Kevin Fortey, from Cwmbran, known as Mr Giant Veg, has entered into an attempt to grow the largest Tomatillo plant.

The current Guinness World Record for the tallest tomatillo plant measures 3 m (9 ft 10 in), and was grown by John-John Pegram (USA) in Petersburg, Virginia, USA, as verified on 21 November 2018.

At the UK Giant Vegetable Championships at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Mr Fortey took up his latest tomatillo plant, which was officially measured and recorded at 3.529m or 11ft 6.937 inches.

Mr Fortey said: “In 2019 I was given seeds from Baker Creek following a visit to a Mexican growing community in California. I planted these seeds with the aim of challenging the record in 2022. The plants grow better in warmer climates, but we failed to get it to the required three metres.

“This year, we perfected our growing using a range of feeds from Plant Magic and our own Compost Tea with mycorgiantveg for the root development. We grew the plant inside the Keder Greenhouse and over the past week have needed to keep the heat on in the greenhouse due to the cold snap.”

They managed to get the massive plant to the showground in one piece, but did have to call on the help of a neighbour.

Tomatillos originated in Mexico and were cultivated in the pre-Columbian era. They are a key ingredient of Mexican cuisine and are commonly eaten raw or cooked in a variety of dishes, including salsa verde.

They also have a range of uses, including in stews, soups, salads, curries, stir fries and dressings. Mr Fortey says he plans to add tomatillos and other new fruits into his dishes and sauces in the coming weeks.

The official record is subject to ratification from the Guiness World Records, and Mr Fortey expects it to be confirmed by Sunday.

“This will be our family’s 9th Guinness World Record and is a very proud moment for all of us,” he said. “It’s in our blood, as our dad started off the National Vegetable Growing Championships years ago, and it’s great to see it growing each year.”

The Fortey family already has big plans for 2024, including aiming to round their record haul up to ten.

The family have seven Guiness World Records for giant veg including sunflowers, potato plants and cantaloupe.

Some of the other records the family have broken include: largest sunflower head twice, tallest potato plant and heaviest cantaloupe.

In the meantime, they will continue to engage with growers at the show and in their online Giant Vegetable Community on Facebook.