Dad Grows UK's Biggest Tomato Using A Pair Of Tights
Douglas Smith, 42, spent over two months carefully growing the giant tomato, which weighs a whopping 3kg and is actually six regular beef steak tomatoes fused into one.
The huge fruit, which had to be suspended using the tights so it did not fall off the stem, measured 27.5 inches in circumference. It was grown from a seed from a variety known as Big Zac. Big Zac indeed.
Douglas' monster has edged ahead of the previous UK record-holder, Peter Glazebrook (the grower, not the name of the tomato), whose record-winning tomato last year weighed 2.9kg.
Douglas, from Stanstead Abbotts, Herts., said: "This has been an ambition of mine for a couple of years, now. Giant tomatoes have been my main focus in terms of competitive vegetable growing.
"Peter Glazebrook has held the last two records for UK's biggest tomato - and my attempts have been just shy of his each time. But this time, I've finally edged it."
Product manager Douglas hit the headlines last month after growing a giant sunflower as tall as his house - which towered at an impressive 20 feet tall. He certainly seems to know what he's doing.
Now, he has shared the secret to growing his 'amazing' giant tomato, explaining: "What you want to try and cultivate is a fused flower - which is where the individual tomato plants fuse altogether in a row.
"This particular tomato is made up six tomato plants all fused together. Fused flowers tend to be a natural mutation - but with competition seeds like the ones I had, they have been specially selected so that there is a slightly higher chance of this occurring.
"They tend to occur more often on the first truss of tomatoes - and when you have a spell of warm days followed by cool nights, like at the end of summer into autumn.
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"It's also important to cut back any other flowers on the plant to maximise all the growth into the one 'megashoot'."
Douglas got the seeds for his giant tomato from US tomato grower Larry Hill, from Minnesota, USA - who yielded the seeds from his own, 3.47kg tomato plant.
Douglas watered his tomato plant at least once every day for over two months, using water with a bit of liquid seaweed mix.
And he also gave the plant a weekly compost tea feed - consisting of a bucket of compost blended down, to help improve the soil life. That's some commitment.
He added: "I actually had to hang it in a sling towards the end, made out of a pair of pantyhose I had bought to provide it with support and keep it falling off the stem."
And Douglas said that the 'amazing' thing about his tomato was that it was grown in a pot, rather than in the ground.
He said: "I don't like growing things in pots - I prefer to grow things in the ground. But one of the competition categories was the biggest plant grown in a small pot. This tomato was grown in an 18.9-litre pot - which makes its size even more amazing."
Fair play to him.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS