Growing Potatoes the Lazy Way FAQs

– 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)

36 Replies to “Growing Potatoes the Lazy Way FAQs”

  1. Hi, I just want to share that I have very successfully grown potatoes in old leaves. I live in the US in zone 9a, we have high humidity levels here and potatoes are subject to rot. One experiment that I did was to dig a shallow trench, laid newspaper down, place my potatoes starts and then cover with leaves. As the plants grew I added additional leaves. When they began to bloom, I was able to push back the leaf mulch and harvest the larger potatoes leaving the smaller ones to continue growing. Also, I have to disclose that our whole geographical area is densely populated with several varieties of oak trees, so the leaves are very plentiful. This worked so well it has become my favorite method for growing potatoes.

  2. You did great buddy! I like the FAQ, straight forward approach to clear up some common questions. I'm currently doing a potato experiment as well in a stacking Greenstalk Garden vertical growing system. I love the garden experiments!

  3. I'm new to gardening, Great content! I just have been regrowing stuff from the market. I just stuck an old carrot into the soil and watered it. It's growing! So are my green onions, leak, and yellow onion. Potatoes are next 🤗

  4. Loved the video! Not everyone would take the time you have to answer these questions. Much appreciated from a newbie potato grower over here! 😉

  5. I always love your videos. Thank you for sharing your method of controlling blight. I had no idea it could be treated by cutting back.

  6. Great video! We live in California and have to deal with constant drought conditions. In our case, how much watering would you recommend? Can I plant potatoes any time of the year here since our winters are so mild? How much sun do potato plants need? I have a place on the side of my house that gets about 2 hours of sun per day. Is that enough? Thank you and keep growing so that we can grow with you. ;–) M

  7. This was my first year growing potatoes, and I did a lazy method with a layer of compost followed by leaves then a layer of grass clippings to help keep the leaves from blowing away. I think I watered once every week until they were established. The potato harvest was excellent, and I'm looking forward to planting another batch on top for an autumn harvest. I was also happy to learn about the blight control method you pointed out – I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it finds my garden.

  8. Here in the states I still have time to grow potatoes before the end of the season. I'm going to try this to see how it works here in Indiana. Fortunately no problems with blight here. Thanks for the posting Huw! This is the best channel.

  9. Your questions format is good Huw. I grow the potatoes in buckets. I saw Patrick Dolan one yard revolution growing in leaves. I practiced the no dig way now for two years using leaves with good success. Interesting video . Thanks for sharing Patrick

  10. Great video.But what happens when there are no potatoes in the Supermarket and you don`t know how to grow your own.Forget the supermarket folks.Keep em coming Huw.

  11. Really useful to hear those answers. Happy to report that I tried your "lazy way" this year and its working a treat. Used straw for first layer (watered in), then topped up with grass clippings. Never watered again and now I'm harvesting the Charlottes, so far they've yielded from 750 to 1200g per plant. I just pull back the straw and there are the potatoes ready to be plucked off the ground. Simplicity itself! No green bits either. Having seen sweetolyve's tip about selecting the big potatoes, I'm going to try that too.

  12. Sounds like a great method for growing potatoes. Like the FAQ format as it answers lots of similar questions and saves you having to repeat yourself. Take care. Nick

  13. i enjoyed this video because you answered people's questions which helped me. thank you, and yes more videos like this one would be good .

  14. Thank you for answering the questions. I do like this format, keep up the good work. I truly appreciate your content and the hope it gives those of us just beginning to garden.

  15. Hat off to you young man for the kind service you are teaching young folks of the world to learn how to grow for themselves. It is very educational, REWARDING and FUN….great form of natural exercise as well….and all of the FRESH AIR you can breathe. You are definitely on the right track my friend. CONGRATULATIONS on all that you do. GOOD JOB!!!
    Orlando, Florida, USA

  16. Watched your video about "growing potatoes the lazy way" and I'm currently growing an experimental bed myself in straw. I'm looking forward to see how many we get and how big they might be. Thanks for the great video and follow-up questions w/answers.

  17. Love the lazy way. I live in Las Vegas and I planted 3 potatoes about 3 weeks ago. I moved all the wood chips aside (@4”) then layer down some compost. Set the potatoes on top then covered with the wood chips. Last weekend I hilled them up with more wood chips. Hoping for a good harvest in a couple of months.

  18. Just a point for those of us who ars older this method us the differences between growing poratoes and not growing poratoes. Aldo it us no dig so the fungal community is not dammaged.

  19. You did a great job and picked the perfect questions to answer. Thank you! We are also trying the Ruth Stout method (or lazy way) for our first time. That was very helpful!


    How often do I water potatoes and garlic here's a link to what they look like I just made a video.

  21. i am experementing too, planting potatoes the easy way, because im a little disabled it lets me garden. so good for people like me to be able to continue gardening.

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