ROWERS of giant vegetables will be gathering at this year’s Canna UK National Giant Vegetables Championship to show off their mammoth marrows, colossal cabbages and outsized onions in the hope of setting world records.
Cornish farmer David Thomas holds three world titles – for the heaviest red cabbage, the heaviest cucumber and the heaviest parsnip – and is chasing the title for the heaviest green cabbage at this year’s Malvern Autumn Show, where the championship is held.
He has to harvest his giant cabbages using a very sharp saw to cut the stump and a mini digger to winch the cabbage out. He often gets his neighbours to help him. His cabbage fills up his truck and when he grew pumpkins, he needed a trailer to transport them.
Some giant veg prove pretty inedible once they reach their maximum size – the longest runner beans are stringy, weighty cucumbers go bitter and the heaviest parsnips are woody and tough. Other giant veg such as cabbage, leeks, tomatoes and onions are fine to eat.
David says that with the right seed and the right advice, anyone can have a go at growing giant show vegetables.
“Go and speak to a top grower. Make sure they’re winning ,” he suggests. “Take what you’ve grown to the show – it doesn’t matter how big it is or how small it is – and you’ll get talking to people. You’ll never get criticised for having the smallest cucumber.”
He suggests the following guidelines to giant-veg novices.