Ruth Stout started gardening at the age of 45 as a conventional gardener. With time she began to develop her own methods based on her gardening success. She wrote articles and several books about her methods including one called “Gardening Without Work“.
Her methods include:
- hay mulch – (you can also use straw) – used to keep the ground moist and to fertilize your soil. She does not cover the seeds with hay.
- layering much like lasagna methods.
- minimal weeding
- year-round food growing by protecting crops with hay
- no digging or tilling
- cottonseed meal right over the seeds for nitrogen just in case it does not rain too much.
A forum on Permies.com mentioned that it takes years for your soil to have enough nutrition for this method to work. Here is a link to a video of one gardener’s experience. Please do your research on this to see if it is right for your situation.
In this video called “Ruth Stout’s Garden No Plow Procedure”, she says that she has a garden 45 x 50 where she provides vegetables for two people all year round. In the 35 years that she has gardened using hay, she has never had to water. Below is the video of Ruth Stout where she is talking about how she gardens. You can see exactly what she does.