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Gourd almighty! Ilford gardener left gobsmacked at stunning size of vast vegetable

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 August 2018

Salma Begum with her giant gourd.

Salma Begum with her giant gourd.

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An amateur gardener from Ilford was left stunned when a gourd she planted two months ago as part of a competition with friends grew to more than four feet.

Salma Begum with her giant gourd.Salma Begum with her giant gourd.

Salma Begum, 53, has grown a plethora of vegetables in her back garden in Balfour Road since moving into the area 10 years ago.

But this week, she got the surprise of her life when she discovered a gourd she had planted in May had grown to an astonishing 50inches - that’s the size of the average seven-year-old child.

Every year Salma and a group of her friends plant the same vegetables in a light-hearted competition to see who can grow the biggest.

While the Recorder is in no position to confirm the winner, we would quite happily put our money on Salma’s effort!

Salma Begum with daughter Masuma Yasmin with her giant gourd.Salma Begum with daughter Masuma Yasmin with her giant gourd.

Salma and her family believe the recent heatwave has created the perfect conditions for the vegetable – which is part of the same family as pumpkins and squash – to grow as large as it has.

Masuma, Salma’s daughter, told the Recorder: “She was really shocked at first when she realised how big it was but now she’s quite proud of it.

“Every year we give our neighbours some of the vegetables we grow so some came to have a look at how big it is – we had a lot of people round yesterday afternoon to see it.

“Now that she’s seen how big this one is she says she’s going to try and top it next year!”

Next door neighbour Hussain Mubeen, who was the first person to have his photograph taken with the giant gourd, told the Recorder he simply couldn’t believe his eyes.

He said: “It is crazy! They couldn’t believe how big it is – it’s got to be seen to be believed.

“With this hot weather at the moment there must be more vegetables like this out there but this has got to be one of the biggest.”

Redbridge has something of a history of producing giant vegetables.

In October 2013, the Recorder reported on an amazing 11-stone pumpkin that had been grown in Hainault, while way back in June 1977 our paper told the incredible story of an amateur Clayhall gardener who succeeded in growing a cabbage more than a yard wide!

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