Wednesbury gardener Chris Evans is a national record holder for growing a huge tomato – a six-pounder which won its class in the British mammoth vegetable championships.
Chris, aged 21, grew the 6lb 2oz monster in a greenhouse at his hugely-successful plot on Friar Park allotments opposite his home at Friar Park Road.
He won the class at the Malvern Autumn Show where thousands flocked into the show tent to see “huge, ugly and overgrown” pumpkins, parsnips, carrots and beetroot – and then found out that his huge tomato was the largest ever grown in the United Kingdom.
“It was great to win the show – there were lots of other tomatoes in the competition but the people who got closest to mine had four-pounders,” he said.
“I was really pleased to find out later that the organisers told me that mine was the biggest ever tomato grown in the country.”
It has been a great year for Chris, who is a leading member of the Midlands Leek Society, because at the Midland show at West Bromwich he won with this pot leeks , and the prize for the three-in-one class for blanched leeks, pot leeks and onions.
He was also second in the onion class and third in the pot leeks.
Chris said he grew six plants of a French variety of tomato and allowed only a limited number of tomatoes to grow on each plant. “I fed just once a week for most of the time but then gave them more fertiliser in the run-up to the show,” he said.
Chris has been interested in growing all his life and helped on the family plot until he got his own three years ago.
“I really love growing all kinds of vegetables and especially the leeks and onions and now I really have the taste for growing monster vegetables so I will be having a go at different things in the future.”
Two years ago Jim Dirden, another Wednesbury allotment grower won the prize for the heaviest leek at the Malvern event with a big pot leek grown at the Woden Road South plots.
Councillor Richard Marshall, cabinet member for leisure, said: “It is very pleasing to hear that a keen Sandwell gardener has made his mark in a national competition and we send him our congratulations.
“It is great to see the names of our local towns in the results of these big events and I hope that Chris being such an enthusiastic young man, goes from strength to strength in his future efforts.”