Ruth Stout Soil

Ruth Stout Soil

I’ve been growing skeptical of the Ruth Stout soil mulch method, which I used for two of the beds this season. I don’t know if it is targeted for this climate, but also think it may have been applied at the worst time for keeping seeds viable and giving them exposure when things are planted. Also, her claim that this doesn’t leave a towering mass of organic matter threatening your plants did not prove true. And it does seem to make slugs and other insects worse.

However, you can’t argue with what it has done to the soil below, where as beautiful layer of soft, crumbly compost and worm castings as I’ve seen has developed:

Holding the Ruth Stout soil for a closeup.
A closeup of the results from our Ruth Stout soil mulch experiment.

I think in the future I may only use the Ruth Stout soil method for the potato and onion field of my four field rotation, but it builds beautiful soil for sure. And this bed is just getting more goat muck and other organic matter when this growing season is done.

In theory, my potato bed is supposed to get a fall cover of Groundhog Daikon Radishes for bio tillage, but the results have been poor enough and the flea beetles bad enough that I must remove my fall Brassica cover from the rotation for the time being. (Given my small garden size and availability of free goat muck I’m finding many cover crops are a waste of effort on this scale.)

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