– Hello and a very warm
welcome back to HuwsNursery. Now, about a year ago,
I made a video called Growing Potatoes the Lazy Way, which is where you had a site like this, you put the soil, you
literally placed the potatoes on top of the soil and
then you put a load of hay or straw over the top. And, that’s been really
successful, over 600,000 views. But it has sparked many questions and queries and comments. So, I decided that it would be a good idea to do a frequently asked question video based on Growing Potatoes the Lazy Way, ’cause there’s a few
things I want to clear up and there’s also some
comments that I’ve seen come on time and time again. So, I’d like to answer those and hopefully this’ll be useful. So, I’ve got about eight
different questions that I’ve picked out. The first one is, “Should you use straw “instead of hay because of grass seed?” Now, this is a really valid question because with hay, especially
if you cut it late after the wildflowers have seeded, yes, you will have seed in the mixture. Now, we’re using hay quite a lot here in the vegetable garden,
basically as a mulch. And the thing is, if
you use hay as a mulch, it’s fine as long as you don’t then expose the bare soil afterwards. So, what we’re doing
especially with our brassicas or broad beans, we’re
putting on a lot of hay and with our broad beans for example, we’ve only had to put
on two mulches so far and it’s taken a long time
for any weeds to grow through. And just as long as you continue applying the hay on top of the ground, this’ll break down but then the new hay will stop all the weeds growing through. So, when we’re growing potatoes, yes, I can see a couple of weeds but we’re honestly not
bothered about that. We’ll just let the hay rot down like this and then we’ll just
place another load on top and then over the years,
this is just going to build organic matter and fertility. But if you can, use straw that’s fine and that’s only if you want to then have bare ground to grow
in the following year. The next question, this
came up quite a lot. “I noticed that when you
uncover the potatoes, “some look green. “We’re some green due to shallow planting “and the light coming through the straw? “I’m really interested in doing this, “but I discard green potatoes.” Yes, again another very valid point. It was an experiment, I
did admit in the video that it was an experiment. What we found was that
unfortunately the light of the video was quite interestingly, it made some of the potatoes appear green when actually they weren’t. Out of the batch of
potatoes which were green, I think about three had spots of green and that’s what we get in
the usual potato harvest. However, we have learned from that and all I recommend you do
again, just like last comment is to make sure that
you place another layer of grass, or hay, or straw over the top. So, keep on building it
up so there’s less chance for the sunlight to hit the
potato and turn them green. And, make sure you don’t
eat green potatoes, however, you do need to have excess before there’s any health problems. “How much time does it take until harvest? “And how often do you have to water them?” So, I’ll answer the first question first. Depends what you’re growing. If you’re growing first earlies, it can be 10, 12 weeks
before you harvest them. With second earlies, it’s
probably about 12 to 14 weeks. A good rule of thumb is to
wait until we can see flowers, so you might be able to see
a couple of flowers here, that’s kind of a good signal to say, okay, you can start harvesting now. Yes, you can harvest some earlier but they will just be smaller, or you can leave them longer
and they’ll be bigger. But anytime around flowering,
then you can harvest them. Now, the second part of that question was, how often do you have to water them? In my life of growing potatoes, I don’t remember watering once. That’s usually because
potatoes can cope quite well in dry conditions. Also, in Wales we do get
a fair amount of rain. And also now, because of the mulch, that’s retaining the
moisture so we don’t actually need to water it very often. Well, you don’t need to
water it all in fact. So, that’s one of the great
things about growing potatoes, is that we don’t need to water them ever and that saves us a lot of time. And from a single tuber you can get a huge harvest from them. Now, there is this discussion thinking that yeah, you don’t have to grow potatoes because they’re actually
really, really cheap to buy in supermarkets and
it’s completely your choice with what you want to grow. The next question is,
“Can you use old leaves “instead of straw?” Yes, I’m pretty sure
you can give that a try. Again, it’s all an experiment. We were just going for it with hay and we’re really pleased with the results because it was so simple to do. We’ve got another right
in front of me here, we’ve got another bed we’re
growing it the lazy way. And, I’m sure you can use old leaves. The thing about leaves is
that they can blow away, really easily, so you might
have to pile on quite a lot and see how that goes. Because with the hay,
yes, it can be blown away but as soon as you’ve had one rainfall for example, in growing
the potatoes the lazy way, we did water them in right at the start just to make sure that
the hay was compacted and then it won’t blow away. With the leaves, yeah, you
might want to give it a water or you might want to layer
some different organic materials so it’s almost creating compost on top of the potatoes as their growing, so it’s also feeding the soil that way. So, give it a go and
let me know how it goes. This is a funny question,
“Does anyone count “how many times he’s said potatoes?” Yup, I counted it and in
that video I said potatoes 21 times and to be honest
I was expecting more. “Where did the green potato stems go?” Yes, this is a very, very common question, because it showed B-roll
footage or the stock footage of the potatoes growing and then when it came to harvesting them, the stems had disappeared and people saying that I’d faked it. And it was quite funny, there
was some farmer who said, “I know it when someone
is trying to have me on.” Honestly, I didn’t fake it at all, because the potatoes were quite
well placed in the ground, for starters and it was the same bed. We get a problem with blight here, so, that was something I didn’t explain in the Growing Potatoes
the Lazy Way video. Unfortunately, we get
blight quite early on, so, to save our potatoes,
we take off the stems. So, if notice blight at the
top, we’ll just cut it back. But then, when blight really does strike, we’ll just cut the stems off so that means that it doesn’t, the disease
doesn’t travel into the tubers. So, that’s why and that’s
where all the green stems went. But, next year we’re looking at a potential couple of
different potato varieties which are blight resistant and organic, so that should be exciting. “What about hilling or earthing up?” Hilling and earthing up
does increase productivity. We still use that when we’re
using the traditional way of growing potatoes. We’ll still hill them up using a rake and that just creates more
space to grow more potatoes. When you’re looking at first
earlies or new potatoes you don’t have to hill them up and growing it the lazy
way, it is just that, it is a lazy way, it was an experiment and we were really
pleased with the results. So, you can hill or earth up. You can maybe take away
the straw, hill it up a bit and then put the straw
or hay back over the top but again, it’s all down
to personal preference. There’s no right or wrong,
it’s completely your choice. And the final question is, “What was the other way
of growing potatoes?” ‘Cause it seems that
there’s quite a few people in the world’s actually
already using the method of growing the method of
growing potatoes the lazy way. The traditional, conventional
vegetable gardening method is where you dig trenches
about a foot deep or 30 centimetres deep
and then you line it with compost or maybe
some well-watered manure and then you plant the potatoes there. And then you cover the soil back in and then you earth up from there. The growing the potatoes
the lazy way is a method of growing potatoes where you
don’t have to do any digging at all, apart from perhaps using a fork right at the end to harvest them. So, again, it’s just a very different way of growing potatoes, but we
you use both methods here. And, it’s all down to how
much effort you want to put in and also how much you want to get out because most likely, growing potatoes the traditional way of
trenches and then earthing up will give you higher yields, so it’s all down to personal choice. Anyway, I hope this video has answered the frequently asked questions and has given you a better understanding a bit more in-depth. And, I felt it was needed and let me know what you thought about
this kind of video format. I haven’t really done something like this for years, in terms of
answering lots of questions. So, I think I might
bring this in a bit more because I love seeing your questions but I can’t answer all of
them because it would be, it would take up a lot of time which unfortunately I don’t have. So, thank you very much for watching. Don’t forget to give this a thumbs up and stay tuned for some more videos teaching you how to grow your own food, inexpensively at home. (upbeat guitar playing)