Tuesday September 01, 2015

UPDATED: B.C. gardener says he has grown world's longest cucumber

World's longest cucumber? 0:53

Listen 5:33

It's the story that keeps on growing. 

Daniel Tomelin is an avid gardener from Kelowna, B.C. He has a diverse mix of healthy plants but this summer something incredible has happened with one of the edible varieties. Tomelin claims he has grown the world's longest cucumber. His prized cuke currently measures just over a metre in length (44.5 in).

"If you've seen an English cucumber, this is like a really long one of those," Tomelin tells As It Happens guest host Helen Mann.

"The widest part, the bulbous end is about six inches around so that's putting it about four and a half inches across."

The mammoth plant was no accident. Tomelin is an experienced green thumb and says he owes his success to a specific gardening technique.

Daniel Tomelin

Tomelin with 'Big Larry' his record-breaking cucumber. (Daniel Tomelin)


"It's from synergistic gardening, where I've done deep mulch gardening, and just covering up the soil all the time with organic matter," he explains.

Science aside, Tomelin admits his technique relies on a bit of luck or what he calls "magic."

"The magic of what happens in microbial levels that we don't even understand, just like the microbiome in our stomach," he explains.

Tomelin's cucumber has already surpassed the Guinness World Record, and he has started the process to formally challenge the current record, which stands at only 41.5 inches.

"I've had replies via email, saying that it has been acknowledged and accepted, and now they're going to do their due process so they'll send the actual documentation paper within six weeks."

Daniel Tomelin's Garden

Tomelin's natural garden, free from fertilizers and pesticides. (Daniel Tomelin)


But it doesn't stop there. Tomelin plans to get the most out of his record-breaking fruit and go beyond the cucumber category.

"I built a four-foot tall fermentation vessel," he explains.

The vessel is an oversized jar Tomelin made out of two flower vases. He wants to use it to ferment the cucumber and create a record-breaking pickle.

"I'll get an official double amazing!" he exclaims.

To grow your own record breaking cucumber check out Tomelin's website for gardening tips and information on his synergistic, deep mulch system.

After our interview went to air, here's a tweet we shared. Listener Brian Read questions the circumference of Tomelin's long cucumber. Take a read: 

UPDATE (September 4, 2015): On Thursday night, we received an email from Daniel, who has been keeping us up-to-date on Big Larry's developments. It looks like things got a little hairy for his future pickle...

The email reads, in part: "[My] Buddy broke fermentation vessel for Big Larry's metamorphosis into pickle butterfly." And, this morning, more distressing news about the gargantuan gherkin: "Had to cut Big Larry down as he was getting a soft neck and may not have survived until the new pickle jar/fermentation vessel was ready."

Daniel Tomelin

Tomelin with "Big Larry" his record breaking cucumber. (Daniel Tomelin)

Yikes.

But have no fear, Daniel has got the situation under control. "Tonight Big Larry will complete his journey into adequate housing for metamorphosis into a pickle."

Stay tuned...

Broken Jar

Disaster! The pickle jar breaks. (Daniel Tomelin)