Ruth Stout’s Gardening Without Work Still Going Strong

Ruth Stout
Ruth Stout

I keep running across blog posts praising how well Ruth Stout’s “no-work gardening” methods work, like this post on The Messy Shepherdess.

I first ran across Ruth Stout’s writing when I became interested in gardening as a child, and got a subscription to Organic Gardening.

This was around 1970, and Organic Gardening was very much an end-of-the-world prophet of doom back then. Even articles about how to grow nice tomatoes with a trellis against your house would take time out to explain how you’d better hurry up, because we’d all be dead by 1975!

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Unlocking the Plotto Plot Generator

When William Wallace Cook wrote Plotto: A new Method of Plot Suggestion for Writers of Creative Fiction, his introductory chapter made a lot of readers sit up and ask, “Huh?”

So Cook got do work and came up with an instruction booklet in the form of a seven-lesson course on how to use Plotto to help you overcome the thorny task of coming up with plots for short stories and novels.

The original Plotto Instruction Booklet is impossible to find, and I counted myself very lucky when I discovered that the University of Oregon library in Eugene had a copy. A quick round-trip to the Emerald City later, I’ve republished it for the benefit of anyone who has a copy of Plotto.

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Amelia B. Edwards’ Legacy, 125 Years Later

Amelia B. Edwards was a noted nineteenth-century author who wrote travel books and novels. She fell in love with Egypt in the 1870s and wrote a wonderful book on her travels, A Thousand Miles up the Nile. I liked it so much I brought it back into print!

More than that, she founded the Egypt Exploration Society, which still funds important archaeological research 125 years later. In her honor the EES has their Amelia Edwards Projects, which are clearly defined, affordable field projects that are funded by donations from members and supporters.

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Finally Back in Print! Gardening Without Work by Ruth Stout

ruth_stout_gardening_without_work_cover_200pxAfter many years out of print, I’m proud to reissue Ruth Stout’s organic gardening classic: Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy, and the Indolent.”

I’ve been a fan of Ruth’s since I was ten years old, when her column was the first thing I read in each new issue of Organic Gardening magazine. Practical, funny, and irreverent, her books are even more compelling than her columns.

Gardening Without Work introduced the “permanent mulch” system of gardening, which replaces weeding and plowing with a thick mulch of straw or whatever else is available. The mulch conserves water, smothers weeds, prevents erosion, and fertilizes the soil. Perhaps it was the inspiration for modern “no-till” farming? I don’t know. Although
Ruth died thirty years ago, her writing has legions of fans, and you’ll see why
when you read it!

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