Derek Hulme, an amateur gardener from Stoke-on-Trent, UK, is officially the proud grower of the world's longest leek.
The incredible vegetable measures no less than 143.2 cm (4 ft 8.3 in).
The average-sized leeks that one might find on the shelves of a supermarket are around 30.50 cm (one ft) long and they are normally one or two inches wide: that means that Hulme harvested a leek that is over 1 meter longer than your regular veggie!
Hulme presented the record-breaking leek at the 2022 edition of CANNA UK National Giant Vegetables Championships, a special event held every September at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire, UK.
Now, forget your regular vegetables and crops. Between a tasting experience and a taste of true farmer life, the Malvern competition showcases record-breaking whoppers - from giant leeks and giga-pumpkins, up to monster turnips that are over 4.6 meters (14 ft 76 inch) long.
To achieve such an incredible length, Hulme grew his leek with care and patience under the protection of a polytunnel in his allotment plot.
The use of polytunnels helped the gardener to extend the growing season of the vegetable, allowing its size to develop way beyond expectations while also keeping pests away and reducing weather-caused damage.
Although Hulme has over thirty years of experience growing flowers and vegetables, he is relatively new to the world of big vegetables.
"I have just recently got into growing some giant veggies," he says. "But it's been my boyhood dream to hold a world record."
The record holder also reported to Stoke-on-Trent’s latest news that he started growing the giant veggie in 2019.
“Back in 2019, I and a few other giant veg growers were given a packet of 30 Bulgarian long leek seed in an attempt to grow the first ever world record for the longest leek.”
Sadly, Hulme couldn’t share its progress at any regional show due to the pandemic and Covid-19 restrictions.
“But this year I entered the Malvern, CANNA UK National Giant Vegetable Championships and have finally officially won the Guinness World Records title for the world’s longest leek.” - Derek Hulme
Councillor Carl Edwards, a cabinet member for housing and environment, has publicly congratulated Hulme in light of his new Guinness World Records title.
“Our allotments have always been popular and are a key part of our Green Space Strategy in the city and we have maintained funding and support for allotments and investment in services.”
Every September, the giant vegetable competition spawns new, incredible garden giants (as well as new record holders) in the presence of official Guinness World Records adjudicators.
Only this year, 11 new records have been broken during their giant vegetable competitions, among which we can count:
- Heaviest Aubergine (3.362kg, broken by Peter Glazebrook)
- Longest Turnip (4.605m, broken by Joe Atherton)
- Heaviest Field Pumpkin (121.6kg, broken by Mark Baggs)
- Longest Potato Plant (2.847m, broken by Kevin Fortey)
And we can certainly call it a bountiful harvest, since this year's competition resulted in the largest number of new Guinness World Records titles ever achieved during the event.
In 2021, the record for the longest leek was broken by British gardener and multiple record title holder Joe Atherton (UK) with a leek measuring an incredible 136.0 cm (4 ft 5.5 in).
At the 2022 edition of the autumn competition in Malvern, however, Joe presented another specimen of record-breaking plant and took home yet another Guinness World Records certificate after growing the longest turnip ever.
This specimen of Brassica rapa measured a never-seen-before 4.605 m (15 ft 1.3 in), as confirmed by National Vegetable Society judge Martyn Davis. The incredible measurement broke Joe's previous record, achieved in 2019.
With five world records already in the bag, the giant-veggie grower revealed that his secret is a plastic pipe guttering.
His wife, Carmel, is also in charge of cleaning the vegetables: she is the one who ensures that the vegetable isn't damaged when being prepared for measuring.
“It's Carmel who does the cleaning, which is crucial because she makes sure it doesn't break," Joe explained. "It’s true what they say, behind every man there’s a better woman."
Longest cucumber 🥒 113.4 cm (3 ft 8.64 in) grown by Sebastian Suski 🇵🇱🇬🇧♬ original sound - Guinness World Records
Only earlier this year, another British giant veggie entered our garden of record-breaking plants when Sebastian Suski presented the world's longest cucumber.
The outstanding exemplar of Cucumis sativus was grown in a polytunnel structure in Sebastian's allotment in Southampton – the same method used by Hulme and his record-worthy longest leek.
The cucumber surpassed the previous record by 6.4 cm (2.5 in), reaching a jaw-dropping length of 113.4 cm (3 ft 8.6 in).
Sebastian (an amateur grower living in the UK but originally from Poland) shares with success his wife Renata, whose help proved to be crucial while Sebastian was hospitalized.
"The doctor found a leaking blood vessel in my head and so I spent a week in the hospital,” Sebastian reported to Guinness World Records.
“Luckily my wife Renata was on hand to care for the cucumber and keep her well-watered and nourished. Without Renata, I wouldn't have this record."
Sebastian is also sure that this won't be his last record: "I've got a few more cucumbers that are nearly ready to be cut, and some very impressive butternut squash that could well be record-breakers."
Want more extraordinary vegetable and garden records? Find them in Guinness World Records 2023!