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The World Record Carrot Growers - Heaviest & Longest

Other records here


 

John Evans World Record Carrot - heaviest weight

Heaviest - 18.985 pounds - 1998
John Evans  - Alaska

 

 

 

Meet the World Record Holders for the heaviest and longest carrots.

Joe Atherton World Record Carrot - longest length

Longest - 19 feet 1.96 inches - 2007
Joe Atherton - UK


Heaviest Carrot in the World    (record for longest carrot click here)

According to the Guinness Book of Records John Evans created the World Record heaviest carrot, a whopping 18.985 pounds (8.61 kg) in 1998, a world record for a single root mass.

 

John Evans with his World Record Carrot

John V. R. Evans, a mechanical designer who lives 40 miles north of Anchorage in Palmer, Alaska holds seven world records for Giant Vegetables.

John was born in Dungarvan, Ireland was raised in Brecon, South Wales coming from a line of expert horticulturists.

 

 

John Evans with his World Record Carrot

In the 40 years of gardening experience, he has accumulated a great wealth of knowledge from different climactic and soil conditions in 6 countries and 4 U.S. states. He also does extensive research in the chemical, physical and biological properties of his garden and experiments on different plants of the 60 to 70 vegetables seed varieties he grows each year.

In the seven years of competition at the Alaska State Fair he and his wife Mary have accumulated over 180 first places in both quality and giant vegetable categories, with 18 State and 7 World Records. Another shot of John at the Alaska Show

Can you imagine what it would be like to dig up a carrot from your garden and not knowing how big it is until the last minute, and then finding out that it's 19 lbs. Now that's exciting!

John says "Over the years, I have developed my own fertilizers, bio-catalysts, and growing techniques and it would take a whole book to explain."  His advice is that Carrots require a long growing season and should be started in February. Transplant in a high raised bed that has been dug very deeply and enriched with compost and sand. It is really that simple!

But there have been missteps along the way, he notes. First, there are the battles with moose. He and his wife have had to bang on pots and cans in the middle of the night to distract the hungry garden predators.

Even Mother Nature can even be an enemy. In his early days, Evans was walking the cabbage rows at sunrise. All around, there was a strange sound of rubbery stretching as cabbage leaves creaked open. Suddenly, with the sun nestled just above the horizon, the cabbages started exploding. "There was coleslaw everywhere," he says, laughing. "They had warmed up too quickly on the outside and were still cold on the inside and they just popped open."  Now he knows to stretch wet sacks across the heads to insulate them at night and let them wake up slowly and well-hydrated.

John Evans with his World record CertificateFor a world record holder seven times over, John Evans is really a humble sort of chap. In fact, as he tells it in his cheery Welsh accent, he really just sort of fell into the sport. "I came up with the idea to grow large vegetables to promote organic gardening. I don't use chemicals, fertilizers or any such things. And the plants, they simply love it." 

John doles out a what he calls a "compost tea with nutrients," a treat that feeds soil bacteria and fungi, which in turn feeds the worms, which in turn fertilize and aerate the soil, which in turn delights the veggies. If it sounds pretty simple, it is at least in theory.

But then there are the man-hours to account for. Though John only gives his crop of cabbages, Swiss chard, carrots, potatoes and zucchini a serving of "tea" once a week, the rest of the time he tends to daily garden duties like any good green fingered gardener.

 

John's extra care - The garden covers only a half-acre, and he is up and out there by 4 a.m. every morning, pinching and adjusting and watering the plants. And since he's in Palmer, Alaska, sitting in the Mantanuska Valley, overlooking a nearby glacier, there are some special measures he has to take. For instance, since the ground might not thaw by the time his growing season rolls around, Evans uses raised beds, which warm up faster. And too, since his well water is often just 38 degrees F, even at the height of summer, he heats it so as not to put the plants into shock.

John's attention to detail has made him one of the most successful giant gardeners in the field. He says that because he feeds the soil, not the individual plant, his practices tend to yield a giant cornucopia rather than a single specialty. His Guinness World Records suggest that there may be some truth to that. His prize-winners include: a 35-pound broccoli; a 19-pound carrot; a 39.5-pound kohlrabi; a 45-pound red cabbage; a 42.8-pound garden beet; a 28-pound kale; and a 49.1-pound celery.  

John very modestly says "I just manipulate plants, growing great plants from ordinary seeds. And really, I don't want to come off like a huge environmentalist. I just am saddened by how few people garden in this country. I learned from my grandmother and my 88-year-old father still acts like a 10-year-old in a candy store when he gets a batch of my soil amendments. It's really fun, and it's so good for us to try and be self-sustaining."

