How Chris Evans Grew the UK's Largest Tomato
Interview with Chris Evans, UK on his record breaking tomato
Who you are and where you're from. How long have you been growing.
My name Chris Evans and I'm from Wednsebury west Midlands and I’ve been growing since I could remember.
What did you put into the bed? Was it raised up? Where did you grow it
The bed I grow it in was a 4” board high inside my greenhouse, I used soil from my allotment and just a normal Westland’s grow bag and mix the two together.
When did you plant the seed? How long did the tomato take to grow? How did you prevent it from ripening?
I started the seed off the 1st week in may it germinated with 7 days. How I prevented it from ripening was I used blue builder netting on the roof and sides also covered the front of the plant as well.
What did you feed the tomato and how often did you use warm water?
I fed the tomato plant with Chempak number 2 which is high nitrogen to try keep the plant and tomato as green as possible. If you feed potassium it will make the tomato ripen which you don't really want. I feed Chempak number 2 once a week when the plant is small. As it got bigger, I increased to twice a week then fed the Chempak number 2 from start to finish.
How did you pollinate the tomato?
To pollinate the mega bloom, I used an electric tooth brush.
When did you pollinate the tomato? Was it by hand. How did you do this. Was it on 1st or second truss?
I started to pollinate the mega bloom when the bloom opened. I did this once a day until the tomato was set (5 days) and this was set on the 1st truss which is been known to grown the biggest tomatoes.
How tall was the plant? Did you grow with side shoots? How high off the ground was the tomato?
I let the plant grow about 4ft tall then I removed the growing tip out to stop it growing any higher. I removed all side shoots and also removed any flowers that came on.
How did you support the tomato?
I supported the tomato with a metal pole to take the weight of the plant and tomato, and to support the tomato I made a sling out of fleece to stop it falling off.
Was the tomato grown inside or outside? Was it in a heated greenhouse?
The tomato was grown inside a greenhouse but it was not heated. I did however have small solar fans in there to keep air moving. When it was too hot I opened both doors to the greenhouse to let plenty of air in around the plants
Did you foliar feed. Did you use mycorrhizal Fungi?
I did not foliar feed at all but I did use something called bulb starter which has mycorrhizal fungi in it. The bulb starter is mainly for flowers but I have great results with everything I use it on.
Did you graft the plant? Which rootstock did you use?
I didn't graft the plant and the seed came from Fabrice Boudyo 6lbs plus which I was very grateful for.
Did you provide shading for the plant and if so what?
I did provide shading for the plant in the latter stages.In the early stages giving plenty of sun to the plant is important. Once the tomato was set I gave plenty of shading. For this I used blue builder netting.
Did you use a chemical spray for the plant and if so what?
I did spray them with a fungicide called fungus clear. I sprayed this once when the plant was small and once when the tomato set.
Did you mound the stem to encourage new roots?
No I didn't mound the stem just left it to grow. I am however thinking of trying it next year. You never know I might get a bigger tomato. I’m always welcome to ideas.
What are you aiming for in 2017?
I’m aiming to beat my own UK record giant tomato but I’ll try my luck with anything because you never know. That’s my main aim.
If anyone wants to have a go get stuck in and good luck it’s great fun. If you don't get it right just keep trying because you never know. Good luck everyone.
What got you interested in giant vegetable growing? What do you like about it?
I got interested in giant veg growing when I visited the UK Giant Vegetable Championships and it looked great fun. What fascinates me is how you get a seed so small and watch it grow into a monster
All I can tell those that are thinking about having a go is just to have fun. Please get the right seed first then your half way there. You won’t grow a giant tomato from the commercial tomato varieties and seed packets. Also, try different methods until you get it right but try it because it’s an amazing sport
If you'd like to purchase some of Chris's seeds please click on the link below