Gardener Makes History with World Record-Breaking 4-Foot Leek

Growing leeks is not an easy feat, and growing record-breaking ones deserve the world's recognition!

Leeks are known to be relatively easy to care of. These plants belong to the same family as onions, shallot, and chives.

Although leeks do not require the same amount of care as their plant cousins, they do not simply sprout up from the ground either!

A hand pulling up an organically grown leek on an allotment vegetable plot

Growing leeks requires certain weather and habitat conditions, but if you know what you're doing, you can grow one under a controlled environment.

And that's exactly what Derek Hulme, the man who grew the longest leek on the planet, did.

A Leek In The Competition Results

Derek Hulme is not a mad scientist who altered the genetic composition of a leek to have it reach such a record-breaking length. Instead, he used his more than 35 years of gardening experience in order to grow the lengthy veggie.

In fact, this was not his first attempt at growing such a vegetable. The enthusiastic gardener said that he used to work with other giant vegetable growers back in 2019 to attempt to make the first world record for the longest leek.

The first attempt involved 30 packs of Bulgarian long leek seeds, but alas, it just was not his year. Hulme continued to pursue the world record and discovered that 2019 might not be his year, but 2022 definitely was.

Recognized at the annual Canna UK Giant Vegetable Championships 2022 held at the Three Counties Showground, Derek Hulme's 4 feet and 8.3-inch long leek stunned visitors and judges alike.

The homegrown leek broke the previous record held by another British CANNA UK competitor and multiple-world record holder Joe Atherton.

The average length of a leek is just around a foot long. Comparing and measuring record-breaking long leeks might require multiple verifications from the event's officials. The competition was close, but at the end of the 2022 championships, Hulme's leek was confirmed to be 3 inches longer than the previous record.

An inside look at the happenings inside the CANNA UK Giant Vegetables competition.

Leaking The Secret Behind The Longest Leek

Derek Hulme might be an amateur gardener, but he has decades-long experience in growing fruits and vegetables. He revealed that using polytunnels to grow leeks truly helped him to grow the veggies to more than 400% of the average length.

Small polytunnel

Hulme said that the polytunnels he used helped him extend the growing season of the leeks due to the controlled environment inside the area. The tunnels also helped him significantly reduce the pest that can damage the plants.

However, polytunnels are not the only secret to Hulme's success. He claims that the growing process also required much care and patience for the plants. And at the end of the day, he was growing the leeks because he had the world record in mind.

"I have just recently got into growing some giant veggies, but it's been my boyhood dream to hold a world record," he told Guinness World Records.

A Leek In The World Records

It might not be on everyone's to-do list, but world records have continued to inspire people from all over the world to achieve incredible feats worth the world's recognition.

Giant cabbages

A lot of amateur and competitive gardeners like Derek Hulme compete in the annual CANNA UK Giant Vegetables Championships because the event allows them to have an official record and be acknowledged by people in their community.

The championships held annually always have their records updated too. Entries for celery, leek, parsnip, and cabbage are often record-breaking vegetables in the CANNA UK.

For many people who want to achieve world records, Derek Hulme can be a shining inspiration.

He has been gardening all his life and has competed multiple times in different competitions in order to support the gardening community. He might not have imagined a leek world record in his youth, but his niche ultimately led him to achieve his childhood dream.

In an interview with, Hulme emphasized that persistence and having a clear goal is the secret to his success.

"It's every little boy's dream to be a world record holder, and at the age of 61, I've finally done it." Inspiring!


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