Amaranth

General information:

Amaranth (Amaranthus) is part of the herb family. Some species are raised as gluten free pseudograin while other species are used as vegetables in some countries. The past few years amaranth has become more popular in giant vegetable growing circles.

Show rules:

Amaranth is measured from the bottom of the stem to the top of the flower (or stem if it has not flowered) in a straight line.

 

Beetroot (heavy)

General information:

Beetroot is a very difficult class as there are several types of beets and grey areas in between. Generally we speak of table beets, fodder beets and sugar beets. Table beets can be of pretty much any colour from white to dark purple and even yellow. For competition purposes beetroots are limited to beta vulgaris rubra, the typical dark red, round table type. One of the grey area beetroots is the beta vulgaris vulgaris "Mammoth" which is both fit for human consumption but also as fodder. We have chosen to make a special category for these, but they will not be recognized for any records in the beetroot class.

Show rules:

Beetroots should be clean (hose them down with luke warm water) and free of deep splits, holes and rotten spots. All of the roots should be left on, but the leaves should be cut off as close to the shoulder of the beetroot as possible.

"Mammoth" beetroots can sometimes be hollow. Other than that, they follow regular beetroot rules.

 

Beetroot (long)

General information:

Long beetroots can be of any colour, but generally they are quite dark red. They are typically grown in long tubes with special very fine soil. The length of the beetroot is more dependent on the technique than on the type, though obviously some types are preferable to others.

Show rules:

Long beetroots are measured from the shoulder of the beetroot to the tip of the root and in a straight line.

Extra information:

The length of the foliage left on is not important. It is not measured. The beetroot root must be in one piece and attached to the beet itself. No backing paper or cloth is to be used.

 

Cabbage

General information:

Cabbage belongs to the Brassica oleracea species and for competition purposes the green variety of the Linne cultivar is used. Although red cabbages are denser and therefore weigh more per cubic inch, they are generally smaller. In the past crosses have been made between green and red cabbages with success. Cabbage does especially well in Cornwall, parts of Wales and Alaska. It is one of the few giant vegetables of which the entire plant, except for the roots are weighed.

Show rules:

Although some shows allow leaves that have broken off during transport to be included in the final weight, the international rules state that all leaves need to be attached to the cabbage stalk. The cabbage must be in sound condition and the stalk must be trimmed to within 5 cm (2 in) of the first bottom leaf.

 

Cantaloupe

General information:

Cantaloupe (cucumis melo) is also known as muskmelon and rockmelon and may contain netting or not. The flesh must be orange. Other types of melons are shown in some countries in the sweet melon class. Cantaloupes are either round or somewhat elongated.

Show rules:

Melons must be clean and free of deep splits, holes and rotten spots. 2.5 cm (1 inch) of stem is allowed.

 

Carrot (heavy)

General information:

The carrot (Daucus carote) is a root vegetable which can be a various number of colours including orange, yellow, white, red and purple, the last one being the original colour. Orange carrots were bred in The Netherlands in the 17th century and are now known as Western carrots, the type used in both the heavy and long classes. For heavy classes Flakkee (a region in the Dutch province of Zeeland) types are often used. These are so-called winter carrots with broad shoulders.

Show rules:

Carrots must be clean and sound, with no signs of rotting. The entire root must be kept on, but the leaves should be trimmed off as close to the shoulders as possible. For show purposes only orange carrots are allowed.

Extra information:

Carrots may have multiple forks, as long as they are all attached to the same set of leaves. Mutilating the main root will cause the carrot to grow more forks, generally thought to increase the final weight. Orange carrots tend to grow bigger than other coloured carrots due to selective breeding.

 

Carrot (long)

General information:

Just like growing long beetroots, the technique of growing carrots in long tubes with very fine soil and proper watering is the key to success. Many growers use "St. Valery" carrot seeds to produce long carrots. Store bought seeds of this type should be as good as those from winning specimens.

Show rules:

Long carrots are measured from their shoulders to the tip of the root and in a straight line.

Extra information:

Foliage can be left on as it is not included in the final length. The carrot must be in one piece and no backing paper or cloth is to be used.

