Man grows UK’s longest chilli pepper at half a metre as he celebrates new record

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Graham Barratt, 62, watched as one growing chilli excelled, but never expected it would break the UK record for the longest ever chilli pepper, reaching a length of 45.7cm

A gardener has grown the UK’s longest chilli pepper, coming in at nearly half a metre long, after tending it almost every day this year.

Graham Barratt, 62, planted the seeds at his allotment in January.

He watched as one particular chilli excelled – but never expected it would break the UK record for the longest ever chilli pepper, reaching a length of 45.7cm.

The grandfather-of-five beat the previous British record by a whole centimetre.

But he won’t be serving the pepper up – instead he’s going to put it in a display case and give it pride of place on the wall at his allotment.

Retired Graham from Abbeydale, Gloucester, said: “I was so excited when I learnt I had broken the record.

“I have won prizes for giant vegetables before, but it’s my first record.

“Growing giant vegetables sounds so easy but there are so many factors – the right seeds and weather, but also the right care so they grow the best.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s what I love to do, and it’s very rewarding when you achieve something like this.

“I certainly won’t be eating the chilli – it’s being dried out to go in a display case on the wall of the allotment, so everyone can see it!”

The grandfather, who lives with wife Jill, 66, planted the winning seeds in January at his nearby allotment after selecting them from a good crop three years back.

He tended to the chillies, along with his other giant vegetables, almost every day.

He explained: “It’s a very meticulous process to successfully grow giant vegetables.

“You need to consider what to feed them, what to spray them with, how to prevent infestations, how to protect them from bad weather and so on.

“Growing them really feels like being an expectant father at times – they are like your children.”

He measured the big chilli regularly and when it stopped growing he picked it and contacted a giant vegetable official judge who measured it on July 29.

Ordinarily he would have entered it into a local show, but if he waited until mid-September, it would have shrivelled up.

After a few months on display, he’ll harvest the record-breaking chilli’s seeds to use them to try and break his own record next year.

He added: “I already have a few ideas up my sleeve for how I can improve on my record next year!”