To finish off John is not out to be the World Record holder for ever. He just want to show what can be done with a little effort and no chemicals. "Any layperson in any climate can grow giant vegetables with my methods. And that's OK. I've already made my point."

Last we heard, John had retired to Ireland and the Museum has no further contact details.


 
Longest Carrot in the World

According to the Guinness Book of Records Joe Atherton created the World Record longest carrot record, a gigantic 19 feet and 1.96 inches (5.841 metres), in 2007.

Joe Atherton from Mansfield Woodhouse in Nottinghamshire, has been growing prize vegetables for over 15 years and World Record success finally came in 2007 for the longest carrot in the world, a staggering length of over 19 feet!.

 

 

Joe uses 21 feet long plastic tubes to grow his giant carrots.   These are in effect pieces of guttering tied together to make a tube. The tubes are filled with normal commercially available compost – Levingtons F2S – a free draining compost with a medium nutrient which is riddled before filling. No extra fertilisation is added throughout the process. The world record carrot was grown from the St Valery variety and took a total of 14 months to grow.

Joe grows other vegetables too, so from the 8 tubes he plants up, 4 are planted with carrots.

The story commences very early in 2006 when the Great British Village Show in the UK contacted him to see if he could produce some giant vegetables for the programme. Planted in February, all went well but they were slow to germinate and three of the carrots ran to seed in June. So Joe was forced to take his sole remaining carrot to the competition heats in August. Sadly he was beaten in the heat as his prized carrot (over 17 feet) was damaged when two feet snapped from the long root. So a mistake actually helped Joe get to his World Record. He planted some more seeds in his tubes which were allowed to over winter in his tubes housed poly-tunnels in his garden.

The tubes which Joe has devised for this purpose of growing long vegetables are located at 45 degree angles to assist drainage, and have 10 inch slots (watering holes) made on the top at regular intervals. The plants are then watered from the top of the tube and the angle and water holes help the water to travel the full length.

After the Spring of 2007 Joe examined his specimens and found they had, once again turned to seed! This time he persevered and spent his time productively nipping off the seed heads as soon as they appeared. And the prize carrot continued its journey down the tube and into the record books.

Joe examines his winter duvets, covering his tubes containing the prize long specimens.

When Joe considers it is time to extract the carrot to examine the results of his efforts the tubes are split open and the root laid out on a board. Clearly there has to be a continuous root with no breaks. The next challenge is transporting the root from home to show. In this case The National amateur Gardening Show at Shepton Mallet, Somerset, some 175 miles from Joe’s garden.

The carrot was carefully cleaned by Joe’s wife, Carmel, and then coiled up and placed on a trailer for the long journey. The cleaning took 2 hours and that is always her responsibility!

The giant carrot took a whole 14 months to grow to its record length of over 19 feet. The judges only consider the length from the shoulder of the carrot to the tip of the very spindly root. The judge on this occasion was Ray Davies, who has to be able to follow the single root from one end to the other and double check for breakages. Guinness World Records are accredited at the show, so finally Joe was the new Record holder.

Joe knew deep down that he had a record breaker to his name and spent a couple of nerve wracking hours waiting for the judge’s decision.

 

Joe’s ambition now is to capture the other carrot record, that of the heaviest carrot. His best effort so far is a mere 13 ½ pounds!

One significant component in the success of giant vegetables is to have a good long variety and then strong fresh seed. He enters a total of 21 classes at the annual vegetables show, and has certificates for carrots, parsnips and beets. He currently considers the Flakee variety as his best chance for the heaviest carrot.

Of course like most people with a strong passion for something, Joe’s family think he is a little crazy, even going out of Christmas day to check on the plantings. As Joe says “It’s all in the preparation and attention to detail……… and a very understanding and helpful wife!!”

Carmel and Joe carefully bring in a long vegetable for measurement.

He has won countless rosettes, cups and certificates for his record vegetables and featured in the Channel 4 show “Half Ton Vegetables” which reported on the record attempts made every year at the Shepton Mallet Show.


Growing Giant Vegetables to break world records  - a further insight into this "extreme sport"
 
Judging at the shows

The Giant Vegetables Championships are one of the highlights of the annual, three-day National Amateur Gardening show, which is held in a 30,000 foot long hangar in Shepton Mallet at the Bath and West Showground in the UK. It is the place where, annually, champions are crowned and hearts are broken. After months of growing they find out if their nurturing has paid off to produce the world’s giant vegetables.

