New York state gardener/farmer Jesse Eldrid specializes in growing
heavy, tall, and large vegetables and annual plants. On October 25th, 2007, after a long summer of working, watching, and waiting, he finally contacted county officials in order to obtain a legitimate measurement of the Amaranthus Australis plant he had been growing
since the beginning of the year. When Jesse contacted the local bureau of weights and measures, he knew that he had a record-breaking plant -- but he didn't know that his plant would be almost twelve feet (11.98) taller than the the goal he had set for himself in the existing record: the official measurement of the plant, he would learn that afternoon, was 27'10".
In the early spring
months of 2007, Jesse received several amaranth seeds
from the USDA NCRPIS (United States Department of Agriculture, North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station). Although one wouldn't think it from the size of the mature plant, Amaranthus seeds
themselves are actually quite small (smaller than the head of a pin.) Germinating them was fairly difficult, however. Once he managed to get a handful of young plants growing
well, he knew one of them was destined to be huge. On May 15th, when Jesse transplanted the young seedlings
outside, they started growing
rapidly. The plant that grew the fastest also happened to have the largest trunk (measuring almost five feet around) which may have helped the plant grow significantly taller than normal. (An average "trunk" would have a five to eight inch circumference.)
As the temperatures rose
, the plant grew faster and faster. Competition, too, was on the rise. In spring
, Jesse shared a small number of cuttings among friends, and their plants had begun to take on considerable height at around this time, as well. As it turned out, many of these cuttings exceeded the 15' benchmark, some even stretched to 20+ feet.
In the early autumn, near the end of the amaranth's life cycle, Jesse's record-breaking plant was still growing
several feet per day. Just before the official measurement, the plant also began producing flowers
which also contributed to the overall height of the amaranth. Another factor contributing to the overwhelming size of the plant was the amount of water it received per day -- approximately 30 gallons per plant, per day.
In order to give the plant extra support (and to determine the benchmark for the old record) Jesse built a fifteen foot tall trellis for the amaranth. It didn't take long for the plant to outgrow it, though. By the middle of August, it was no longer possible to measure the plant with a ladder alone. (For the official measurement in October, professional arborists were called in, and a bucket-truck was necessary to get a measurement from the very top of the plant.)
Jesse Eldrid has been growing
unusual plants for many years, and gardening is a life-long obsession for him. In the future, he plans on challenging the millet, sorghum, and historic corn records (for height.) He also intends, one day, to beat his own amaranth record. By growing
crops such as these, Jesse hopes to raise awareness about the natural world and the potential for alternative energy.
Sorry folks It's not bad sportsmanship. It is a long story. It comes down to who grew the bigger plant, not who brought in the bigger media or the better cameras. It's about gardening.
I had twelve plants over 23' tall. Most of Brian's plants were *clones* of my certified 27'10" plant. He has left that information out of all of his articles, and posted up elsewhere that my plant is a "bigfoot" type of claim. Not only does he know better -- but he should have *acted* better, too. It's a much longer story than this, and it would probably make a good book. Maybe Brian would be interested in helping me write it??