Remembering Ruth Stout: A Guru of No-Work Gardening

my Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book

One of the first books I read as the Lord rekindled my love of gardening was “The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book” by the late Ms. Ruth Stout and Mr. Richard Clemence, published by Rodale Press.  Ms. Stout was a pioneer, prolific writer and strong advocate in the no-work gardening methodology.  There is much written about her work and spirited life, and I enjoyed learning from her books and articles in the old—and much better in my opinion—“Organic Gardening and Farming” magazine.

Ms. Stout passed away on August 22, 1980.  This being August, I thought it would be fitting to remember Ms. Stout.

Ms. Stout believed in little disturbance of the soil and gardening with the least amount of work.   Her signature was piles high of hay mulch lying on the garden in which she would open up just enough to drop seeds on the soil.  She never liked to transplant.  The tools of her trade were a pitch fork and a trowel and of course lots of hay.  According to various written accounts, her garden was a thriving bed of vegetative life.

I’ve used Ms. Stout’s methods in various places in my garden and at different times with some very good success.  My biggest challenge was obtaining a continuous supply of enough mulch to have that very deep, permanent mulch layer.  Another of my problems, as I have noted in previous posts, was dealing with the hard clay soil, which continues to be a problem in many of my beds today.

I still plan to use Ms. Stout’s methods off and on and hopefully more in the future as my garden improves and I collect more mulch material.  Here is to remembering a classic in the organic gardening world.

Have you used the Ruth Stout method?  If so, how did it go for you?

Larry Braley

About Larry Braley

Blessed husband to a wonderful, virtuous woman and father of five, a daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Raised on a midsize farm in the midwest during my childhood and early teen years. Moved away for several years to live the corporate life. Glad to be back in the country raising my family, teaching life skills and developing our mini-farm.
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