Move over, Titchmarsh: Why 19 year-old YouTuber Huw Richards is the future of gardening

Green fingered: a screengrab of Huw Richards from one of his videos. Photograph: YouTube
Tue 27 Mar 2018 

There’s a new kid in the herbaceous border and he’s an online horticultural sensation

Name: Huw Richards.

Age: 19.

Appearance: Young. Attractive. Online.

Of course he is. What is he doing there? Assisting in the decline of civilisation by engaging in hurtful pranks, propagating mindless crazes or advocating drug use and rock’n’roll? None of the above. He’s an ex-public schoolboy turned gardener.

Turned what? Gardener.

Is that what the kids are calling a practitioner of some disgusting form of nonprocreative sex these days? No. It means someone who gardens. Does gardening. Richards runs a vlog – that means putting homemade videos on a pet subject up on YouTube – about growing things in the ground.

Well, I never did! What does he grow? It’s drugs, isn’t it? Or skateboards. No, it’s vegetables mostly. “My passion is food production,” he says. “So if someone had an empty garden or one that was full of junk, and wanted to grow their own food, I would love to go in and transform it.”

Does he know enough, at 19? His family runs an 11-acre smallholding that has chickens, pigs, ducks and sheep, and grow their own produce. He posted his first video at 12, “when I was bored after school” and had seen his friend get 200 views from a gaming video.

Does he get as many? These days, Richards has 75,000 subscribers to his channel, HuwsNursery, and has amassed millions of views on YouTube and Facebook. He has recently secured sponsorship deals with gardening tool companies and seed suppliers, too.

His friend must be gutted. History does not record.

So, what spot is he hitting with the public exactly? Basically, demystifying gardening and making it as easy as possible for beginners. Some of his most popular individual videos are “Seven gardening hacks with plastic bottles”, “Growing potatoes the lazy way” and “Ten terrific tomato growing tips”. 

Cool, daddio. He also suggests growing beans in empty toilet roll tubes before planting them out, soaking dried marrowfat peas for 24 hours to grow pea shoots from them, and – my particular favourite – sowing seeds in guttering filled with compost and, when the seedlings are ready for transplanting outside, sliding the whole thing out of the gutter and into a readymade trench.

What’s next for the greenfingered wunderkind? He’s getting a bit of telly work already, but says he would love to present Gardener’s World, or something like it, and bring the joy of sustainably producing your own food to the world. Start saving your toilet roll tubes now.

Do say: “The young will save us all!”

Don’t say: “Nice to see a boy getting out in the fresh air.”


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