Greenhouse fans know the possibilities are endless. If you pay attention to all the details that are important for a successful harvest, you can literally get a lot out of your greenhouse. Nobody knows that better than Patrick Schenk.

Germany’s heaviest tomato…

… weighed a whopping 3.5 kilograms according to the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food. Certainly not a specimen you would use at a cocktail party. But for the gardener Patrick Schenk, the motto is: Challenge accepted! He wants to break the German record and bring Germany’s heaviest tomato to the Harz mountains, where he lives and works in his greenhouse. Whereby “tinkering” is an extreme understatement, because Schenk leaves nothing to chance, the man is a pure perfectionist.

With the toothbrush on the tomato

Growing the heaviest tomato in Germany is not something that can be done half-heartedly. That’s why Schenk relies on precise planning and precise implementation. He constantly monitors the temperature in his greenhouse to make sure the tomatoes are doing really well. The humidity also plays an important role, it must be neither too high nor too low. The same applies to the brightness, which must also be optimally tailored to the tomatoes so that nothing stands in the way of growth. And then there’s the matter of the toothbrush. Schenk uses this to pollinate his XXL tomatoes himself. This seems to work best with an electric toothbrush.

A man aims high

The goal of growing the heaviest tomato in Germany is not the only wish that Patrick Schenk has. He is also proud of his green beans. The plant has already grown over five meters high. The longest bean, says Schenk, is over 80 centimeters long. And there is another magnificent specimen to discover in his garden. The giant pumpkin almost broke the European record after 45 days.

Speaking of tomatoes!

While Patrick Schenk has to grow his tomatoes in a greenhouse, this is not necessary in other areas. However, a few numbers that underline the popularity of the tomato as such are interesting. According to the United Nations, around 150 million tons of tomatoes were grown around the world in 2009 alone. The leading nation is – perhaps a little surprising – China, which alone provided 45 million tons. Directly after China is the USA, which, however, only has 14 million tons.

Normally one would think that Italy would be in the top five as the number 1 tomato nation. But that is not the case. With almost 9 million tons of tomatoes, Italy ranks sixth in the world. However, the Italians remain the frontrunners in the European Union. Because there they are the undisputed number one with their tomato production.

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