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Small garden produces a big harvest
Uncle and niece get a huge yield from their little patch
Tess Miller shows off some of the tomatoes she grew in the garden with her uncle, Gary Miller. - photo by For The Times

Tess and Gary Miller have been gardening each summer together for more than 20 years.

The uncle and niece have spent those years trying new things with vegetables and learning lessons together through gardening.

But this year, they produced a bigger crop than ever, at least with the 10 varieties of 80 to 100 tomato plants.
They even had one tomato that weighed in at 2 ½ pounds and 18 inches around.

"We do the same thing every year and we plant a big variety, but this year those were the largest tomatoes we've ever grown," Tess Miller said. "Honestly, I don't know the main difference."

The Millers do plow the soil and add lyme and fertilizer throughout the year.

"We add lyme to increase the pH level and we do that every fall or September, October," Tess Miller said. "We use the normal fertilizer with 30 percent nitrogen and we do that with Epsom salt mixed in. Then we plant the tomatoes the second or third weekend in April."

And it's not just the tomatoes having a good year. The green beans, okra, squash, cucumbers and peppers, among others, all look amazing as well.

Gary Miller thinks it has something to do with the amount of rain this year.

"Probably has something to do with how the rain was spaced out just right," he said. "As long as you have the moisture in the soil, that really helps."

The Millers usually can, freeze and give away what they can't eat.

"We can most everything and some of it goes in the freezer and that really saves on the grocery bill," he said. "... The rewards out of it are great."

Tess Miller has spent more than 20 years gardening in the summer with her uncle, who learned everything from his mother.

"Growing up that's what we did," Gary Miller said. "A lot of people still do. It's amazing what a small spot ... You don't have to have a great big garden to produce a lot."

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