Giant Veg: Class of 2019 with AutoPot

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Like Godzilla, Tom Hanks and an expanding universe we, at AutoPot, are all about making it BIG.

But we don’t need nuclear fallout, fairground attractions or a singularity to inspire the horticultural innovation that allows our growers to raise giant vegetables. We have NVS Giant Veg Champion and AutoPot grower Dale Toten. 

L+R – Before and after the eviction of Dale’s NVS Giant Veg Prize Winning Giant Squash revealing the extent of the irrigation provided by AQUAbox Spyders

Last we spoke of Dale he was teetering under the immense combined weight of giant veg and giant veg awards on his victorious return from the NVS Autumn Show at Malvern. Notwithstanding the giganticity (not a real word) of the veg and inedibility of awards Dale remained hungry for more of both. How would he satisfy that hunger in 2019? A combination of new techniques, new crops and new AutoPot technology are already aligning to create some truly wonderful giant and non-giant prospects for the coming months.

Dale’s 2018 World Record Breaking Chilli Pepper which he hopes to match with a WR Bell Pepper in 2019

Superb as it is, Dale has decided that his 2018 Chilli Pepper World Record gong is looking lonesome. Thus he is targeting the Bell Pepper World Record to go with. Bell peppers are well underway in a raised bed at Ston Easton Hall Kitchen Gardens. This bed was specially prepared over the winter with a crop of rye grass and plenty of vetch green manure. Once cleared the soil was mulched with Mills Coco, fitted out with AutoPot AQUAbox Spyders and planted up. 

The WR Bell Pepper attempt will take place in the hallowed ground that held last years squash – specially prepared for the peppers in 2019

Thanks to the AQUAvalve in each AQUAbox Spyder, the bell peppers will receive truly responsive irrigation and feeding. Other systems, often relying on pumps, supply water and nutrients uniformly over a given area. This creates a problem if different plants within the same bed require differing amounts of water at any given time. The power-free, pump-free, gravity-fed Spyder has twelve strips of capillary matting running outwards from the central AQUAbox. Each strip draws water from the AQUAvalve in the AQUAbox only as required by the section of the bed that it is supplying. It was these very same devices that propelled Dale’s Malvern Show Giant Veg winning Giant Squash to glory by responsively feeding the plants 500sq ft root zone exactly as and when required.

Dale gets to grips with PlantSkirt

Elsewhere in the greenhouse Dale’s looking to produce a Cantaloupe with which you can’t elope. We certainly wouldn’t bet against him achieving that goal with 2019’s giant melon crop of choice. He has two plants, each ensconced in a 100 litre fabric SmartPot with the pots stood in large, open garden trays. These are being irrigated by easy2GO Kits and ably defended by AutoPot PlantSkirt. The PlantSkirt is a light-tight, heat-reflective shield that protects nutrient solution and substrate from temperature fluctuation, algae and debris when growing in large open trays. Paired with the easy2GO Kit it provides a solution for growing even the largest of plants. Look out for forthcoming news of the PlantSkirt’s imminent retail release. Dale is misting with beneficials to help encourage strong rooting, essential for his U.K. Record tilt.

Cucumbers and Red Star Melon in Auto9 XL SmartPot.

In what might reasonably be described as the most refreshing growing arrangement conceivable Dale has eight cucumbers growing on the outside of an Auto9 XL SmartPot, and a Red Star watermelon (not a giant) in the middle pot to ramble out. All this in lovely Mills Ultimate Soil with Ecothrive Charge. The cukes will be grown up twine angled away from the centre so he should be able to walk around and pick fruit hanging towards him. This also gives the plants more room to grow. To keep things squeaky clean he’ll also be cultivating his exquisite, signature loofahs in XL modules, at least a dozen of them. 

Keep on top of developments both here and @dale_toten on Insta!

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