Ruth Stout was an extraordinary gardener, way ahead of her time, who found smart and simple ways to grow an abundance of food crops with minimal effort that is comparable to modern day permaculture methods.
For more, also see these gardening tips.
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Ruth Stout – A Wonderful 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.
- 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
- 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 loathed to include it since strong women in history are constantly knocked down with judgements like that. Brilliant is a much more accurate choice of words.
In recent years, this classic book by Ruth has been republished. I read an original copy years ago but have not yet read this one. Great to see her legacy continuing!
More About Ruth Stout
- Gardening and Living on the Isle of Man | Meet Tanya of Lovely Greens
- Gardening and Living in Hawai’i | Meet Kris of Attainable Sustainable
- Gardening and Living in Ontario | Melissa the Empress of Dirt
- A Rare Video Tour of Tasha Tudor’s Garden | My first garden influence!
- An Urban Veggie Grower in 1889 | Who knew?
- Rebuilding a Garden After a Flood | Joan Gussow’s story
- What Gardening is Really About | Monty Don
- An Epic Urban Veggie Garden | Carol Bowlby
- A Brilliant Intuitive Gardener | Ruth Stout
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
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