will read the rules again). We are listed under Bobby Burrer. I'm in Sparks, near Baring and McCarran.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:42AM
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I just read back through postings and saw that gardenluv suggested first or third weekend of May. May 15 would be good for me. May 16 is Master Gardener plant sale, hoping to get lots of good stuff cheap. Anyone else ever attended. I hear it's a crazy zoo and all plants are gone in an hour. Anyway, works for me.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 11:30AM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

I think May 15th might work for me, too.

Kris, have you thought of relocating the pond? I know it's a lot of work, but it might last longer in a different location. If those tree roots are always destroying it, then it will be a constant battle to fight. I think of it as either moving the tree or moving the pond. I love the seedy bar idea though! hahahahaa

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 8:06PM
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I made a collage out of the best pics of my yard last fall. Click the link to check it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Garden Photos Fall 2009

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 11:42AM
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Should we just plan on the 15th if that works for everyone??

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 11:23PM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

Sounds good to me. I hope I have plants to swap!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 12:54AM
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May 15 works for me. How is late morning for everyone (I sooo don't do mornings!). Maybe 11:00 am.?

My address is 3125 Shari Way, Sparks, NV 89431, phone 775-351-1642. Email is

Directions: In Sparks, from McCarran - turn onto Baring Blvd. (can only turn one way) - then first immediate left (before the 7-11 and vet hospital) onto North Truckee Lane - then another quick left onto Emerson - then another quick right onto Shari Way - I am the second house on the left - white Jeep and old camper in the driveway.

I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone. I would like to kind of get a head count. I count 5 people participating in this thread, but really only confirmation from themayocynic and gardenluv.

I have never been to a plant swap - is there things I need to do or provide as host? Containers, boxes, tags, bags? Refreshments? Should we try and get more participants - so more to swap? Maybe post on craigslist? Tell friends? I wish I had some seedlings to contribute, but plan on buying up all I can. I hope it works out for everyone.

Well feel free to contact me directly, by any of the means above, to discuss any thoughts.

Thanks again to everyone!


    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 11:28PM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

Late morning sounds good to me as I like to sleep in on a Saturday if I think I can get away with it ;) Besides, everyone will have eaten so no need to provide anything other than maybe some glasses of water.

I've never been to a plant swap either so I don't know proper etiquette. I'm assuming the plants should be in separate containers. Maybe we should color code them somehow like green name tags for veggies and pink tags for flowers? I think that, because we will all be carrying stuff in, we'll all have boxes and containers to haul our loot back to our car. But maybe just a table or two to place our offerings?

It might be a good idea to start off a little small so that we can get a feel for what a plant swap is like or we can just bring a friend if we want.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 2:43AM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

Here's what I'm hoping to bring if my seeds grow well:

4 containers of Nasturtium "Peach Melba" with 2 plants in each
3 containers of Bean "Kentucky Wonder" with 3 plants in each
3 containers of Watermelon "Sugar Baby" with 2 plants in each
3 containers of Cleome "Queend Mix" with at least 3-5 plants in each
3-5 Lemon Cucumbers if the plants look healthy

I might also bring some asian eggplants if they start taking off. Right now, they are small enough that they don't have any true leaves yet. Might also bring okra if the plants are healthy and there is any interest.

I'm starting a lot of these now and have some already started. I just don't know how big the plants everyone else will be bringing are and I don't want to bring plants that are younger than everyone is expecting. On the same hand, I don't want to have plants that are so big, I'll need to repot before the swap. I may end up killing them or making them very weak.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 9:34PM
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Sorry, the last week or so have been super busy for me. The plan sounds good to me. Here's kinda what I have so far off the top of my head, but I know I will have more.

3 Foxglove
3 Carnation
6 Agastache
6ish coleus
? Dianthus
Tomatoes - not sure how many or what kinds yet
Peppers - not sure how many or what kinds yet
Snapdragons? (I think)

I'm looking forward to it.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 10:17AM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

I'm so glad you posted gardenluv! I was beginning to think I imagined this whole thing HAhahaha. I have almost all seedlings outside 24/7 now. Figured it would be like a late wintersown experiment that way the plants would already be hardened off for everyone.

If any fail, I will just have to cut up some of my beloved lamium to share. I plan on doing that anyway for Kris since she's in shade and lamium love shade.

Oh and I have a friend interested in coming with me. :)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 3:41PM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

Just as a warning, some of my seedlings are looking a bit scraggly. I'm doing my best to nurse them back to healthier-looking plants, but I even tossed a few in the compost bin. Others took a lot longer to germinate than I expected (note to self: read germination dates for last minute plants). If it all goes to pot (pardon the pun) I'll just be a casual observer; there to offer any advice on Kris' shade problem, if that's ok.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 12:06AM
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Yeah, I feel your pain. I left town for a few days and lost a few tomato seedlings, some coleus and not sure what else. I will still have stuff to bring. Will probably update my list on Wednesday once it quits flippin snowing outside!!!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 7:34PM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

I am SO excited to meet everyone on Saturday! What I'm not excited about are the plant offerings I will be bringing. The nasturtiums are very small, the cleome even smaller. The watermelon plants are tiny and there aren't as many as I was hoping for. I think I'm going to bring some seeds since I got early variety watermelons and those that want them just as seeds or in addition to the plants (as back ups) will be more than welcome to some.

I think the lemon cucumbers and okra are a little small but should be fine. The zucchini started sprouting buds so I pinched those off to let the plant concentrate on the roots. However, they are looking MUCH healthier since I did that so I'm feeling better about them. I have some tiny eggplant seedlings I will bring just in case. I'm also thinking of seeing if I can separate some of my romanesco broccoli. They are tiny still, but I think they look healthy. Oh yeah, and the Kentucky Wonder beans are probably my best offerings.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 12:53AM
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themayocynic(NV Z5)

Thank you for hosting us Kris! Shannon and I enjoyed our time there. Hope the plants you got work out well for you! Thank you also for the gift basket!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 9:11PM
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Okay, I feel really really lame!!!!!!

I TOTALLY thought that tomorrow was the 15th. Today I spent over an hour deciding what to bring, and repotting stuff. So I completely apologize to everyone. I would love to share what I have if anyone wants any, I can deliver!! Here is what my list is:

2 Coleus (I lost quite a few the weekend I was gone)
6 tomato plants
4 pepper plants
6 agastache honey bee blue
2 foxglove
2 carnation
2 giganteum poppy

Once again I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sorry everyone!!! I don't know what I was thinking!

If you want any of what I have, email me at and we can set up a time where I can either drop it off to you, or meet you somewhere with it.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 1:15AM
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Just for your info, you can put your fish in your concrete pond, BUT, your fish, and I'm assuming Koi, when they mate will rub up against the side of the pond when mating. Thus injuring themselves. Don't know if goldfish will do the same or not. If you put a rubber liner on the pond, you can have Koi. Just for your info....

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 12:08AM
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I am taking a bus up to Big Springs Gardens near Sierra City, Ca and was wondering if anyone would like to join us?
Patty Drake
775 453 1794

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 10:01PM
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