A green-fingered father has broken the record for growing Britain’s largest tomato… with the help of some sheer pantyhose.
Hertfordshire’s Douglas Smith spent around two months carefully growing the giant tomato, which is, in fact, six regular beef steak tomatoes fused into one.
The huge fruit, which had to be suspended using a pair of tights so it did not fall off the stem, weighed in at a whopping 3.106kg, and measured 27.5 inches in circumference.
It was grown from seed from a variety known as Big Zac.
Douglas’s giant fruit has edged him ahead of the previous UK record-holder, Peter Glazebrook, whose record-winning tomato last year weighed 2.9kg.
Douglas said, “Giant tomatoes have been my main focus in terms of competitive vegetable growing… my attempts have been just shy of [Glazebrook’s] each time. But this time, I’ve finally edged it.”
So how did the 42-year-old do it? Methodically. He got seeds from US tomato grower Larry Hill, from Minnesota, USA—who yielded the seeds from his own, 3.47kg tomato plant. He cut back any other flowers on the plant to maximize all the growth into the one ‘megashoot’. He watered his tomato plant at least once every day for over two months, using water with a bit of liquid seaweed mix. He also gave the plant a ‘weekly compost tea feed’.
“You’ve also got to keep the tomato shaded” explains Douglas. “Covering it with a dishcloth will do—as this keeps the skin more supple so it can grow.”
Douglas will now keep the seeds from his huge tomato to continue growing more of the fruit.
And how about that big tomato? Will it end up in a beautiful Greek salad, or perhaps as part of one giant bruschetta? No. It’s due to be sent to butchers’ shop Churchgate Sausages in Harlow, Essex, to be made into tomato and basil sausages.