Jack and the giant cucumber

IPSWICH: A green-fingered pensioner has cultivated a colossal cucumber in his Ipswich garden - but he's keeping cool about his secret growing technique.

IPSWICH: A green-fingered pensioner has cultivated a colossal cucumber in his Ipswich garden - but he's keeping cool about his secret growing technique.

Jack Goodwin has been fostering the vast vegetable for the last four months at his Glamorgan Road, where he lives with wife Elsie.

The 75-year-old's cucumber measures in at a whopping 20 inches - with a ten-inch circumference - and weighs a hefty 3lbs 2oz.

Mr Goodwin was keeping tight-lipped about how he farmed such a stupendous salad ingredient, but he did reveal how it came to be in his back garden.

“A friend of ours from down the road gave me some cucumber plants, so I put them in my polytunnel,” he said. “Those few plants ended up sprouting 64 cucumbers which we handed out to neighbours and the local hospice. But there was one that stood out from the others and I dug a hole in the soil underneath it to see how big it would get.”

The mighty cucumber began to grow out of control until Mr Goodwin ran out of room in his vegetable patch. He even had to prop it up with an old broom handle to support its weight.

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The secret of his growing success is, for the time being, staying close to his chest.

He said: “I'm not ready to reveal my secret ingredient just yet but I will say that I always use good, rotted manure and soaked compost.”

Mr Goodwin, who for many years voluntarily ran an animal sanctuary from his home, has a garden full of fresh home-grown veg from which he has already picked 50lbs of tomatoes this year.

He and his wife have been virtually living on runner beans for the last 12 weeks of summer but Mr Goodwin admitted they wouldn't be dining on his giant cucumber.

“It would last us a month if we ate it,” he said. “But it's going a bit yellow so I don't think it would taste very good.”

Have you grown a giant vegetable? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

A sizeable selection of other gargantuan groceries:

The heaviest apple weighed 1.849 kg (4 lb 1 oz) and was grown and picked by Chisato Iwasaki at his apple farm in Hirosaki City, Japan October 24, 2005.

The world's heaviest lemon weighed 5.265 kg (11 lb 9.7 oz) on January 8, 2003 and was grown by Aharon Shemoel on his farm in Kefar Zeitim, Israel.

Joe Atherton, of Nottinghamshire, broke the record for the longest carrot, a gigantic 19 feet and 1.96 inches (5.841 metres), in 2007.

Aussie farmer Filippo Curcuruto has entered the record books twice with his massive courgettes, known in Australia as zucchinis. One measured a metre-and-a-half - a record he broke by nearly 20cm in February this year.

(Source: Guinness World Records)

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