Friday, April 2, 2010

Ruth Stout Was A Bad Ass (And You Can Be One Too!)

I took Ruth Stout's No-Work Garden Book out of the library last month (and then again, this month, renewing it as often as is allowed) and it has me ready to get back out to our vegetable garden. Including a future asparagus bed and possibly, just maybe, revisiting a strawberry patch. Without the elaborate trench digging for the asparagus or the hair-pulling frustration of strawberry patch weeding.

Ruth Stout gardened well into her 80s and was one of the first gardeners to write about organic alternatives. Her no-work method basically involves six to eight inches of mulch - straw, hay, shredded leaves, kitchen scrap, pine needles. The thick mulch cuts back on weeding and watering. That just leaves mulching, planting and growing. The latter two being every gardener's favorite things ever! Whenever she saw a weed, she tossed more mulch on top of it instead of removing the interloper. Hah!

One of my favorite quotes of Ruth's - after writing on old gardening methods: "I think I'll go lie down now. I'm exhausted just from writing about all the unnecessary work that some people do."

These recently discovered videos are astoungdingly wonderful. I love Ruth's no-nonsense New Englander attitude and now hear her voice as I read her book. She was a rabble-rouser from her youth and used to garden on her Connecticut plot buck-naked!


Southern Lady said...

What an incredible lady! Thanks for sharing the video. She was wonderful. Carla

Lenithecook said...

Yes, Ruth! I bought her book waaaaay back in the mid 70's! Her straw mulch, no cultivate garden was very inspiring. She was a contemporary of Helen and Scott Nearing - have you read them?
Now that I am much closer to Ruth in age I understand why it is so important to conserve ones energy if you want to be gardening years from now!