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Cecilia Daddino of Yaphank enters LI Tomato Challenge

Cecilia Daddino of Yaphank is just 53/4 years old, and yet, she's quite the avid gardener. In April she started two kinds of tomatoes from organic seeds - Big Boy and Roma - and, with her dad, transplanted them outdoors in May.

Now she's asking for lady beetles to use as insect control and digging up worms from around the yard and adding them to the tomato bed to aerate the soil. So far, the plants are as tall as Cecilia, according to her mom, Joelle, who has taught her little green thumb all about gardening and why pesticides and chemicals are bad for her environment and her body.

Cecilia will join gardeners from all over Long Island in the quest to find the year's biggest tomato on Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at Newsday headquarters (235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville).

Are you in? Send your story and photo to jessica.damiano@ newsday.com, and you might be featured next.

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