I have not finished clearing my plot from last season when the new one begins. I grow many vegetables for the table but over the last few years I have joined others in the challenge of growing giant vegetables. If you want to join this merry band of avid growers who are pushing the limits of what is possible in terms of size and then showing at different events there are a few things to bear in mind. Firstly it is not just about showing, it's a personal challenge and one which gives a great talking point! Secondly get lots of advice, there are many great sites that provide information, particularly groups on Facebook with members always willing to help
Remember the seed you use is a vital part of growing. You will not find these seeds widely available but investigate a few Facebook sites where you will find those selling or giving away these specialised varieties.
This will be the 4th year I have tried growing these magnificent bulbs. Many say this is the most difficult grow because of the length of time it takes to get the end bulb starting in October and finishing the following September
I started growing these with the encouragement of my friend Ben who gave me some giant onion seeds. I had seen the 4lb bulbs he had grown for showing and initially just copied what he did. As the season went on, I pushed the bulbs to their limits and got my first bulb over 10lbs. Since then my top bulbs have been 12.5lb, 12lb and 11.5lb managing to get 5th place twice at the Malvern Giant Vegetable Contest. If you think these are large then just look up the New World Record broken in 2023 by a brilliant grower Gareth Giffin at 19.7lb (8.9kg); another top grower Peter Glazebrook grew in excess of 16lb
It's October and the new season has begun. I have managed to get some high quality seed as in previous years. I am hoping to go larger than before. I live in hope but know there are many challenges ahead.
This year I have collected some pips (tiny onion bulblets) that I will use to try some experiments later in the season as well as planted seeds.
The seeds are planted in seed trays using Levington's F2 + S compost which is popular with many growers; I have covered the seeds with fine vermiculite. Although I will eventually only need 5 to 10 plants I have sown significantly more seed as later there will be a selection process to go through.
I have also started 12 pots of onion pips at the same time. These are also in Levington's F2 + S . I did consider using Canna Coco but have decided to use this from the first planting.
My grow setup is indoors and includes high quality lighting which I am still trialling. I have set the heating pad at 20 degC and initially set the lighting to 12 hours. I will be changing this when the seeds have germinated. I am looking to keep the germination temperature around 20 degC
I will hopefully be in a place to pot up the seedlings in about 10 - 14 days