 

Celery

General information:

Celery belongs to the very small family of Apium graveolens. It is a distant relative of parsley and cow parsnip and has many uses. The stalks are eaten as vegetables but the toproots can also be eaten. The seeds (actually very small flowers) are used as spices but also in perfumes. Celery stalks are the only food in the world known to have a negative calorie count. It costs more energy to chew on the stalks than the amount of energy in the stalk itself. Celery can cause severe allergic reactions in some people when eaten. When handling celery it is best to wear long sleeves and gloves as celery in combination with UV light causes phytophotodermatitis, commonly known as celery burn.

Show rules:

Celery is weighed without the roots. It must be generally sound, dry and cleaned of any foreign matter. It should not have run to flower above the main stems.

Extra information:

Celery produces a huge network of roots. To harvest celery, use a sharp knife to cut off the roots at an angle of 45° just under the base of the stems instead of trying to dig up the entire plant.

 

Corn

General information:

Zea mays is the Latin name for corn which is also known as maize in some countries. Although corn cobs are used as a vegetable, the plant itself is not a vegetable but has several other uses including feed for cattle. For competition purposes the height of the corn stalk is important, though some shows also measure the length of corn cobs. The type of corn used for competition is generally not a type fit for human consumption. The tallest types of corn come from South America and in particular Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador. Almost none of these types are available from commercial seed companies. Most of the seeds used originate from governmental seed banks.

Show information:

The corn stalk is measured from the bottom of the stalk to the top of the tassle. The stalk will usually be a few centimetres in the ground. The roots of the corn stalk should be either cut off at the bottom of the stalk or cleaned to reveal where the bottom of the stalk begins. If a stalk has not tassled, the measurement goes to the top of the stalk. Leaves are never included in the measurement. All measurements must be taken in a straight line. Normally a mark is made on the ground at the bottom of the stalk and the top of the tassle. The stalk is taken away and the distance is measured.

 

Cucumber (heavy)

General information:

The heavy and long cucumber classes are exclusively for cucumis sativus species. There are 20 members in the cucumis genus, which are divided into cucumbers, melons and gherkins. For competition purposes the cucumber must be 100% green or yellowish/brown if ripe.

Show rules:

Heavy cucumbers must be clean, sound, free of deep splits, holes and rotten spots when weighed. A maximum of 2.5cm (1 inch) of stem is allowed.

 

Cucumber (long)

General information:

Long cucumbers must belong to the cucumis sativa species for competition purposes. Like heavy cucumbers they must be 100% green or yellow/brown if ripe.

Show rules:

Long cucumbers are usually laid down on paper on a table. A mark is made at the tip of the cucumber and where the stem meets the cucumber. The cucumber is taken away and the distance is measured. No part of the stem is included in the measurement and the measurement must be taken in a straight line, regardless of any curves in the cucumber. The cucumber must be sound, clean, without any deep splits, holes or rotten spots.

Extra information:

All other members of the cucumis genus are excluded from competition including the Yard Long Cucumber which is a melon of the cucumis melo family. Also any crosses between cucumbers and any other member of the cucumis family are not permitted.

 

Field Pumpkin

General information:

Field pumpkins belong to the cucurbita pepo species and have a hard stem. In actual fact they are true pumpkins unlike Atlantic Giants which belong to the squash family and have a soft stem.

Show rules:

The pumpkin must have no holes or splits into the cavity and no rotten of soft spots. The stem must be trimmed back to one inch (2.5 cm). The specimen must be free of dirt.

Extra information:

The most common types used for competition purposes are Phat Jacks and Howdens, though there are several other types that are grown.

 

Garlic

General information:

Giant garlics, also known as elephant garlic, are not garlics, though they look like them, grow like them and even taste somewhat like them. In reality they are a genus of the leek family. For competition purposes they are put in the garlic class and not in the leek class where they would certainly be no competition.

Allium sativum, or true garlic, belongs to the onion family of Alliaceae. Although it is possible to propagate them from seed, almost always cloves are planted which produce more cloves. Elephant garlic is a member of the Allium ampeloprasum genus.

Show rules:

Garlic must be clean and in sound condition. The stem must be cut off as close to the cloves as possible. The roots should also be cut off, just under the basal plate.

 

Kohlrabi

General information:

The name kohlrabi is confusing because in some languages the name is almost the same as turnip, for example in Dutch where the one is koolrabi and the other koolraap. They can also look quite similar which is how the kohlrabi got its name because in German kohl means cabbage andrabi is Swiss German for turnip. The difference is that koolrabi have multiple lateral stems, meaning stems come out of all parts of the cabbage. Turnips have one stem coming out of the top of the cabbage. While the outside can be white, green or purple, the inside flesh is whitish/pale yellow. The type used for competition is a Swiss giant cultivar named Superschmelz.

