I was recently turned on to a new method of gardening. An easier, less labor intensive, yet still very productive method of gardening. The Ruth Stout Method.
If you have learned anything about me so far, I’m sure it is that I like low labor, high yield methods of gardening; and everything else in life to be honest. I don’t mind working hard, but if there is an easier way to achieve the same or better results, I will take the easier way.
So basically, this method involves no digging. That’s right. Zero dirt digging. Well how does that work? Well, basically, you create a compost pile and plant in it. It is called hay mulching.
In the fall, you put down a thick layer of hay on top of your soil. This hay stays there permanently. The best time to start this is the season before you plan to plant since the hay has to start decomposing and breaking down. Then, you simply move back a bit of the hay and place your seed or bulb or potato in to the hay mulch and cover it up. That’s it. You’re done. Now you just wait.
I have seen on a few YouTube videos that people will use more hay, or even leaves, to mound up around the plants that require it. Potatoes for instance, the tubers need to remain covered. So, you just throw some leaves or hay or yard trimmings around the base of the plant to mound it up.
Ruth Stout, also know as the “Mulch Queen”, wrote an article on her method of farming for the magazine Organic Farming and Gardening from 1953 to 1971. She also published several books about her methods. She liked to emphasize how simple and easy it is. This is reflected in the titles of some of her books: Gardening Without Work, I’ve Always Done It My Way, and How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back. Sadly most of these books aren’t available anymore due to their age, but, you may be able to find a used copy if you look hard enough. This is how I garden as well.
Gardening doesn’t have to be a hard thing. It can be as easy as just sprinkling some seeds in to some hay and coming back in a few months to some food. Or you can do a more complicated method if you choose. Just make sure the methods that you choose are right for you and your family and you’re getting the yield you want without spending a fortune! Whats the point of saving money by growing your own food if you spend more on your garden than you would have by just buying the food in the first place.
Another benefit I have heard about, no weeding!! I HATE weeding. Its hard on my knees and back. Its time consuming. And, worst of all, there are a million spiders on plants. I hate it so much! The hay smothers out the plants below, resulting in little to no weeds in your garden!! The thicker the hay mulch, the less weeds you will have!
We tried this method last year BEFORE NerdyHomestead was born. We planted about 60 seed potatoes and got about 300 POUNDS of potatoes! The best part was, we didnt have to dig for them!!! We just moved the hay over, and there they were!!! All of these yummy potatoes just laying there!!!
This year, we planted about 125 potato plants using the Ruth Stout method!!! I cannot wait to see the yield this year!! Follow the NerdyHomestead to see how well it turns out this year!! Stay tuned….