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Giant vegetable display offers pumpkins and parsnips to feed several armies

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 31, 2012

  • Dave Thomas from Hayle steadies his giant pumpkin

  • Ian Neale with his giant cucumber at the UK National Giant Vegetables Championship in Somerset

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The smashing pumpkins, large leeks and gargantuan carrots from all over Britain have been weighed and measured and are ready for thousands of visitors expected at the National Gardening Show, which opens in Somerset today.

The show takes over the Royal Bath & West Showground at Shepton Mallet until Sunday, and boasts everything the keen gardener could dream of, from expert advice, green projects and some stunning gardens to cookery demonstrations, the country’s main dahlia show and the region’s poultry show.

But it is the huge vegetables that amaze the crowds the most, with already some record breakers weighing down the tables and challenging the fork-lift truck drivers. Some of the veg is so huge and heavy it needs special lifting gear, while some is so long it needs two people to measure it.

The giant vegetable growers of Britain all flock to Shepton Mallet, regarding the show as the premier event of its kind in the country.

And as the weighing and measuring continued, veteran grower Peter Glazebrook was already celebrating. His parsnip was the first parsnip to grow to more than 18ft long, which is set to bag him a world record.

“The previous world record was something like 17ft 5in, and this one is 5.607 metres, which is 18ft 5in, so the details will have to go off to Guinness World Records, but it’s going to be a world record,” he said.

“I am chuffed. It’s very tricky to grow long parsnips, I grow them in pipes attached to the gable end of a barn so they grow downwards and what happens is the parsnip grows long and thin. The pipe comes apart in half lengthways and it’s a very delicate operation to get it out of the soil without breaking it. I managed it with this one,” he said.

Mr Glazebrook is the existing world record holder for the longest beetroot and has previously held the longest carrot record too. “I do shows every weekend and as shows go, this is the biggest one for giant veg – everyone is here and it is extraordinary,” he added.

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