How to grow the world’s heaviest carrot

By Rachel Swatman
Heaviest carrot header

Giant veg gardener Christopher Qualley of Otsego, Minnesota, USA manged to grow a record-smashing carrot the second time he ever attempted to grow one.

Weighing in at a whopping 10.17 kg (22.44 lb), we officially crowned it the world’s Heaviest carrot earlier this week.

Heaviest carrot next to a can

We caught up with the father-of-three (soon to be four) to find out how he managed to grow such an impressive vegetable.

Did you set out to grow the world’s heaviest carrot?

“Yes – that was my goal.  I think everyone that grows giant fruits and veggies has a dream in the back of their mind to set a world record and I was lucky enough to have a dream come true.”

Growing the heaviest carrot

Do you have any top tips for growing giant vegetables?

“I am relatively new to this hobby and my strategy was to imitate what all of the experienced growers across the world were doing. The number one thing that every single top grower says is that your soil is the most important thing, so that is what I focused on.  Without the proper soil your giants will never reach their potential.

“I know it’s not the sexy answer that most people want to hear.  Most people want you to tell them to dump nuclear waste on them to get them to grow so big, but it’s not the case.  Soil, seed, weather and a little luck are the most important things in my book.”

Chris's daughters holding the record-breaking carrot

Did you eat the carrot afterwards?

“No! Although my mother in law did take a bite of it. Her claim to fame is that she is the only person in the world to actually eat a piece of the world record carrot. 

“You could eat the carrot if you wanted to, but I replanted it in the hope that it will go to seed. Carrots are a biennial plant, meaning they only go to seed every other year. If it does goes to seed I can distribute the seeds from the carrot to other giant growers across the world in the hope that we can grow an even bigger carrot.”

How does it feel to be a Guinness World Records title holder?

“Pretty awesome.  I never thought that I would actually grow the biggest carrot in the world even though it was my goal.  I didn’t even start 'regular' gardening until three years ago and started with giants two years ago.  A lot of people will try their entire life to get a world record and I got one my second year growing giants. There are a lot of growers out there that are much more knowledgeable and experienced at this than me, I just got lucky.”

Do you have any plans to break more records in the future?

“Pumpkins or tomatoes are my two favourite things to grow and I would love a world record in either of those.  I feel I have what it takes right now to potentially grow a world record tomato.  This year I weighed a 7.07lb tomato which is about 1.5lbs less than the world record.  There have only been about 10 to 15 tomatoes over 7lbs grown in the world so I know I am in the ball park for that record.

“I would also love to grow a world record pumpkin, but I will need to make some upgrades to my garden.  It is a very competitive sport believe it or not!  I have to compete with some of the best growers in the world like the Paton brothers, Mathias Willemijms and Ron Wallace.”

Chris hopes to grow the world's heaviest pumpkin one day

The current record for the Heaviest pumpkin is held by Mathias Willemijms from Belgium and stands at 1,190.49 kg (2,624.6 lb).

Chris’s carrot record was flagged to Guinness World Records by Ian Paton, the president of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth. While the GPC does not yet monitor records for carrots itself, Ian Paton confirmed that the carrot was weighed using the same guidelines that are used for other GPC vegetable records.

Heaviest carrot Chris

Giant carrots generally develop secondary roots that grow out of the main central root, which is what makes them so large. However, to get the record, no sticks, dirt or stones can be included in measuring or weighing. 

Previously the heaviest carrot was 9.1 kg (20.1 lb) and was grown by Peter Glazebrook (UK), as verified at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show on 12 September 2014.