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How to Grow Long Carrot Beetroot and Parsnip

The secret with growing long vegetables is in the preparation of the growing medium.

As you are growing a carrot with a thin tap root, other than the initial 6 month fertiliser at the start of the plant, the mixture only needs to have minimal feed incorporated into it.  

Our mixture consists of sieved compost and vermiculite to retain moisture.  If you are able to source mycorrizhal funghi, add this to the seed at initial propagation.  The seed should be planted around mid January to early February.  Try growing at different stages to see how you get on. 

Peter Glazebrook and Joe Atherton use the following mix

1/3rd clean garden soil, 1/4" fine-sieved, 1/3rd peat, 1/4" fine-sieved
1/6th grit sand, 1/8" fine-sieved, and
1/6th medium Perlite

Peter and Joe also add superphosphate (0-20-0) and sulphate of potash (0-0-50) and Seaweed meal

Place a pot at the end of the pipe to prevent the mixture from escaping.  Cover the pipe with some tarpaulin to prevent the elements baking the mixture / washing it away.

Position the carrots into their final growing position, ideally at 45 degrees

There are two options for germinating the seeds

Option 1

Sow long carrot seeds in a mixture of compost and sand.  Add a very little amount of 6 month osmocote feed.  Place the kitchen rolls in a 3" pot and surround the roll with compost.  Place on a heated propagator / windowsill and cover with polystyrene.  Plant 3 – 4 seeds per pot

Check the carrots after about 6 - 10 days. As soon as you see the seed leaves start to emerge they need to be placed into their final growing positions.  At this point the tap root should be near to the bottom of the pot and ready for transplanting.  If four seeds germinate, select the strongest plant two weeks after planting out

Option 2

Sow seeds direct into the mixture in the pipe.

 

 

Watering

We cover our pipes with tarpaulin and this aids with the moisture retention.  Some grower such as Joe Atherton uses duvets and this regulates the moisture and temperature of the growing area. You do not want the carrot to produce into a giant one so feeding is not essential.  We recommend that you feed with a weak mixture of Shropshire Seaweed every 14 days (foliar feed).  Do not allow the carrot to dry out as this will cause the tap root to dry out and it will take a long time for the roots to re-grow. Keep the mixture moist but do not saturate it as you want the carrot to search for the water.

 

 

Preparation for Showing

 It's best not to water a few days before harvesting to allow the compost to dry out the compost. The tubes can be carefully tipped over where you will see the long tap root at the base of the tube. 
Allow the compost to dry out slightly and then carefully tease away the carrot and gingerly remove the long root – We usually cut ours with a scissors. Place the root into a cardboard box in layers and head to the show.

 

 

 

 

 Measuring at the Show

Below Mary and Peter Glazebrook are measuring their long vegetable.  This was a picture from a UK giant Vegetable Show and was judged by Ray Davey who judged the UK Giant Vegetable Championships for several years.

 

Current World Records

 

The World's longest beetroot was grown by Joe Atherton in 2014 and measured 6.67 metres - 28.19 ft

 

 

The World's longest Carrot was grown by Joe Atherton in 2007 and measured 584cm - 19ft 2 inches

 

 

The World's longest parsnip was grown in 2014 by Joe Atherton and measured 6.281 metres - 20.6 feet

 

How to Grow a Giant Canteloupe

Here's a growing guide on how we grow our Giant Canteloupe Melons

Below is a couple of pictures from Medhi In France who currently holds the European Record with a melon weighing just over 40lbs

 

 

  

 

 

How to Grow a Giant Radish

In 2013 we grew a radish weighing 6.8kg.  Find out below how we did it

The radish was grown in an unheated greenhouse.  A barrel was placed on top of a raised bed and this was filled with sand.

 

 

The 6" pipe pictured to the right hand side of the picture was used to core a hole into the sand.  This was then filled with a mix of vermiculite, perlite and multi purpose compost. 

Slow release nitrogen and osmocote was mixed into the compost.

The radish were planted directly into the compost at the start of July.  Dependent on the weather there it'll take around 100 days for the radish to reach its potential.

The radish was then covered with enviromesh and watered as needed.

 

Be careful to avoid over watering as this will cause the radish to split and potentially rot away.  Try to take away the yellowing leaves as these will cause the radish to rot. 

We do not feed our radish as we place sufficient feed into the growing medium

Below is a picture of the radish at the Malvern Autumn Show in 2013

 

 If you are interested in purchasing seeds please visit here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Grow a Giant Watermelon

How to grow giant watermelon by former World Record Holder Ivan Bartol, Italy

 

Ground

Watermelons require loose soil and prefer soils rich in organic matter. A well-drained soil will help to avoid damaging water stagnation and promotes root development that will allow greater capillary action to provide nourishment to the plant. The space that is required for a giant watermelon plant is approximately 25sqm.

