25 May 2014
There was a back-to-the-land movement happening when I was a teenager in the 1970s. One of the celebrities of that era was Ruth Stout. She wrote articles for Organic Gardening & Farming magazine, which I subscribed to. She also wrote several books about gardening. Her unconventional gardening approach involved copious amounts of hay mulch, and "no work."
I am sure that most of the older gardeners reading this already know about Ruth Stout, but some younger readers may not. In either case, I think both will enjoy watching the 23 minute documentary below. It was filmed in 1976, when Ruth was 92 years old. She died four years later.
When you watch the movie, you will discover that Ruth was an eccentric personality. My favorite part of the film comes in the very end when she tells of her grandfather and something he told her when she was a little girl.
As for Ruth Stout's no-work gardening methods, they are certainly viable and well worth trying. My problem with natural mulch is that it harbors slugs. If I mulched my whole garden with hay and straw the slugs would proliferate and eat what I tried to grow. That has been my experience. But, like I said, it's worth trying. "No-work" is, however, something of a misnomer. "Less-work" would be a more accurate term.
An interesting fact about Ruth Stout is that she helped Carrie Nation bust up a saloon in Kansas in 1900. With that in mind, you can watch an interesting episode of What's My Line in 1964 with Ruth Stout (she was 80 years old then) At This Link.