Ruth Stout. A Favourite (& Naked) Gardener.


Unconventional garden methods that work

This profile of Ruth Stout (1884-1980) pops up on YouTube every so often and gets ordered down so watch it while you can!

Ruth was a thinking gardener. She began growing food when she and her husband moved to a country property in Connecticut in the 1930’s.

She began with conventional gardening methods and gradually built on successes which led to her unique approach.

Also see interesting and inspiring Gardeners To Watch here.

Ruth’s Methods

  • hay mulch – used in place of watering (many of us would choose straw instead to avoid the hay seeds)
  • no digging or tilling
  • minimal effort (lasagna methods) and minimal weeding
  • year round food growing (protecting the crops with hay mulch)

I loved this for a whole bunch of reasons. Here’s a few:

  • simple, successful gardening— the antithesis of our current emphasis on pretty and groomed
  • non-conformity
  • the descriptions of Ruth’s parents and grandfather


  • gardening naked

I list that last one for the fun story she tells about it in the film but also to emphasize her philosophy of live and let live. She was a revolutionary well ahead of her time. The word ‘eccentric’ also pops up a lot in biographies but I’m loathe to include it since strong women in history are constantly knocked down with judgements like that.

More About Ruth Stout

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  1. PepperReed says

    LOVE Ruth Stout! She was really ‘visionary’ in how to get good food with a less ‘involved’ method of gardening.

    • says

      Hi Nancy, Lucky you. If anyone else is interested, the books can be read online as well, you just have to dig around a bit to find them. (Pun half intended.)

  2. says

    what an interesting woman. her philosophy of life comes across as both generous and compassionate to the human spirit. My father was a naked farmer. My mother found this a great burden.

  3. says

    I didn’t think I would really watch the whole video- but found that it was over way too soon and I was sorry for it to end! Thank you for sharing this gem.What a wonderful lady. I want to learn more about her gardening and her.

    • says

      She was wonderful indeed. I think there’s actually more parts to the video but that’s the only one I could find on YouTube right now.

  4. kathysnest32 says

    I was just surfing the internet for gardening ideas tonight when I found your site.
    Thanks you for sharing this video. This women has some amazing ideas and was full of life. You made me smile today. Thank you. Kathleen

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