UPDATE: Ruth Stout Gardening Question

kbmbillups1
kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

I've been watching videos on YouTube about her no work gardening.

Here's one: https://youtu.be/bfi-n0Oq38E

@judsoncarroll4 I read an old post of your about her. Do you think I could use leaves the same way as hay? I started a leaf compost pile a 2 years ago that's basically a 4 foot by 4 foot pile of leaves.

I wanted to start a new garden bed and after seeing videos of people using her method thought that might be a good use for the leaves.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

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Comments

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    Yes, I do. Leaves are preferable to hay these days because of the herbicides and pesticides being sprayed on fields. Either leaves that have rotted down or newer leaves from last fall work fine - just run over the newer leaves with a mower to chop them up.

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @kbmbillups1 Thanks for asking about leaves. I was trying to figure out if I could use leaves on my new beds for added organic material.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 @Monek Marie Thanks!! I have a nice thick layer that has been doing it's thing for 2 winters now.

    I saw a couple chippers made of what looks like trimmer line. Was going to look up on YouTube and see if anyone has made one cheaply since they're pretty expensive. I'd have to crush up the top layer. Got any ideas?

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I want to say I remeber seeing David The Good, perhaps,(?) place the leaves in a trash can and use his weed eater in the trash can to help shred them. Then he dumped them where he wanted.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JennyT Upstate South Carolina That's a good idea! Thanks!

  • bettelee62
    bettelee62 Posts: 3 ✭✭✭
    edited March 2022

    I have a sandy small plot cottage garden and rely on leaves and inground composting. Remember leaves are the Brown and grass is the Green for ratios. My best ideas came from Lynn Gillespie where you see a crumbly material on top of her raised beds. I have snatched up the piled leaf clippings nearby, done fine by a professional mower, even better when it is the last few grass cuttings mixed in. My Mennonite source for many plant starts has their nearby small town dump all of the town leaves on his truck patch in a tall long mound. It is beautiful by summer. He says that the leaf clippings support more fungal based soil organism, and the wood chips more bacterial. Some leads to check.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wonderful Ideas! One thing to remember if you try using the weed eater. make sure you use a metal trash can. Many weed eaters are strong enough to cut through the light plastic cans. And if your standing close enough to the can, maybe cut into or injure you as well.

    Some towns or tree services will also dump wood chips for you. Again, check with them to make sure they were not sprayed with anything you would not want.

  • elwell2
    elwell2 Posts: 13

    I have leaves galore. My chickens usually shred them. I will use these on my garden this year. Thank you for sharing

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Found a video showing an easy cheap way to shred leaves. Going to look at thrift stores for a large ceramic pot or something that will work.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF-gDsyeQAQ

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,162 ✭✭✭✭

    Wow, some great ideas! I'm always learning in this forum! Got to shred leaves!!

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    I've had Ruth Stout's book on my to-read list for a while now -- I am all about no-fuss gardening! Time to just do it and grab a copy, I think....

  • MissPatricia
    MissPatricia Posts: 318 ✭✭✭

    I like to mow them up to shred them. I put them on the garden a year and a half ago, and it made it feel 'soft.' I cannot seem to get wood chips, which is what I love to use. I found Ruth Stout's work very inspiring and helpful.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    I use leaves. I start putting them on my high beds in autumn after harvesting, so that weeds do not start growing in empty beds. In spring I leave them and cover with compost. While rotting under they warm the soil and I can start growing radishes and potatoes much earlier.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If only it would stop raining here so the leaves could dry out. I found an industrial size pot to use with our weed eater to mulch all my leaves and wanted to try it. Maybe next week... I plan to plant potatoes and okra in that spot.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    Good ideas.

  • burekcrew86
    burekcrew86 Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    Great thread! I’ve been wanting to check out Ruth Stout’s gardening methods. We love using shredded leaves in the fall on our garden. We put the bag attachment on our mower and run the mower over them. Then distribute the shredded leaves right from the mower bag into the garden. Works great.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @burekcrew86 Just read your comment to my husband. So, tomorrow depending how dry our leaves are we're going to pick out any sticks and give that a try. We have a ton of leaves to mulch.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ruth Stout's method can work, but there a couple of issues you need to know.

