Huw Richards

Gardening Zone: UK (US Zone 8)
Welcome to the dynamic world of Huw Richards, a vibrant force in sustainable gardening. With his youthful energy and commitment to organic practices, Huw has become a beacon for the modern gardening movement. Explore Huw's journey, where his passion for plants and dedication to eco-friendly methods shine through every project.

I started gardening at the age of 3 thanks to growing up on a homestead in Wales, UK, with my family. At the age of 12, I began my YouTube channel, which now has over 750,000 subscribers, and focuses on teaching people how to grow their own food at home. When I’m not filming or gardening, I’m usually writing my next gardening book, with book #4 coming out in Spring 2024.

My passion is creating highly-productive gardens that work in harmony with nature, following permaculture design principles to make them as sustainable and resilient as possible. The majority of my growing follows no-till methods, and I love to integrate beneficial-insect plantings within my vegetable beds to create a colorful, thriving garden.
Dive into Huw's world of gardening expertise. From his innovative approach to permaculture to creating self-sustaining ecosystems, Huw exemplifies gardening excellence. Discover his unique techniques that make gardening accessible and enjoyable for all, and witness how his sustainable practices positively impact the environment.
How do you prioritize sustainability in your gardening practices?

My main priority has to be the health of the soil, and I do that by ensuring I add organic matter in the form of compost on a yearly basis. A healthy soil full of life is the most important factor for a resilient garden, thus increasing the sustainability of the garden. Healthy soil can better deal with droughts for example, by reducing the need to water.

Another aspect of prioritizing sustainability is choosing high-quality gardening tools and accessories that are built to last. I would much rather have one fork that lasts 30 years, than having to buy a new fork every 3 years.

A core priority for me in ensuring my gardening practices are as sustainable as possible is utilizing as many free local resources as possible. In my area, this includes seaweed, woodchips, coffee grounds, and food waste from businesses that I can turn into compost to then grow incredible vegetables.

What are your top tips for creating a sustainable garden?

My 3 tips for creating a sustainable garden are as follows:
1 - Create as much water storage as possible so if droughts occur, you have an emergency supply
2 - Become an expert in understanding what local resources are available to you to use in the garden
3 - Swap seeds and plants with other local gardeners to increase local resilience and build a strong community. Community is key to sustainability.

What inspired you to use Vego Garden raised beds for your garden?

As a keen advocate of high-quality gardening items, choosing to use Vego Garden raised beds was an easy decision. Their build quality is fantastic, with 100% non-toxic materials, and the fact that an entire raised bed fits in a cardboard box means it is very easy to transport. Another factor for choosing Vego Garden raised beds is their aesthetic. They are very smart, and have multiple color options (pearl white is my favorite), and bring a modern style to the garden.

Share some specific tips and plant recommendations for your USDA hardiness zone

Although I am in the UK, my USDA hardiness zone translates to zone 8. My top recommendation however for any gardener is to find your local average first and last frost date, as this dictates the length of growing season you have for tender crops. For Zone 8, my top tips would be to have some kind of undercover seed starting area to allow you to get a head start on tender crops like tomatoes, chilies, and eggplants, well before the last frost, otherwise, it’ll be too late! Another tip is due to the winters not being incredibly cold, allocate a greater proportion of your garden to growing winter crops like leeks, parsnip, rutabaga, kale, cabbage, and sunchokes. This is because these crops can stay outdoors all winter and you can harvest them as and when needed - saving you time having to preserve as much for winter!

How do you incorporate sustainable materials into your raised bed gardening setup?

Not sure I understand this sorry!

Have you implemented any eco-friendly pest control methods in your gardening? If so, what are they? (The last question would also tie into this answer too)

The most important pest control method I use is prioritizing diversity in my garden. By this, I mean diversity not just in the type of plants I grow, but attracting as much diversity in terms of the insects I can attract. My goal as an organic gardener is to make my garden a home for beneficial insects, and I use a wide variety of flowers to recruit these to become my natural pest control battalion.

It is vital that your garden has a little pest damage here and there, this ensures you maintain healthy populations of predator insects, as well as encourage a balanced but thriving ecosystem. Lacewing and hoverfly larvae are all consumers of pests such as aphids, caterpillars, and thrips. Ladybug larvae and parasitic wasps do an excellent job of targeting numerous pests too. The best flowers I can recommend growing for attracting a range of beneficial insects to your garden include dill, cilantro, borage, calendula, chives, angelica, fennel, and lavender.

How do you promote biodiversity in your garden and create a thriving ecosystem?

See above

Huw Richards's Story & Advice

At the age of 12, Huw started a YouTube channel to share his gardening experiences, aiming to inspire more people to enjoy the benefits of homegrown produce. With over 17 years of experience, his channel has garnered over 85 million views, specializing in organic and permaculture principles. His gardening ethos is rooted in sustainability and self-sufficiency, reflecting his upbringing on a smallholding in Wales.

He is not only a popular online personality but also an author and educator. He has written books like "Veg in One Bed" (2019) and "Grow Food For Free" (2020). Additionally, he has launched Abundance Academy, offering online courses on garden productivity citation:7, The Vegetable Grower's Handbook: Unearth Your Garden's Full Potential.

Any gardening tips or advice Huw is known for or would like to share, especially those that align with his approach and expertise in sustainable and organic gardening.
A Quick Harvest
For beginner gardeners, my first piece of advice would be to get that first harvest under your belt as soon as possible. As soon as you’ve eaten that first harvest, the confidence and excitement that comes with that is palpable. A quick harvest could be growing pea shoots on your indoor windowsill in a little compost, or perhaps fast growing crops like lettuce, pak choi, or radish.
Focus on Growing
Once you have that first harvest, focus on growing just a few crops in your first season. These should be crops you already love; think potatoes, onions, tomatoes, strawberries. Choose 5-7 different key crops and see what happens! The goal is to be shocked by just how tasty a homegrown tomato is versus a store-bought one that you can’t wait to grow even more next year!
Add Organic Matter
Another tip is to focus on adding as much organic matter to your soil as possible. This helps not only improve water retention in dry climates, but improves drainage in wet ones. Organic matter also is full of nutrients, as well as carbon which is essential for healthy soil life (think microbes and fungi). There are many ways to increase the organic matter content of your soil; compost, mulches, chop and drop, biochar, and trench composting to name a few.
Grow Self-seeders Crops
One of the best ways to save money is to grow crops that are avid self-seeders. Tomatoes, annual herbs (dill, cilantro,etc), annual flowers (nasturtiums, borage calendula), amaranth, and salads (mustard, lettuce, etc) are a few good ones to allow to run to seed. The next growing season when all the volunteer seedlings pop up, gently lift and relocate around the garden, or pot them up to swap with gardeners for other plants.
Vego garden beds
My gardening motto is ‘be curious’. Curiosity is perhaps the most powerful mental tool for growing your own. I’ve always seen a garden as a blank canvas, and a gardener as the artist. The trick is to create a garden where it is an extension of your personality. What are your favorite flavors, colors, seasons, etc? What new things would you like to try? Follow your curiosity and see where it leads you!
- Huw Richards
Ready to grow your garden into a flourishing reality with Huw Richards? Connect below to embark on a wondrous gardening journey or find out more about their extraordinary expertise that can bring your vision to life.
Vego garden beds
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