British gardener Peter Glazebrook had jaws dropping at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show in London, UK last year when he shattered his own world’s weight record for an onion. Mr. Glazebrook, a well-known competition gardener broke his own standing record with a massive 18 pound Ailsae variety. Mr. Glazebrook had set the previous record of 17 lbs. 15 oz., only the year before at this same show.
But Mr. Glazebrook has more than onions on his mind when he steps into his garden. Heads turned as he wheeled his latest cabbage, a stupendous 81 pounder onto the fairgrounds. Not content with this, he stunned the crowd with a marrow - what we in the States would call a zucchini – tipping the scales at a portly 150 pounds.
Mr. Glazebrook is a man who also knows his way around the parsnip patch. He proved it by baffling one and all with a specimen 18 feet in length. Needless to say this blew away all competition at the Harrogate show.
Not everyone can be Peter Glazebrook. Certainly here in Passaic County, NJ 150 lb. zucchinis are unknown and perhaps this is for the best. But we can certainly learn from the master, and in this case the secret lies in the Ailsae onion. This is the strain that currently holds the title.
Ailsae plants are virtually impossible to obtain in the states but the seeds, which must be started indoors, are available by mail from Exhibitions Seeds in the UK. For those who do not like raising onion plants from seeds plants of the Ailsa variety sometimes known as Kelsae sweet giants are available from US firms Dixondale Farms and the Territorial Seed Company.
This is the strain from which the Ailsae giant strain was developed and will produce plants 2 to 4 lbs. in weight with a little luck and good weather. This may not be enough to steal Mr. Glazebrook’s record from him, but it may be enough to garner the proud grower a blue ribbon at the local fair. Why not take your shot at gardening glory with Ailsae seeds or Ailsa plants in your garden this year?
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