Having set a Guinness record last year by growing 839 tomatoes on a single stem, British gardener Douglas Smith shattered his own record with an astounding 1,269 cherry tomatoes.
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Tomatoes on the vine
Credit: Joanna McCarthy / Getty Images

When the Guinness World Record for the most tomatoes that were grown on a single stem was established in 1997, the winning entry had 121 tomatoes. In 2010, Englishman Graham Tranter broke that record with a whopping 488 tomatoes on one stem, which seemed absolutely unassailable—and it was, until last fall when Douglas Smith grew a plant with 839 cherry tomatoes.  

But just a few weeks later, Smith found one stem that had a jaw-dropping 1,269 cherry tomatoes on it. His amateur gardening achievement was recently certified by Guinness, making him a two-time record-setter in that particular category. (The organization said that an independent horticulturist was tasked with counting all of those tiny tomatoes.) 

"After breaking the UK record for the largest tomato in the UK in 2020, with a 3.1 kilogram (6.85lb) tomato, I sought a new challenge for 2021," he told Guinness, when he applied for this record. (The Guinness record for the largest tomato in the world is held by Dan Sutherland of Walla Walla, Washington, who grew a 10 pound, 12.7 ounce 'mater in July 2020.) . 

"A new Guinness World Record," Smith tweeted in March. "Delighted to announce that my record 1,269 tomatoes on a single truss has just been approved. It breaks my own record of 839 from last year." 

This doesn't happen by chance: Smith, who works full time as an IT professional in England, is serious about setting records. He has studied scientific papers in order to better his growing methods, and he has sent his own soil samples to a lab for further analysis. 

"It all starts with the variety selection," he told the Washington Post. "The second step is the environment. You can manipulate the temperature of things like the air and the soil. You're using all these little bits of knowledge just to kind of make them grow bigger, better, and more of them."

His diligence has also paid off for his friends and family, who have gotten more cherry tomatoes than they can eat. And now that he's set two tomato-related records, Smith is shifting his attention to growing the world's heaviest potato, and the world's heaviest eggplant. And hopefully, his attempt at the Heavy Potato record goes more smoothly than Colin and Donna Craig-Brown's did. The New Zealand couple unearthed a 17.2 pound potato in their garden last summer, but a DNA test—yes, you read that right—determined that the massive tuber wasn't a potato, but a big gourd.

Regardless, we hope Smith's mates enjoy French fries and eggplant parmigiana, because chances are, they're going to be getting a lot of oversized donations.