Photo: Toni Velardo and his wife Lucia in their greenhouse with the bean that has been growing at a rate of two inches a day / The Argus photo
Toni about his Spaghetti Bean: “They’re fantastic for eating. They’ve got no strings and they’re soft. You don't need to cut off the ends like English runner beans.”
The builder and decorator bought the unusual spaghetti bean seeds in their native Italy where they are a common addition to hanging baskets and salads.
The beans thrived in his greenhouse, growing at an incredible two inches a day.
He said: “We first tried them about five years ago in the allotment but they kept growing along the ground instead of up. “I had a feeling they needed a hotter environment, so I planted about half a dozen seeds in the greenhouse. Normally my wife cuts them before they get too big. I think this one was hiding behind the leaves so it got the chance to grow longer.”
The current record for a green bean is 48in or 4ft. The spaghetti strain has been accepted as a different species.
Barry Newman, chairman of the the National Vegetable Society in the South, said: “There are about 20 varieties of bean. The so-called ‘green bean’ is an Americanism which probably refers to the flat French bean. The spaghetti bean is something quite different, it has a long bean with a rounded pencil pod. “Even the spaghetti bean pods do not normally grow longer than 12in or 13in so I wish Toni the best of luck.”
Toni Velardo grows a wide variety of organic fruit and vegetables including peaches, lemons, chilli peppers and four varieties of tomato. He said: “We have to buy things from the supermarket occasionally but we try to grow everything.” He puts his bean’s prodigious growth down to warmth and a lot of luck. He said: “There’s no secrets and anybody can grow them.”