How to Grow Giant Vegetables
If you’ve seen the BBC news article this week about the gardener who had his prize cabbage chopped up by accident, you may be starting to wonder how to grow huge vegetables or even how to grow giant vegetables!
Here in Wales I have been successfully growing giant vegetables for many years. Here are my top tips! Be warned, it’s not a simple task.
Choosing the Right Seed for Your Giant Vegetable Growing
Hopefully those of you who have ever planted something from seed will realise that seed choice is always vital. Whether you are trying to grow the juiciest tomato or a giant cabbage, you need to make a careful selection. If you really want to get into the world of huge vegetables, then starting your own lineage is always a possibility. If you are going down this route then remember that this will only work with open-pollinated varieties.
Some seed suggestions to get you started:
- Carrot – the Japanese Imperial Long Carrot will grow to over a foot in length
- Onions – Kelsae Sweet Giant. The world record for this onion is over 15lbs
- Pumpkin – (everyone loves a giant pumpkin!) Atlantic Giant. These can reach in excess of 1000 pounds
- Sunflower – if your (grand)children enjoy gardening, then give the Grey Stripe Giant a go. Their flower heads can be 2 foot or more in diameter.
- Tomato – one of my favourites is an heirloom, the Old Colossus. Easily reaches 2 pounds
Right start for Growing Giant Vegetables
Depending on where you are in the country, your soil quality will dictate how much preparation and what type of preparation you will need to do. My soil is very rich anyway, but I do like to dig in some of my ‘home grown’ compost too. There is also the option of having a soil test completed. This will have a look at the nutrients in the soil and will tell you if you need to add anything, or if there is a particular vegetable that you will have a naturally better chance of reaching the ‘giant vegetable’ stage with. Many of my giant vegetable friends love adding a good slow-acting organic fertiliser. For tomatoes and pumpkins go for one that has plenty of phosphorous and potassium in it. Nitrogen loving plants include cabbages and other leafy vegetables.
Right water, right time
Sporadic watering just will not do, growing giant vegetables requires a lot of time and effort – it is rewarding though! My top-tip here is to employ the use of drip irrigation. You buy ones that are linked to timers but will also take account of the rain. If you, like me, have plenty of time then just use your initiative.
Right Care – thinning
While these plants may feel like your children, they cannot all succeed and you need to remove the weaker ones! To grow a giant vegetable, the plant will need to have optimum nutrients. Competition will ruin your changes. When it comes to it, decide on you strongest two or three and nurture them. Leave the foliage.
Right action for problems
Pests and diseases are the bain of my life! When you are growing giant vegetables, it is always better to aim to remove any problems by hand. Don’t stress the plant by using chemicals
Hopefully these tips will set you on the right path to grow your own giant vegetables. My last two tips? Plan and be patient.
For a little vegetable madness, check out the London Vegetable Orchestra