Show rules:

Kohlrabi rules are the same as swedes and turnips except that kohlrabi roots must be cut off. The leaves should be cut off as near to the shoulders as possible (though some shows strangely allow three leaves at the top). The kohlrabi must be clean and sound.

Extra information:

The Superschmelz cultivar has a tendancy under certain unknown conditions to produce multiple cabbages (known as pups) on one plant.

 

Leek

General information:

Leek belongs to the Allium family, which is the same family as onions and garlic. There are basically two types of leeks, the long blanche variety and the short pot variety. For competition purposes the pot variety will become much heavier, though shorter. While better strains are produced from seed this takes several years and it is best to grow with bulbs, pips or grass taken from a known heavy leek (they are a clone of the mother plant, but grown under better conditions can be heavier). These also allow an earlier start to be made in the season as they ideally require a 10 month growing period.

Show rules:

Leeks are weighed with the washed roots on. The entire plant must be clean, dry and free of foreign matter. It must also be in sound condition.

 

Long Gourd

General information:

Long gourds are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family and belong to the Lagenaria species. Most members of the gourd family, also known as Calabash, originated in Africa. The long gourd grown for competition seems to have its origins in Italy and parts of former Yugoslavia. Dried properly, many gourd types can last indefinitely. The long gourd is acutally a long dipper gourd (of which there are many types) without the bottle typical to many gourds, at the bottom. In some countries they are eaten as vegetables, but gourds have many other purposes, from musical instruments to spoons to pots and art forms.

Show rules:

Long gourds are measured in a straight line from the shoulder to the tip, regardless of any curves in the fruit. Cracks are characteristic to long gourds and are acceptable. Otherwise the long gourd must be sound without rotting.

 

Marrow

General information:

Marrow is a confusing term because it refers to different things in different countries. For show purposes, it refers to a member of the cucurbita pepo family, otherwise known as summer squash. It is a direct relation to the zucchini and courgette. The main difference, apart from size, is that zucchini and courgette grow on bush type plants with the fruit growing on top of each while the marrow has vines like a pumpkin. That being said, the British also call zucchini and courgettes marrows once they reach a certain size. Marrows exist in several colours and combinations including white, green, yellow, orange to almost black. Some have stripes. For show purposes, only green and light yellow, almost white marrows are accepted. Light green stripes may occur on some green marrows.

Show rules:

Marrows must be sound with no cracks or holes into the cavity and no major rotten spots. The marrow must be washed clean. The entire stem and 1 inch (2.5 cm) of vine on either side is allowed. The colour must be green or light yellow. The green marrows might have light green stripes.

Extra information:

Marrows cross very easily with other members of the pepo family. Seeing as many marrows are still open pollinated, the strain has been quite contaminated. Because of this, many orange marrows have been shown. These are most likely crosses with field pumpkins. The EGVGA will not accept any dark yellow or orange marrows, or other colours not listed in the show rules.

 

Melon (long)

General information:

There is no international long melon class. The EGVGA has created this non-competitive class for growers of Yard Long Cucumbers, which is the longest type of melon. With a bit of fantasy these melons look like oversize cucumbers, but they are no immediate relation as they belong to the cucumis melo species and not to cucumis sativus like all cucumbers do. Unfortunately some shows do recognize this melon as a cucumber.

Show rules:

Long melons must be sound and may have 1 inch (2.5 cm) of stem attached.

 

Onion

General information:

Onions, like garlic and leek, belong to the Allium family. Normal onions are very easy to grow, especially from pips (bulbs). But giant onions are very difficult and incredibly time consuming and expensive to grow. In Great Britain they are one of the most popular types of giant vegetable brought to shows. It is essential to get the right variety of seeds, which are usually only available from specialist growers. The seeds do not keep well, so new seeds need to be obtained at least every two years.

Show rules:

The foliage must be trimmed off at or below the first green leaf joint. The roots must also be removed. The onion must be clean, dry and sound with no rotten spots.

Extra information:

When removing the roots, the basal plate must not be damaged. If it is damaged, the onion cannot be replanted to produce seed. World record shows use a special tube collar (3 inch (7.5cm) dia x 5 inch (12.5cm) long placed over the neck to determine where it is cut off.

