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Ruth Stout Inspired!

Category: Numb's Garden Life | Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:22 pm

Well as I was reading through the stew topics a couple of days ago i was introduced to an old gardener and her style of gardening. Her name is Ruth Stout and she is known for her mulching type gardening. She developed the system out of frustration from waiting on the plow man and by her experiments of doing things her way............while reflecting on natures habits to bring this into practice.

Her style of gardening was to make things as simple for her as she could with success while using what natural resources she had around to do this.
I suggest anyone who hasn't heard of her to check her out on youtube. There are some old videos uploaded there of her in action, you can see her in her upper years still gardening and showing how it was done. She lived to close to 100 but didn't start gardening till around 50 or so. I wonder if the fresh outside air and her consumption of "livin of the land" produce didn't contribute somewhat to her lengthy age.

Basically what she would do was create a bed of nutritious goodness through mulching over the soil. This would create excellent soil below over time as the mulch ingredients broke down and were absorbed into the land. She didn't get into the trouble of digging the land up, the most i saw her do in the little I've seen was make a shallow dirt groove for her seeds. If she had weeds come up she would just throw more mulch ingredients on top which in turn made the weeds become part of the nutrient list for the plants to use. She claimed by using this method she never had to water her plants as the mulch layer prevented the drying of the earth and kept the moisture in better.

I plan on trying to recreate her system in my yard, it is a continuous year long process that never stops. You just keep adding more natural things that decay and break down to the growing area and over time they are absorbed.

I have one main spot that i garden that i actually have been throwing bits on already in my few years of gardening, mostly just left over stalks and bits from the remains of spent plants. There was no real system to my actions and I would just let this sit on top until spring time where i would turn it over lightly with a shovel and plant the crops in. This was minimal in nature to how Ruth would do things, she would constantly just recycle stuff into her plots and i plan to increase this practice in my plots from now on.

I will be expanding my gardening areas a little and creating a couple of new grow plots but in these areas i will be going down into the soil a bit to supplement the scarcer nutrients that these areas hold in the mulching goodness dept at this stage. Over time the area should become full of goodness and i wont have to tap the lower earth besides seed starting.

For years i have been raking up old leaves from the willow oak and pine trees in my back yard and disposing of them but now i see these leaves as plant food! I will constantly cycle these leaves into the garden, i have opened a few bags that have been bagged up a while and they were already breaking down due to the moisture content inside. This will be a system for me and a free one at that!

Below are a few pics of my little garden plot and the new one i just created yesterday. I plan to add another at some point. I decided to create a gap between these as to grow different crops that generally don't like each other. Sort of a rotation station in effect. I hope you don't need too much distance as they are still quite close together. Regardless i now have more places to grow stuff.

Here is my main and little garden plot.

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

I dug in a little to see some old leaves and plants i had been throwing on it at times.

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

The kids...6 & 3 years old.

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

Nutrient storage in waiting!

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

More bags in various stages. They consist of mostly willow oak leaves and pine needles.

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

The main plot with more bagged mulch added. It might be a lil late for my area but i have a row of taters going up the left side of this area that i just put in. I wonder how they will do, I've never grown them before.

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

The new plot in creation! This is all the stuff i pulled from my Robin Hood Roses. Putting it to good use...back in the earth.

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

Adding some older mulch to the new spot.

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

I soaked the areas down to aid in the decay process.

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

All i let time take over the work.. :)

( photo / image / picture from Green_Numb's Garden )

I'm going to also get some hay or straw to mix into the plots as it is good mulching ingredients! I hope i can get this system to work for me.

Last edited: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:29 pm

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toni wrote on Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:39 pm:

The garden beds look great. We do require progress photos when the potatoes and any other veggies you plant start growing. :)

That was an interesting video on Ruth Stout wasn't it. I can't remember how I came across it but was fascinated by her method.


daisybeans wrote on Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:12 pm:

Ruth Stout is awesome. Don't you love her attitude too?


Frank wrote on Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:32 am:

Those are two healthy looking areas. I would like to be a seed going into those!

Will be following this G_N. Thanks.


Green_Numb wrote on Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:44 pm:

Yeah Ruth Stout seemed like a real unique spirit.....great attitude.

I will definitely put up some updates on this years crops down the road. I'm not sure how long it takes to get the ground good an nutritious but ya got to start somewhere right... :-)


Green_Numb wrote on Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:35 pm:

well looking back at the blog here i see i never did put up any updates to this before i was absent for 5 years from here.

well the mulch system worked out great and i believe it made the dirt better for it in the breakdown of nutrients and decaying goodness.

I remember getting good results from the taters and other veggies i grew there.

This year i want to raise the bed and tidy things up a bit. Ive wanted to do this for a while so it should be a good project this year. :)

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