We’re still in the midst of tomato season, which means that farmers and gardeners all over are sizing up their ripening fruit with pride. But no matter how carefully they’ve cultivated their tomatoes, they can’t hold a candle to a new record-setting behemoth from Britain.
Recently, gardener and dad Douglas Smith managed to set a new record for the United Kingdom’s biggest tomato, weighing in at an astounding 6.85 pounds and sporting an impressive circumference of 27.5 inches. For comparison’s sake, that’s under a pound less than the average birth weight of an infant, and two inches less than the circumference of a regulation basketball.
Cultivated from a seed variety known simply as “Big Zac,” which has a higher likelihood of tomato plants fusing together, Smith’s gargantuan garden haul is technically made up of six normal-sized beefsteak tomatoes joined as one. Smith watered the tomato plant daily for two months, using water mixed with a little liquid seaweed mix. Weekly composting also helped improve conditions in the soil. By the end of its cultivation period, the Frankentomato was so huge that Smith had to use a pair of sheer tights in order to keep it from falling off the vine before it was ready to be plucked.
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For Smith, breaking this record was a long time coming, failing on his previous two attempts to eclipse the record held by fellow Briton Peter Glazebrook and his 6.4-pound tomato.
“This has been an ambition of mine for a couple of years, now,” Smith said. “Giant tomatoes have been my main focus in terms of competitive vegetable growing.”
Though the tomato has cemented Smith’s place in the record books, it’s not the only time his green thumb has resulted in something truly giant. Earlier this year, he managed to get a sunflower to grow more than 20 feet tall.
Soon, the record-setting tomato will be sent to an Essex butcher shop so it can be made into (quite a few) tomato and basil sausages. However, Smith says he’s keeping the seeds to see if he can push things even further.
Smith’s green thumb should be an inspiration to all of us. You may fall short in our own quest to grow the UK’s heaviest tomato, but with a bit of determination and a pair of panty hose, you might just get closer than you think.