Sunday, June 16, 2013

Adventures in Gardening, or Trying the Ruth Stout No-Digging Garden

With me working part time this year, I have much less time to spend in the garden. So, Randy and I decided to try the no-till, no-digging, lots of mulch method used by Ruth Stout, author of Gardening Without Work.

We have long been mulching our garden, for as long as we've lived on the farm.  We have plenty of grass/plants that we mow and this makes great material to lay in the garden alongside the plants, both to keep the weeds down and to help retain moisture.  This part of the system has worked fairly well for us, with the exception of around our squash---I pull the mulch away from the squash plants, because squash bugs like to hide in the mulch.

So, this year, we mowed and mowed and mulched the entire garden. We pulled the biggest weeds(thistles have been our bane), and a week or two later pulled the mulch away in the rows where we were going to plant, and planted our seeds.

That was about 4 weeks ago.  I had planted a variety of greens, peas, okra, cucumbers, squash, beans...oh, and potatoes on the back end...I'd also gotten some watermelons and peppers from the nursery and they aren't doing great either...though they ARE growing... Maybe I'm just too impatient.

So far, I am not impressed.  In fact, after I have seen others' gardens this year, I am downright ashamed of our garden!  The seeds are just not coming up well at all.  The soil is still uncovered by the mulch, so it's not that they are covered up too much.  I am thinking it's because the soil is too hard and with the cool weather, it has held onto too much moisture and the seeds haven't done well.  We do have a ton of rabbits, but surely they couldn't make it this bad....maybe, maybe not.

At any rate, at this point I am trying to determine whether to have Randy just till everything under and start over, or to simply replant where things haven't come up and hope they come up (finally) and they do well.

Has anyone else tried the no-till method for gardening and had better luck than we have?

Just for kicks, here is a pic of my last year's onions going to seed, and a volunteer sunflower: the most interesting part of my garden so far this year.

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