 

Parnsip (heavy)

General information:

Parsnips belong to the Pastinaca sativa species and are related to carrots, unlike cow parsnip which is related to celery. Seeds do not last long and it is best to use fresh seeds each year.

Show rules:

Parsnips must be clean, dry and sound with no rotten spots and the foliage trimmed off as close to the shoulders as possible.

Extra information:

Any soft brown canker spots can be washed off first.

 

Parnsip (long)

General information:

Long parsnips are grown in tubes much the same as long beets and long carrots. Although the length achieved has more to do with the technique than the variety, it is best to choose a long slender one than a heavy type.

Show rules:

Parsnips are measured from the shoulder to the tip of the root in a straight line. No backing paper or cloth is to be used. Foliage is not included in the measurement.

 

Pepper (heavy)

General information:

There is no international pepper class, but some shows do accept them. For competition purposes, peppers must be sweet bell peppers of the Capsicum annuum species. In large parts of Europe this type of pepper is known as paprika. Bell peppers lack capsaicin that causes a (strong) burning sensation when it comes into contact with mucous membranes. Sweet peppers are green when unripe. But they can be white, yellow, orange, red, purple and brown, depending on the cultivar.

Show rules:

The peppers must be sound and may contain only the stem that is attached to the plant. For competition purposes, peppers can be any of the above mentioned colours.

 

Pepper (long)

General information:

Long peppers are a Guinness World Record class, though there are few shows that actually accept them. There are many long cultivars which can be used, either sweet or hot (chili). Any colour is accepted as well. For the EGVGA it is a non-competitive class.

Show rules:

The pepper must be sound. The length is measured from the shoulder of the pepper to the tip in a straight line. The stem is not included.

 

Potato

General information:

Potatoes belong to the enormous family of Solanum, which also contains tomatoes and eggplants. Most plants in this family are poisonous in some way. Potatoes belong to Solanum tuberosum, referring to the edible tubers. All potatoes are poisonous, but by peeling older potatoes and cooking them at high temperatures, the toxin is largely neutralized. Potatoes are the fourth most popular food on earth, following rice, wheat and maize. There are thousands of potato cultivars, each country having its own. Some cultivars are even restricted to certain provinces or even townships.

Show rules:

The potato must be clean, dry and sound with no rotten spots. Up to 1 inch (2.5cm) of stem can be included.

Extra information:

Regularly new world record claims are made for potatoes. These are almost always sweet potatoes, which are members of the Ipomoea batatas species, a totally different family which has nothing to do with potatoes.

 

Pumpkin

General information:

The term pumpkin is quite misleading as the pumpkins grown for competition purposes are of thecucurbita maxima species, which is one of the five members of the squash family, along with Hubbards, Pink Banana and Jarrahdale squash. Characteristic to the maxima species is the soft stem. Although in the past several types of "pumpkins" were grown for competition purposes, all serious growers now use generic Atlantic Giant seeds.

Show rules:

Pumpkins may have no cracks or splits into the cavity or (large) soft or rotten spots. The entire stem is allowed but the vine must be trimmed back to 1 inch (2.5 cm) on either side. Pumpkins can be any colour other than 100% grey, bluish or green.

Extra information:

Some shows have a prettiest pumpkin contest. Generally speaking the specimen should be over 500 lbs, be as orange as possible and have a symetrical, roundish shape.

 

Radish

General information:

Radishes (Raphanus sativa) belong to the Brassicaceae family. In general there are four types: summer, fall, winter and spring. For competition purposes winter varieties are used and in particular Daikon radishes. These are Asian radishes with long white roots. They come from Asia and are also known as Japanese radish, Chinese radish, Mooli or simply Daikon radish. The world's largest variety is a Japanese round type called Sakurajima daikon which easily grows to 6 kg in the right conditions, but can also grow to 30 kg if the proper care is taken and the proper soil is given.

Show rules:

The foliage must be trimmed off as close to the radish shoulders as possible. Roots are allowed. The radish must be clean, dry and sound with no rotten spots.

 

Runner bean

General information:

Of the fifty members of the bean family only Phaseolus coccineus is allowed in the runner bean class. Native to Central America, they are also called scarlet runner beans because of the red flowers and multicoloured seeds. Unlike common beans, the cot leaves (cotyledons) stay in the ground during germination while with common beans these leaves are thrust out of the soil on (long) stems.

Show rules:

Runner beans are measured in a straight line from the shoulder to the tip, regardless of any curves. It is best to make a mark where the bean begins and ends and measure the distance in between. The bean must be sound and still green (not dried out).