    First, it was developed in New England and can work well there. But in some regions, such as the Pacific Northwest, you could turn your garden into a giant slug breeding ground if you aren't careful. The layering approach can create a perfect environment for slugs, who can devestate a garden.

    Also, the idea that it is"no work" is misleading. It would be an enormous amount of work to collect the straw or rake and chop the leaves to cover a large area. It works best for small areas. It's a big investment of work up front to make it easier to garden later.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here's my update!

    I planted 3 rows of potatoes. I'm amazed at how well they did!! I planted eyes from a bag of potatoes that were growing & covered them with leaves. I hilled them with more leaves as they grew and watered them until they started coming up.

    Mother nature was not kind in the rain department or with the sweltering heat! So my potatoes never got the first flower before the above ground portion died in the heat. I was sure there wouldn't be any potatoes to dig up but boy was I wrong!!

    I got 3 buckets like this!


    I've planted another round of potatoes and this time I dug below the leaves and covered them with a layer of dirt. I'm hoping that gives them a little more protection from the 100 degrees temps if they come back. The leaves had really dried out when I pushed them away to get the potatoes.

    This has been an exciting experiment!! I'm hoping round 2 will be even better!!

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 1,024 ✭✭✭✭

    Wish I would of seen this thread sooner. I've always used wood chips and leaves but recently read an article about all the benefits of using hay. So went and got some and just put it down today. Never thought about it being heavily sprayed 🙄

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have potatoes growing under a row of straw right now as well as two towers made from fencing, a good layer of straw hollowed into a "nest" then the potatoes and repeated layers like this. Seem to be growing well there also. Will see what we get for the harvest in a month or two.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @vickeym Let me know how yours do. I've never thought about making towers. Do you water them from the top?

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Found a video that got us interested in the towers. Took less space, but more work than the Ruth Stout to start with. Here is one of the videos....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R833pkaDBSY

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks @vickeym !! I had a different picture in my mind. I'll have to look for a place to buy straw that hasn't been sprayed. I would like to try that.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @vickeym Another question- are you going to plant another round after you harvest your potatoes? I don't remember where you are located. My friend says we can grow 3 rounds of potatoes here in Georgia. The first row of my second planting have just started coming up past the leaves.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2022

    You are a "bit" further south than I am. LOL I'm in a little village about 2 hours north of Anchorage, Alaska. By the time these are ready our season will be over and we will be getting things ready before the cold and snow comes. My first year in Alaska we had snow that stayed on October 11.

    I have heard you can also use chopped leaves, dried grass clippings, etc. Instead of the straw. Have not tried that.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @vickeym Wow! That's serious snow!! I have a friend who used to teach in Alaska. Her husband was in the military. I'm not sure what part of Alaska though. She has told me several times about the totem poles and the stories they tell. She also told me about buying various kinds of wheat berries and milling her own flour.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @kbmbillups1 Yes, mother nature does tend to be an overachiever here when it comes to snow. I have seen it come down over three feet in one day in our area. Not fun. Some folks were not plowed out for two weeks that time. One of the reasons it amazes me so that more folks up here are not "preppers" or at least decently stocked up, just in the situations that we can be cut off from supplies, groceries or whatever by so many natural happenings.

    We have things like earthquakes, major snow falls, landslides, avalanches, fires, even bad accidents can close roads for extended periods. This doesn't even include the fact that Alaska is at the end of the supply chain. This means that things like supply chain issues, the trucking strikes several years back, the recent widespread illnesses and so many other things can leave Alaskans without access to supplies of any kind. In many of the rural towns and villages there may only be one road to get there. If something happens to that roadway, your out of luck until it can be repaired, and in winter the repair might not be possible for a long time. Some of the more remote villages are only accessed by plane.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @vickeym I wish there was a WOW button on these posts so I could WOW that! I cannot begin to comprehend what you wrote about.