Size does matter!
We're talking to a real champion this time! His name is Gerjan Puttenstein. He's a 20 year old student plant science from Wezep, a small village in the Veluwe area. It might not be a big place, but the vegetables that grow there are gigantic. Gerjan will tell you about it.
Gerjan, you became a champion recently. But in what exactly?
I try to grow giant pumpkins and other kinds of vegetables every year. And I really succeeded this time. Last weekend, the Giant Vegetable Championship was held in the Utrecht botanic gardens. Like the last few years, I took part again.
So you've participated before?
Absolutely! In fact I won in 2008. I took part with a pumpkin that took the main prize of 1000 euros. I've been trying to break my personal record ever since.
This year you won with a tomato. What's your secret?
I started off with a small greenhouse to protect the tomatoes against disease and rain or hail. Besides protection a well fertilized soil is essential. Unlike giant pumpkins, which you can never really overfeed, a tomato is a little more particular. Well balanced nutrition is very important. To achieve this, I mixed worm humus into the soil. When the plants reached the growth phase I started giving them Terra Grow, Power Roots and Sugar Royal. That created the basis for a winner! That’s when the growth of the tomato really started. When the first flowers showed up, I chose to remove all of them except one. That way the plant could focus all its energies on one tomato. When flowering started, the plant changed its diet, so I switched to Terra Bloom. I kept up giving the two additives and added Green Sensation to the mix. Meanwhile I topped the plant and kept pruning suckers. After a month of growth, the tomato started coloring red. It was time to pick it and take it to be weighed. The scales showed 2759 grams: it broke the Dutch record!
How do you get such a hobby?
I stopped growing regular vegetables years ago. This year my girlfriend asked me to grow a special variety of tomatoes that weren’t for sale in stores. They were supposed to have a much better taste. I tried them and it was true: the taste was incomparable to the watery tomatoes from supermarkets. While I grew them, though, I asked myself: why not try to grow them into giants?
You mentioned you’re chasing a personal pumpkin record as well. How much is it?
The 2018 record was 510 kilos. The following year, 2019, didn’t go as well.
Why was that?
The year actually began really wel. So well, in fact, that the pumpkin started tearing. The tears aren’t very good for the plant. I lost my shot at the title unfortunately. But that’s how nature works: sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t.
We know that feeling. This year went better?
Definitely! This was a good year. I used to grow my plants with all kinds of different products. That’s how I learned about your products. I liked using them and after some contact with your grow experts I decided to give Plagron a try. It didn’t take long for my pumpkin to pass the size of 2018! Outward size doesn’t mean everything for the final weight of the pumpkin, but it is an important indication. I saw growth every single day, which is pretty normal because these giants can grow up to 15 kilos a day. So, I had a suspicion I might be breaking the record.
It was a correct suspicion!
And then some! The 2018 record was smashed! De scales nearly hit 609 when the pumpkin was weighed. Almost 100 kilos over the old record. And then there was the tomato, which turned out to be the biggest, heaviest tomato of the Netherlands.
Well done! Congratulations. It sounds impossible, but will you try to top this performance next year?
Nou doubt! I don’t know if it’s possible for the tomato, but giant pumpkins can be enormous. With the products I’m currently using and some tweaks, I’m hoping to add a nice couple of kilos. I’m really taking a shot at the championship next year.
That would be awesome! How are you planning to get there?
With the help of Plagrons products, it should turn out alright. Giant pumpkins need a lot of attention, but even more nutrients. I’m planning to optimise nutrition next year. I’ve already been using countless litres of Terra Grow and Bloom, Green Sensation, Sugar Royal and PK 13-14. But I have a feeling she was still thirsty. I need to keep a close eye on this and prevent any deficiency. There definitely space for more growth.
I’m also going to enrich the soil a bit more. My soil wasn’t perfect this year, so next time I’m going to add Mega Worm, Bat Guano, Calcium Kick and beneficial fungi. Obviously, it’s not just about nutrients. Like I said: you need to pay close attention. Soil and plant need to be in harmony and if you pay attention to both, things should work out.
Sounds good, Gerjan! We’re happy to help you chase that next record. That’s what our campaign #growlegendary is all about! We wish you a lot of success and we’ll see you again next year!
We congratulate Gerjan Puttenstein with the first prize in the Dutch tomato division and the fourth place in the Dutch pumpkin division. We’ll see him in first place next year!