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Oh dear, I should have started this list earlier, I can't remember what other people listed. I've looked back on 10 pages of comments but found no recommendations. Please add to the list if you desire, and happy gardening. 

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Replies to This Discussion

Hee. Tomatos are expensive, here in Japan. But, I found something out. Heirloom tomatoes aren't as popular, so they are cheaper! And so much better tasting, I found out! I made salsa with one of them on Sunday. I'll make bruschetta with the rest, tonight. :)

I wonder where else I read that article?  Another good reason for localism and grow your own - no one is enslaved by my backyard tomato.  Now this computer I'm typing on....  probably another story.

Thanks for this discussion Joan.  I don't have any recomendations because I usually didn't have good results with tomatoes, so haven't grown them for many years. 

I usually buy my seeds from Burpee, but this year, besides Burpee, I was tempted to try some 20 cent seeds from WalMart with the brand name of "American Seed".  I gave in to temptation and bought several things.

 The American Seed tomato packet just says "Large Red Cherry".  They look very healthy in the pot and I planted them in the garden yesterday.  If they do well in this questionable soil, I'll try some of the recommendations from you guys next year.

I look forward to learning how this year's crop turns out for you. Although I boycott WalMart, I am interested to learn about "American Seed". 

Putting well composted steer manure on the ground in late fall or early winter results in great plants the next year. I also us well composted kitchen scraps and I have a worm farm in the house over the winter. It doesn't produce enough compost but I love the process ... messy, but what else does one do when retired? 

I boycott WalMart also, except when I can't find what I want elsewhere.  Then I'll look for it there, but if no one else has it, they're unlikely to have it either.

I just bought 5 bags of composted steer manure on sale at Home Depot today, so I'll follow your advice this fall.  I saw that they had a ~$35 compost bin on sale for $7, so I may go back and buy that along with some more manure.

I like to keep my kitchen veg. and fruit compost in a covered bin because it can get pretty smelly and attract flies. I never have enough compost. I think you will find benefits from the composted manure, the soil is so light, one can just give a little tug to weeds and they come right out. 

Compost is gardener's gold.  My yard was hard clay and sand.  You could have used it for building materials.  10 years and untold amounts of compost and coffee grounds and chicken coop cleanings latter, it's lush and productive.

Your soil probably has a lot of glacial silt in it, is that correct? Glacial Lake Missoula impacted your area, I think, and left behind soils as you describe. 

My soil is part of a terminal moraine at the end of the ice age, + bogs caused by volcanic flows that hold and transport water, + blown in soils volcanic dust from prevailing winds. My little patch if Earth is a bog with a volcanic underly. My soil was pure peat, 50 feet deep. My house sits on top of the bog and dances with changes of seasons. This old structure SINGS!

Very interesting.

I don't know - it would be interesting to find out. (map here http://www.glaciallakemissoula.org/virtualtour/index.html I'm very impressed! - you know so much!) Plus, my house was built in mid 60s - they may have removed the topsoil and just left subsoil. Some parts of the yard have lots of smooth stones, 3 to 5 inch diameter - construction? Old stream? It's on a hillside. This area was impacted a bit by the last St. Helens eruption - there were huge piles of ash by the roadside, although I haven't looked lately. So maybe previous volcanic eruptions affected it too. My yard now probably has 1 or 2 hundred pounds of coffee grounds over the last decade - plus maybe 25 pounds of crushed eggshells, and endless bags of local leaves, and a few truckloads of yard compost from a local yard waste recycler. A lot of the plants grow very fast now. Areas that have not been enriched are still hard as rock in the summer.

It's interesting to think of living on an old peat bog. I hope there are no bog people in there!

Excellent map of the flood areas. The ice dam was just north and east of Spokane and indeed Spokane Valley is created by floods tearing the soils and regoliths down to volcanic rocks, leaving exposed volcanic layer-cake flows. 

The volcanics are part of a huge laccolith that occurred during the built up of the Cascades:

"A mass of igneous rock, typically lens-shaped, that has been intruded between rock strata causing uplift in the shape of a dome."

The Ice Age came over all of Spokane, over my site and up the hill to the south of me. The ice shield ended just south of my site and melted north leaving behind terminal moraine (gravel dust, rounded stones that had been transported down downslope, and clays in patches.

So we have a lot of features in town of ice age work. In Spokane Valley, there are a lot of gravels, clays, and sand, very similar to what I think you probably have. My site, being on top of a laccolith, has many scoured out of base rock caused by whirlpools, forming ponds from Missoula floods. 

Well, you probably did't want all that information, but your areas has been impacted powerfully by the same forces of tectonic plate movement, mountain building, ice ages, and floods. 

Sorry this film doesn't show the effects on Portland/Vancouver and the Pacific Ocean. I guess I need to leave the tomato thread and create another to tell the story of this full-of-wonder part of the world. 

Ice Age Floods' Features

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