Man Sets World Record with 3-Story Tomato Plant that Yields 400 Pounds of Tomatoes

July 21, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Man grows Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-sized tomato plant using all organic methods!

In 1985, an Alabama man named Charles Wilber set a Guinness World Record with his 28-foot-tall tomato plant, loaded with nearly 400 pounds of tomatoes.

35 years later, no one has beat that record, and  Wilbur has become somewhat of a legend for his giant tomato stalk.

It didn’t reach quite into the clouds, but pretty close, stretching three stories into the air. And its humongous “cherry” tomatoes weighed up to 2.5 pounds each.

Not only were Wilber’s tomato plants enormous in height, they were unbelievably bountiful, with just four plants yielding nearly 1400 pounds of tomatoes one year.

While you might be thinking they were some kind of GMO Franken-plants, they’re weren’t. Wilber’s tomatoes were 100% organic.

And lucky for us, he has written a book revealing all his secrets:

Here are his five main tips:

1. Pinch suckers: Diligently pinching suckers off the tomato plant is Wilber’s number one secret to success.

“Suckers, if allowed to grow, become full-fledged stems, which in turn will send off more suckers, forking again and again,” he writes in his book, How to Grow World Record Tomatoes.

“If these suckers are pinched off, the stem can be trained to grow straight up the cage.”

Like the name suggests, suckers suck energy away from the tomatoes that are already growing off the main branches.

Pinch them off from the crotch – or corner – right between leaf and stem, but not the fruit clusters that grow out directly from the stem, Wilber says.

“If the branch is strong, allow the sucker to grow until a fruit cluster appears, pinching off new suckers,” advises Wilber.

Wilber advises only pinching – not cutting – sucker stems, using fingers or tweezers, so they heal better. It’s important to pinch them before they reach 1.5 inches. If they are allowed to get bigger, pinching can create a wound that bleeds and stresses the plant.

2. Tall cages: Unable to find a tomato cage tall enough for his goals, Wilbur stacked his on top of each other.

As branches grow upward, he recommends loosely tying them to the vertical wires on the outside of the cages (for easy picking) using soft, 3-ply string.

“The plant can climb to the top of the cage and then spill over and come back down, or a second cage can be set atop the first,” says Wilber.

3. Super compost:

Wilber used a precise mixture of green waste – hay, weeds, and grass clippings – along with kitchen scraps and fresh manure.

He recommends the anaerobic method of composting, using air-tight containers, because it preserves 90 percent of the nitrogen. Aerobic composting preserves only 60 percent.

Ideally, the covered compost gets heated up to a steamy 160 degrees – which kills most diseases and weed seeds – by baking in the sun.

4. Clean water: To Wilber, even the type of water you use is important. He prefers rain or pond water to chlorinated and chemically treated city water.

He also says most people underestimate the length of tomato plant roots, which can extend horizontally several feet from the plant and should be watered at a wide circumference.

5. Ground cover: Along with synthetic fertilizer, Wilbur avoided synthetic herbicides. He kept weeds under control by surrounding his tomato plants with tightly packed bales of hay. Another option would be some low-growing perennial flowers, like clover.