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Flower show seeks growers with great expectations!

16th August 2017

There is a very BIG secret in the gardening world…and it’s about to be revealed at this year’s Harrogate Autumn Flower Show!

Jealously guarded by generations of gardeners, the recipe for success in the cloak and dagger world of giant vegetables has long been the stuff of legend. Now for the first time, visitors to the famous Harrogate event can find out just how it’s done and even have a go themselves.

British record holder and author, Kevin Fortey, will reveal the tricks of the trade in special talks on how to get started with giant veg to mark the launch of three new classes for novice growers.

Aimed specifically at gardeners who have never won a prize for super-sized specimens, the beginner classes will invite entries for monster marrows, tremendous tomatoes and rambling runner beans.

Flower Show Director Nick Smith said: “We have seen many records set here at Harrogate over the years and our champion growers are without doubt among the very best in the world. The amazing array of monster specimens is incredibly popular with our 40,000 visitors, but there is always one very big question left hanging in the air – how do they get so huge?”

The man with all the answers is local council officer Kevin Fortey, from Cwmbran, South Wales, who started growing giant veg as a young boy alongside his father. Now 39, Kevin and his family hold the British records for the heaviest marrow (77.56kg), bell pepper (560g) and field pumpkin (72kg).

Kevin Fortey added: “Growing giant veg can be fascinating, rewarding and frustrating all at the same time. I learned alongside my late father, Mike, and am now passing on the knowledge to my son, Jamie. It is great to see novice classes being introduced at a major show like Harrogate because, despite the cloak and dagger reputation, we would all like to see new growers trying their hand at giant veg.”

Kevin will be giving talks on getting started with giant veg at 11am on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 September 2017. At 1pm on Saturday he will turn from one of the most traditional garden pastimes to one of the most modern, with a talk on growing veg the hydroponic way.

In addition to the new novice categories, there are 13 other giant veg classes, plus the annual world record weigh-in for the heaviest onion. Since the national onion championships started in 1983, some 12 new world records have been set. The current record holder is Tony Glover, from Birmingham, who topped the scales in 2014 with a whopper weighing in at 18lb 11oz (8.47 kilos).

The closing date for entries to the North of England Horticultural Society’s fruit and veg show at Harrogate Autumn Flower Show is Saturday 9 September 2017. For more details visit www.flowershow.org.uk


Tickets: Fri & Sat: £18.00 on the gate, £15.50 when purchased by Tuesday 5 September 2017. Sun: £16.50 on the gate, £14.00 in advance. Under 16s FREE when accompanied by an adult. PARKING IS FREE. Visit www.flowershow.org.uk or call 01423 546157.


Editor’s notes: Kevin Fortey is the author of the website giantveg.co.uk and has just published a new book on growing giant vegetables in Germany called Riesen im Garten. An English version is expected to be out soon.