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 Monday, 20 January, 2003, 09:07 GMT
Boy grows British pineapple
Ben Duckworth
It took Ben six years to grow his pineapple
A green-fingered schoolboy has confounded the British weather by growing a pineapple from the spiky top of a supermarket fruit.

Ben Duckworth, 11, from Newark, Nottinghamshire planted the cutting when he was just five.

After a patient wait of six years, Ben's pineapple has finally produced its first fruit.

"I was overjoyed - I noticed it when I was pruning it and trimming it.

Fear of frost

"I ran through the house telling everyone, saying: 'My pineapple has got a pineapple on it.'"

Ben's grandfather Paul Newstead says he is amazed that his grandson has managed to get a fruit from a tropical plant that is used to baking hot sun.

pineapple
Pineapples are grown mainly in Hawaii and Ivory Coast

"I couldn't believe it. I have read a little about the difficulty of growing pineapples and I am sure we are lucky to have done it."

Ben's achievement has earned him praise from Kew Gardens in London, the home of Britain's best collection of tropical plants.

Ben, who wants to manage a garden centre when he is older, added: "I'm the only person I know who has grown a pineapple."

Ben has now moved his pineapple inside to escape the frost.

Major pineapple producing areas include Hawaii, Brazil, Malaysia, Philippines and the Ivory Coast.

More than 10 million tons of pineapples are produced each year.

The Kew Gardens website gives some advice on growing pineapples, saying they should be planted in well-drained compost and kept warm and protected from draughts.


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