We share a property where I do much of the gardening work, but our housemate owns the property. Just read the blog post on Ruth Stout. I have always loved her work, and I really appreciate the reminder you gave me. Thanks.
We have reshuffled the old garden areas, and are putting in the new veggie garden this year. The housemate wants attractive, and good yield. I want *really easy*, and good yield. I’m thinking of trying the Stout method but within deep-walled, raised beds. Heaven knows, we have compostables… The housemate also admires Ruth from of old, so I should be able to sell it if I can make it work.
Has anyone had any experience with this? I know the first year or three will not be as easy-care as I want eventually, but I want to do the ‘construction’ correctly now, as the garden structure is put in. Do the beds need to be a bit wider? Will 12″ bed walls be sufficient?
Any ideas are *more* than welcome. You know how these ‘sudden inspirations’ can backfire….
I have in the past done Stout-style heavy mulch on my raised beds several years in a row. Though eventually I end up tidying up and starting over every few years, composting the partly decayed mulch, topping up the beds with more soil and compost, and just making it look a little less wild. My beds are 12 inches (2×12 lumber) and I like them 4 feet wide.
I have normally used straw as the mulch out there.
In case people haven’t read the blog post, it’s here:
Sounds like 12″ high will do, and I was planning 4′ wide beds anyways.
I’m first going to experiment with using mostly the mixed species leaves from the previous fall which I clear out of all the shade beds first thing in the spring. More than enough to cover the planned veg beds about 8″ deep from the start. Then I will think further. One crisis at a time….
(Next time I will remember to refer to the post properly. Thanks.)
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.