There is no consensus about the origins of the biggest-is-best phenomenon (which regularly commands a whole page in the Book of Guinness World Records), but some assert that this all began at the Welsh Giant Vegetable Championship, which has been going for as long as people can remember .

Vegetable enthusiasts spend months cultivating their marrows, squash, pumpkins, carrots, beetroot and parsnips in a bid to break the previous records. Cultivating enormous vegetables is fundamentally a solitary pastime and at the top level there is a strong competitive element, but the overriding satisfaction comes from a sense of personal achievement: of overcoming all the hazards and disappointments inherent in trying to outsmart nature by making something grow bigger than it has ever done.

It is treated like an Olympic sport, with the same enthusiasm and dedication.

Joe Atherton, Ian Neale and Peter Glazebrook (shown below with his carrot tubes leant against the house!) are three of the most assiduous growers of giant vegetables, each holding several records.

There are 27 classes to enter in the giant vegetable section alone, as well as 66 classes in the flower, fruit and standard vegetables competitions.

It is not only the accolade of having grown a mammoth vegetable they take home, there is also more than £5,000 in cash prizes to win, though no one is there for the money. As soon as the show is over the growers race back to start their campaigns for next seasons record attempts, always striving for bigger and better.

Why do they do it? Cadres of passionate, yet obsessive, vegetable gardeners travel to halls around Britain, staggering under the weight of the distended produce of a year's dedicated sowing, planting, feeding and pampering, customarily undertaken in near secrecy.

But why grow big? Apart from pure competitiveness, there are other tangible reasons why some gardeners prefer to grow for bulk rather than quality.

The first is that size is an absolute, not subject to the aesthetic preferences and individual tastes of judges: the scales and the tape measure are the only arbiters, ruling out any suspicion of prejudice.

The second is the sheer scale of the challenge. The production of swollen or extended vegetables is difficult and all-consuming, requiring high levels of expertise and ingenuity, a quantity of specialised equipment, plenty of growing space - much of it under cover - and lots of dedication.

Indeed, to produce a carrot more than 19ft long - the height of three grown men - and get it to the show bench undamaged, requires military planning. Giant vegetables also lose weight and nutrients which add to the practical difficulties of transporting them to the show bench at maximum size and optimum condition. Many are covered in wet blankets to maintain moisture levels.

It is not a cheap sport with increasing costs of heating and lighting for greenhouses and polytunnels. Some say it is much more than a full time job, perhaps working 80 hours EVERY week. One grower admits to not having a holiday away from home for over 20 years.

The prize money - hardly ever more than three figures and often less - will scarcely pay the fuel bill for the heated greenhouse. Then there are the costs of the special fertilisers and composts and of transport to the shows. And don't forget the pots, barrels, piping, outhouses, cold frames and polytunnels. Bernard Lavery and a giant carrot

Acquiring the seed is the initial seasonal outlay, and this too can prove expensive, as not any seed will do. World record measurements have been rising because of selective breeding.

The Guinness Records guidelines for the longest and heaviest carrots have been compiled with the assistance of Bernard Lavery, chief progenitor of today's giant vegetable cult and author of the book “How To Grow Giant Vegetables” and of course a long time record grower and now retired from competition (pictured right). The first rule is that only vegetables grown primarily for human consumption can be considered for a record. Guinness ask contenders to apply for a pack of information including rigorous guidelines and rules for inclusion in the record list. Naturally the rules are quite demanding and about 80% drop out at this early stage.

Clearly the accredited judges use professional measuring and weighing equipment. The secret to a record vegetable is the correct type and quality of seed and growing conditions and loving care. Now isn’t that simple? Of course mystery diseases and differing weather conditions all add to the trials and joys of growing the giants.

Long carrots are grown with the aim to restrict the growth to a single root, whereas carrots grown for weight the opposite is true. Carrots grown fro length tend to be set in good compost and just watered regularly without the addition of any extra feed. Heavy carrots are grown with lots of fertilisers in an attempt to bulk them out.

Growing record sized vegetables is a labour of love and while fancy watering and feeding systems with the ability to be remote controlled with refurbished laptops are capable of growing large specimens, nothing can match the combination of experience and skill of the human hand for true record breakers.

