Uppity Woman: Ruth Stout

Spring brings gardening. After a very long winter of too much snow, temperatures driven by the polar vortex, and ice that seeps into my bones, being out in the garden under the sun is glorious. Digging through the soil is meditative, uplifting, and grounding. I imagine the weeds of my garden as cartoon villains, the rose as an abuse loving damsel, the Stella d’oros as good citizens. My garden is an ongoing science experiment. I don’t expect much from it anymore. I am learning to do what I like in it, with it. If it gives me some strawberries, basil and a few tomatoes– that is a grand thing.

I read a fair amount. Study. I need to keep learning– so I have many subjects I delve into. Sustainable gardening is one of these.

I was introduced to a video of Ruth Stout a couple years ago at a permaculture design certification class offered at the Midwest Permaculture Institute

Ruth Stout gardened in a traditional manner for the first fifteen years of her gardening career. She was frustrated with having to wait to have her garden ploughed. In 1944, she decided to not plough and just plant her seeds. The “no-work” method of gardening was born. Ms. Stout lived to an old age and died in 1980. From 1955 through the 1970s Stout wrote several books on gardening and spoke throughout the US. Her method of gardening involves mulching with hay and not rototilling to simultaneously build the fertility of the soil, hold in moisture, and maintain fertility. The attached video is in English and translated into another language through subtitles. Ms. Stout was a free thinking, strong woman who was gardening and providing vegetables for herself and another through her old age. Uppity woman: Ruth Stout– she is an inspiration.

Ruth Stout’s Garden