The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1994, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Sunday, August 7, 1994                 TAG: 9408050105
SECTION: HOME                     PAGE: G2   EDITION: FINAL 
                                             LENGTH: Short :   36 lines


WILL COUNTRY music make tomatoes bigger?

Gordon Graham of Edmond, Okla., thinks so. He grew a 7-pound, 12-ounce tomato, using Stern's Miracle Gro Plant Food - and country music.

If you can grow a larger tomato, it might be worth $100,000. That's the prize in Miracle-Gro's continuing search for the largest tomato.

And, the first person to beat Graham's record will appear in a nationally televised Miracle-Gro commercial.

Graham, a painting contractor, grows the Delicious variety of tomato. It is among several that produce large fruits. Graham's prize-winner later became slices enough for 21 sandwiches for friends and family.

Graham says he communes with his plants daily, sings to them and tunes a nearby radio to a country-music station. He also provides his plants with lots of Miracle-Gro and soil-building compost.

If you spot a giant tomato on your vines, let it grow as long as possible, Graham suggests. Photograph it as soon as you pick it, then overnight it to: Miracle-Gro $100,000 Tomato Challenge, c/o Nationwide Consumer Testing Institute, 1415 Park Ave., Hoboken, N.J. 07030.

Miracle-Gro will then weigh your tomato and measure it. To make sure it's the real thing, they'll also X-ray it.

The contest is open until the end of 1995.

For official rules and growing suggestions, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Miracle-Gro Tomato Challenge, Box 888, Port Washington, N.Y. 11050. by CNB