Saturday, August 09, 2008


Rutabagas From Hell

I just love that somebody actually wrote a book on this: The Biggest Beetroot in the World: Giant Vegetables and the People Who Grow Them.

From today's Times of London review:

Leapman guides us through this strange world by shadowing a group of its key players through a season as they prepare for the 2007 shows. While displaying the total commitment of all top athletes, the stars of the Big Veg league each have their own individual techniques....

Clive Bevan raises his long cucumbers inside women's tights. Apparently this allows them to expand in all directions. When raised in the more traditional sock they're liable to touch the end, lose heart and stop growing.

Ian Neale - a nursery owner who once grew the world's biggest beetroot at 51lb 9oz (there is no metric system in the world of giant veg) - gets his monsters off to a good start by feeding them rock dust, essence of pig slurry and a material called “dinosaur fertiliser”, from a “big pile on the top of a moor in Yorkshire”.

Digging a little into the subject led me to this absolutely bonkers headline in the New York Times for November 3, 1924:

Obscure Scientist Revealed by Jealous Peasant's False Charge in Murder Case

Known as "Satan's servant" by 586 fellow inhabitants of the little Norman hamlet of Qubue des Yvelines, but heretofore unheard of elsewhere in France, Justin Christofleau asserts that he is not unknown in America and other countries owing to his research work in connection with electric fertilizing....

Sigh. They just don't make mad scientist stories like they used to, do they?

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