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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Agricultural Uses of Dynamite, and Other Farm Tales

Did you know that dynamite was a traditional farm tool? For decades, you could buy it by the case by mail-order from Sears. It had many uses around the farm: blowing stumps, shattering boulders, breaking up plow-pan, digging holes for tree planting, and even (believe it or not) digging ditches.

I’ve republished We Wanted a Farm by M. G. Kains, which has a whole chapter about his newbie experiences with dynamite in the old days, including snake-holing and other semi-exotic techniques. M. G. Kains is the author of the 1936 back-to-the-land handbook, Five Acres and Independence. It turns out that (not surprisingly) the wisdom that went into Five Acres came partly from having a farm of his own, with the triumphs and tragedies that go with it.

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