Gardeners have been competing against each other regarding the size of their vegetables for centuries now - no smut intended. And of course, in an age where the cost of fresh produce is becoming evermore expensive - the bigger your crop, the better. But just how do you grow a giant vegetable?

Well this is the million dollar question because the growing of giant vegetables is still highly competitive, and any secret that could give a gardener the edge is kept close to the heart.

The first secret is the seed. Without seed that is genetically capable of growing to these huge sizes then all you efforts will be wasted. You can either obtain your own seed by growing generation after generation of plants and selecting those which show a bias towards gigantism or you can buy them from a specialist supplier.

Once you have your seed, the basics are as follows. To grow a giant vegetable you need to take full advantage of the growing season and that will include artificially extending the growing period by using a protective environment. Sounds highly scientific, but this just means you need to grow your prized crop in a heated greenhouse in order to get a head start. Also, higher temperature will increase the metabolism of your plant allowing it to make the most of favourable growing conditions. But don't make conditions too hot or they will go dormant. Be aware that maximum favourable growing temperatures will vary for each crop you grow.

The next aspect of growing a giant vegetable is to allow your crop to make the most of available water and nutrition. Many growers will choose to use automated irrigation systems and some will even go to the expense of an automated chemical fertilising system. Why? Because if you over water your giant vegetable will stop growing until more favourable conditions arise. If you underwater your crop your giant vegetable will stop growing until favourable conditions arise. If you under feed you giant vegetable it will not grow as quickly and if you overfeed your giant vegetable it will stop growing until the excess nutrients are leached through from increased watering - don't water-log the compost though or you could end up killing your crop!

Beyond this you all you have are the normal production techniques for each crop and trial and error. If you are lucky then sometimes someone will throw you a gem of advice.

For the rest I am afraid it will have to be a challenging adventure.

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