Monday, April 11, 2011

I Heart Ruth Stout!

This weekend was a real milestone of the season for me. It marked the first harvest of the year (1.5lbs of sunchokes and 9oz of horseradish) and the first good chunk of time working in our allotment plots! I nibbled raw, stinging nettle leaves. I got in a tussle with a raspberry cane and have scratches on the tip on my nose to show for it. I relished the feel of tools in my gloved hands, reacquainting myself with their heft. I emptied soil and straw out of an upturned boot and left the dirt under my nails as a badge of honour. It all felt so unbelievably good, and I'm eager to go back for more. If all goes well, we'll have peas in the ground by the end of the week. I've lots of pictures to show from this weekend, including a pretty epic unearthing of the aforementioned horseradish root, but I've got to sort through the pics yet.

In the meantime check out the story of amazing gardener Ruth Stout. The woman didn't even start gardening until she was 45 and kept at it well into her elder years. She seems to have been quite the gardening renegade, advocating a no-till, no-weeding, no-watering, no-fertilising style of raising up vegetables at a time when plowing, chemical inputs and irrigation were the order of the day. Her story is an inspiring one and has me dreaming about pottering in the earth until the end of my own days.

You can read more about her methods here.


TechChik said...

"You worked longer today, didn't you?"
"How did you know?"
"It was easy, as a rule, after 5 o'clock the cars just usually go on, so I knew that you didn't come up until 6 because up until 6 they still stopped."

I wonder what the neighbours would think if I gardened like that too... ;)

Anonymous said...

Great post. I love Ruth Stout's methods and am planting potatoes her way this year. Tried the potato condo method for two years with terrible results. Wish me luck.


Amber said...

TechChik, I know! Right? I totally fell in love with her when I heard that story. The naked gardener. Awesome! I certainly can't pull that off at the allotments, but I do come from a family who were naturists in the 60's and 70's, so maybe one day given the right conditions.... ;)

PJ, I hope your 'taters work out! I might trying growing some that way too, 'though I worry about them being exposed to light. But if Ruth did it successfully...

Pamela said...

This is wonderful! I can't believe you are harvesting already!!!!

I was working with a few gardeners in a local plot on the weekend. It was great to see so much starting to come up already... despite the patches of snow!

Keep the posts coming!