Long Carrots

Guinness rules - “Measurement of length should be carried out by placing the specimen on a plain surface and my marking the exact position of each end. Then a straight line is drawn between the two marks and this length is measured accurately”.

The carrot has to be free from all soil.

The most important pieces of equipment for growing long carrots are length of plastic drainpipe or guttering. Some growers prop these up against a wall. , almost vertically, others lay them horizontally at an angle. The length and depth encourages extended root growth

The exact length and therefore whether it is contender for a record cannot be known for certain until it is removed from its pipe.

After the first couple of inches the carrot is no more than an elongated root, scarcely thicker than a piece of string and dangerously fragile. It can take 2 hours to carefully clean off the soil to reveal the prize specimen.   Some advice on how to grow a long carrot here.

Heavy Carrots

In this case the rule is simple, weight using digital scales and again clean of all soil.

These tend to be grown in barrels and of course every grower has their own formula for feeding, both the structure of the solution and timing.

Giant carrots are, for the most part, malformed being made up of tangles of roots emerging from a misshapen central lump. More effort is taking with heavy carrots to ensure they are well fed, with a variety of concoctions.

The current record holder, John Evans (since retired) developed his own fertilizers, bio-catalysts, and growing techniques that would take a whole book to explain. He uses a compost “tea” with nutrients, which he calls a treat that feeds soil bacteria and fungi, which in turn feeds the worms, which in turn fertilize and aerate the soil, which in turn delights the veggies. John modestly plays down the considerable man hours of care he put in to achieve his record giant.

See the European Giant Vegetable site here.


Other records

Edward Lumley, aged 27, is now the proud holder of the Guinness world record for the ‘fastest marathon dressed as a vegetable’.

marathon runner carrot E LumleyHe completed the 26-mile course in two hours, 59 minutes and 33 seconds, dressed as a carrot and smashing the previous record set at the 2010 London Marathon by nearly 10 minutes.

Mr Lumley, who now lives in London and works for Transport for London, said he chose a carrot because it was the “most streamlined vegetable shape” he could find.

He said: “I always thought I could run a marathon and wanted to try something a bit different. I saw something about the record for running a marathon dressed as a vegetable and decided to try to beat that.”

Mr Lumley was one of five people attempting the fastest vegetable record.

He said that as he reached Canary Wharf, he was told by a fellow runner that there was a man dressed as a runner bean who was only a few minutes behind him. He said this gave him the encouragement to up his speed through the next few miles to shake off the threat and secure the record.

The race took place on 22 April 2012.

Chopping/slicing - James Martin, celebrity chef UK, holds the world record for carrot chopping in which he peeled and chopped 515g of carrots in one minute, during a Ready Steady Cook Children in Need Special. (Charity event)

Peeled and Chopped - The most carrots peeled and chopped in one minute is 591 g (20.85 oz) by Rosalia Addis (Italy) on the set of Guinness World Records Smashed at Pinewood Studios, UK, on 7 April 2009.

Rosalia is a chef at the Dorchester Hotel in London. She competed against Rik de Raynor, a chef working at the East Midlands Centre near Nottingham.

Most Baby Carrots Fit In Open Mouth (Female) 25! - Wilmington, Delaware - September 17, 2013 - video here. (CAUTIONARY NOTE - WARNING: Stuffing food in mouth can be extremely dangerous. Please do not attempt this record unless you are above the age of 18 and trained as a professional. Submissions in this category are NOT accepted from minors.

Carrot Chews - A.J. Jacobs New York, New York January 26, 2012 - chewed a baby carrot 96 times before swallowing it. video here.


World Record insect eats carrot!

 

Giant Insect eats carrots The giant Weta insect up a tree and his real life Bug's Bunny has now been
declared the largest ever found.

The cricket-like creature, which has a wing span of seven inches and weighs the equivalent of 3 mice!.

The creepy crawly is only found on Little Barrier Island, in New Zealand.

The species were wiped off the mainland by rats accidentally introduced by Europeans.

FARMER Sara Cross has dug up Britain's biggest CARROT — with this monster the size of a rugby ball. (December 2011)

Sara nearly put her back out as she unearthed the mega veg at her farm in Dorset.

The whopping carrot measured 12in by 5in and weighed 2lbs 6 ounces — 22 times the size of a regular 1.7oz carrot.

Sara has now put the stunning specimen — which appears to be made up of many carrots that have grown together — on display at the organic farm shop on the site of Gold Hill farm at Child Okeford, Dorset, for customers to gawp at.

Large, disfigured carrot

 

 

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