Re: [gardeners] straw mulching: Ruth Stout

Kathy Kennedy (
Tue, 3 Aug 1999 23:41:45 -0500

Ruth Stout also wrote How to Have a Garden Without an Aching Back, an
excellent read.  She is very opinionated, and fun to read.  Like you say,
she recommends a permanent mulch.  She is a seat-of-the-pants expert, and
in her writings chides the formally educated experts.  She was very old
when I read her book about 15 years ago -- does anyone know if she is still
Rex Stout, the mystery writer, is her brother.
Her books are probably available at your library.  Worth checking out!
By the way, $2.50 per bale of straw sounds cheap.  It goes for $3.50 a bale
here in mid-Missouri, unless you know somewhere to drive out to, with your
own truck, and haul it home back in town by yourself.
--Kathy K
> From: jen6 <>
> To:
> Subject: [gardeners] straw mulching
> Date: Tuesday, August 03, 1999 1:33 PM
> 	Yes, the heatwave in Southern Ohio has finally broken also and the poor
> people of Cincinnatti have quit dying (literally) due to the heat.  My
> garden is great and I did not have to water it once during the heat wave,
> which was about 20 degrees higher than normal.  My secret this year is
> mulching.  I purchased bales of straw (not hay--hay has seeds in it,
> doesn't help your weeding) for $2.50 a piece and spread a thick layer,
> 6+ inches, all through the garden.  I haven't had to weed or water due to
> this thick mulch.  My tomatoes love it, especially the poor little green
> ones that my 2 and 3 year olds pick, since they can't tell red from green
> yet.  We put the green tomatoes under their tomato bushes which have
> around them, sort of like a nest.  They ripen and do not have problems
> rotting, bugs, etc.
> 	I am an organic gardener and do not put anything on my garden.  I have
> noticed that with the straw mulch, I have not had insect problems, except
> for cucumber beetles on my squash plants which aren't that big of a deal
> something has eaten my bean bush leaves, which is part of having a
> 	This idea comes from last year's subscription of Mother Nature magazine.
> think the woman who developed this idea is Ruth Stout, who is called the
> lazy gardener.  She uses much more straw than I do (about twice as much)
> then she also uses the mulch as soil for potatoes and onions.  It's a
> interesting concept.
> 	And it's great for our clay soil here in Dayton, Ohio.  We'll just
> it up before Thanksgiving and plant winter rye to amend the soil.
> 	Happy gardening!