Extra information:

The runner bean class excludes any other type of bean including French haricots but also asparagus beans, otherwise known as yard long beans, which in fact are members of a totally different genus and are not beans at all.

 

Rutabaga / Swede

General information:

Rutabagas and turnips have been confused at giant vegetable shows because of their similarities. Rutabaga is derived from the Swedish word meaning root bag. Because of the origin of the word, some countries choose to call the rutabaga a swede, or Swedish turnip and to make matters more confusing in parts of England and Canada it is simply called a turnip. The rutabaga is a member of the Brassica napobrassica species while turnips belong to the Brassica rapa species. The rutabaga is originally a cross between a cabbage and a turnip.

Show rules:

Rutabagas must be clean, dry and sound, without any rotten spots, deep splits or holes. The foliage must be trimmed off as close to the shoulders/neck of the rutabaga as possible. While some shows do not accept roots, international rules dictate that roots are allowed, just like a beetroot.

 

Sunflower (head)

General information:

Sunflowers are in no way a giant vegetable eventhough the seeds can be eaten. It is an annual flower plant. Each sunflower consists of about 1000-2000 flowers enclosed by an array of petals. Sunflowers originated in the Americas and only arrived in Europe in the 16th century. For competition purposes the sunflower is often shown at giant vegetable shows. There are two official classes, the largest sunflower head and the tallest sunflower plant.

Show rules:

Sunflower heads are the most controversial of all giant vegetable classes. There seems to be no international agreement on how to measure them. One option is to measure just the head, without any of the petals. But this can be done in a straight line across the bottom of the head, or in a rounded line over the top of the head. It is also possible to include petals, again across the bottom or over the top. The official Guinness way to measure is to place the sunflower head on a piece of paper or something similar, draw a mark at the tip of the petal sticking out the most and then draw a mark at the tip of the petal exactly 180 degrees on the other side of the head. Remove the head and measure the distance in a straight line. This is the petal to petal in a straight line method. This is the method accepted by the EGVGA. Local shows can choose any manner, but to make sure at international level that all measurements are done in the same way, the EGVGA has chosen to follow Guinness guidelines.

 

Sunflower (tall)

General information:

Sunflowers belong to the Helianthus annus genus and is an annual plant with a large head of flowers. Many fairs and shows have a tall sunflower class which measures the length of the stalk including the flower head. Sunflowers were introduced from Central America to Europe in the 16th century. In 1567 the world's tallest sunflower was grown in Padua, northern Italy. According to reports it measured 40 ft (12 m). The same lot of seeds produced several other plants, each of which were taller than the current modern world record of 8.03 m (26ft 4in). For years the world record had been held by a Dutch grower until 2009 when a German grower finally broke the record. Although sunflowers apparantly do well in cooler climates, they are real sun lovers and they need shelter from wind or in any case support.

Show rules:

Sunflowers are measured from the bottom of the stalk (without roots) to the top of the highest petal. Sunflowers are measured in a straight line, regardless of any curves in the stalk.

 

Tomato

General information:

Not only do potato and tomato rhyme in North American English, they also belong to the same family, along with aubergine (egg plant). Tomatoes belong to the Solanum lycopersicum species which also makes it a close relative to peppers. Through extensive cultivation, the tomato developed from a small green fruit found in the wild in South America to a much larger and diverse fruit grown throughout the world. The largest tomatoes in the world have been grown using a strain called Delicious although the Big Zac strain is more commonly used. First generation seeds seem to produce smaller fruits than later generation seeds which have been open pollinated, something which is seen in other sorts of giant vegetables as well.

Show rules:

Tomatoes must be clean, sound, free of splits, holes and rotten spots. The stem must be trimmed off within 1 inch (2.5cm) of the tomato.

 

Watermelon

General information:

Watermelons are a member of the cucurbitaceae family, but belong to the citrullus genus, unlike true melons which belong, together with cucumbers, to the cucumis genus. Because watermelon have their own class, it is not important that they are not actually melons but botanical berries (pepo). There are several types of watermelons in a limited variety of colours. For competition uses the Carolina Cross strain is used. Watermelons generally do well in warm climates but some strains have been successful in cooler climates.

Show rules:

Watermelons must be sound, without any cracks, splits or holes into the cavity or (major) rotten spots. The watermelon must be clean and have the stem removed within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the fruit.