Google+ Organic Gardens Network™: Gardening Made Easy with Ruth Stout

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gardening Made Easy with Ruth Stout

If you are afraid to take on gardening because you don’t think you know enough to dig in (pun intended), watch Ruth tell you, and show you, how easy it is. 

Born in 1884, Ruth moved from New York to the country with her husband and took up gardening. She gardened for 15 years by plowing and using commercial fertilizer and insecticide. Then early in April one year, her plowman did not show up and she went out to the garden and realized that the asparagus didn’t need plowing, so Ruth decided to just start planting.

For the next 25 years she gardened without plowing, and did not spade, cultivate, weed, hoe, fertilize, use any sprays or compost pile, nor water. She just planted and picked. Ruth is done all of her chores by 11:00 a.m., gardening, house work and cooking. She also begins her day with a Roman style breakfast and rises each morning between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m.

Ruth has a 45 x 50 garden that feeds two people year round and she has not been to a supermarket in 14 years. Wow, I wish I could say the same! She does this by using ground cover, the same method as permaculture design (Sepp Holzer’s way). The ground is covered year round with hay mulch, which decomposes and fertilizes the ground, keeps the weeds down, and keeps the ground soft. There is no need to water or weed. “That’s all there is to it,” as Ruth says.

Ruth grows lettuce, carrots, potatoes, corn, parsley, dill, sweet Spanish onions, rhubarb, soybeans, squashes, pumpkins, tomatoes, flowers, and lots more. When you see how easy it is to plant potatoes, you might be surprised. I can attest to this as I have planted sprouted sweet potatoes and they grow splendidly. I let them sprout on the counter and put them in the garden, just gently cover and let ‘em grow!

After watching Ruth, do you think you can be a gardener? If you do garden, can you offer any other tips for keeping things simple?

1 comment:

  1. Ruth Stout (June 14, 1884-August 22, 1980) was an American author best known for her "No-Work" gardening books and techniques.

    As the years progressed, Stout refined her techniques, eventually adopting a year-round mulch which virtually eliminated the labor associated with traditional gardening. Her minimalist approach spawned a long-running series of articles in Organic Gardening and Farming magazine as well as several books.


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