Published: 00:01, 06 August 2015
A great-grandad has a tomato “forest” growing in his back garden.
Derek Telford said the fruity foliage, emanating from a solitary plant, is eating up ground by the day.
He estimates the 6in seedling he bought three months ago has sprouted a tree-mendous 10ft from its centre, leafing all his other flowers in the shade.
Mr Telford, of Swale Avenue, Rushenden, said the greenery has grown so thick he can’t get to the label to see what type of plant it is.
“It’s taken over the bottom of the garden,” he said.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before, and experienced gardeners who have been round have said the same. Never mind biggest in the country, it might be the biggest in the world” - Mr Telford
“I’ve never seen anything like it before, and experienced gardeners who have been round have said the same.
“Never mind biggest in the country, it might be the biggest in the world for all I know.”
The 78-year-old, a former Potteries manager, said the plant, bought by his wife from Dobbies Garden Centre in Gillingham, started shooting outwards after he applied fertiliser to the already healthy bush.
“Then it went berserk,” he said. “I’d come down every morning to take a look, and each time it had got bigger.
“It’s still growing. I’ve got two raised beds and it’s taken over one of them. It’s even growing through the fence.”
Because he can’t see “through, round or under” the plant, he’s unsure of its origin.
“I can’t remember, but we think it might be a Big Boy or a Beef Steak.
“When we bought it, it didn’t say how big it would grow – but it’s going mad. I couldn’t estimate how many tomatoes are on it, just hundreds and hundreds.”
Mr Telford, a great-grandfather-of-seven, said the plant was grown around a single wooden stake placed in ground filled with “ordinary compost”.
He said he’s contacted the tomato feed manufacturers which helped nourish his one-plant monster crop.
“I don’t know whether it’s a freak or not,” he said.
Video: Is Derek Telford's tomato plant a freak or not?
“Tomato plants normally reach about 3ft, but this is like a forest.”
With a rich red harvest guaranteed, Derek reckons everyone will be wanting a share of his tomato torrent.
“I’m going to save some seeds and see what happens next year,” he said.
BBC Radio Kent gardening expert Andy Garland said it wasn’t “hugely unusual” to see tomato plants flourish as well as Derek’s.
“They will grow well outside, particularly if it’s warm, sunny, sheltered and has good soil preparation,” he said.
“Fertiliser gives it a boost as well.”
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