 

 

Pollination

 

This is carried out by transferring the pollen of the male flower inside the female flower. After a few days (48 hours) under the flower pollinated by hand you, the fruit should begin to widen. This task can be made between flowers on the same plant or by crossing different plants (you need to keep the memory of the kind of cross made, perhaps with appropriate signs placed in the vicinity of the fruit , for the inclusion of genetics used to race).

 

Fertilisation

 

One of the most important elements of growing giant watermelons is getting the correct level of organic fertilizer into the patch. The manure must be buried in the area in advance of growing watermelons in copious amounts. Cow or sheep manure provides an advanced level of maturity for it to be better assimilated by the plant. It may be advantageous to bury the dung a few months before sowing at a dose of 15-20 kg \ sqm.

 

The Roots

 

There are two options for the management of the plant:

Beyond the main root, there is an important function performed by the secondary roots or adventitious roots that grow naturally along the branches of watermelon sometimes even up to a length of 70 cm. It is important, therefore, to encourage the maximum development of these roots keeping the soil surrounding the trunk worked well.

The watermelon is grafted onto a rootstock.  The main root of the rootstock will be chosen between the most resistant and vigorous plants.

 

 

The Irrigation

 

It is preferable that drip irrigation is used because this provides better fertiliser management of the plant. The water used to irrigate the watermelon must be at room temperature.  If it is too cold, it halts the growth of the plant.

 

The structure of the plant

 

Another factor of great importance is how the plant is grown. The main vine should have laterals that are left to grow to around 2 metres and form a fan type shape to the plant.

 

 

Fruit Thinning

 

 

If you are growing a watermelon for a competition you should leave only one fruit or a maximum of two per plant. You will have to remove all the others that form. It is preferable to choose to leave a fruit that remains at a distance of 2 to 3 metres from the stem and you have to have the foresight to pollinate the first fruits formed when the plant is smaller and wait for it to be established with strength and vigour to grow into a giant watermelon

 

Orientation of the fruit

 


Orientation of the fruit is very important if you wish to grow a giant watermelon.  This operation consists in moving the watermelon so that its stalk bearing the single flower grows perpendicular to the branch where it is attached. This is to avoid the watermelon growing size wrenches that will put a strain on the stem and mean that the melon will come away from the plant.

 

Sun and soil

 

The soil should have a P.H. between 6.5 and 6.8, and be worked to a depth of not less than 40cm. If the depth of the soil is 60 or 80 cm, the plant would have greater benefits for a greater root development. The soil should be deep, loose, well- drained and rich in organic matter. All organic substances are great if macerated and fresh, especially horse manure , cow, sheep and rabbit. The location of the seed or seedling, as well as the preparation of the soil must have good natural sunlight. Good sunlight means that the plant lives in health and develops strongly if the temperature remains between 20 C and 35 °C. The geographical area on earth where the fruits reach the maximum size is between 40° and 50° latitude that corresponds to the Po Valley in Italy. The Emilia, in this regard, is located in the most favorable climate zone (orange areas). Sunlight is the trigger of photosynthesis and therefore growth and development of plant and fruit. If the soil does not have the ideal pH, it can be changed but it takes months. If the soil is below 6 (acidic) you have to add lime at the rate of 25 kg per 100 m².  The adjustment of the soil occurs in 4-6 months. If the soil is alkaline, i.e. with a pH greater than 7, one must add sulfur, aluminum sulphate or ammonium sulphate. The organic materials decomposing may vary the pH of the soil. The update test should be repeated every 4-6 months.

 

 

It is essential that the plant is protected from wind and excessive solar heat. The plant must be protected, with barriers to wind and sun screens to reduce 25-30% of the direct sunlight . Soil moisture is the secret of growth and an irrigation system is the preferred option for watering the plants.


The Seed


The seed can be placed directly in the ground or in pots in a propagator, but in both cases the soil must have a temperature not lower than 15°C. The seed must germinate as quickly as possible.

 

 

Selected Fruits


Although the variety Carolina Cross has great energy, you should leave one watermelon to set without artificially pollinating it.  Pollinate between 3 and 4 fruits and select the best looking watermelon.

 

 

 

Further Reading


GWG : www.giantwatermelongrowers.com

EGVGA : www.egvga.webs.com

Miss Watermelon www.facebook.com / proloco.novellara

GPC : www.greatpumpkincommonwealth.com