Monday, January 11, 2010

A No Work Garden

the best gardening book ever

I bought the Ruth Stout book How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back at a thrift store nine years ago, when Mason and I were still in college. It sat on the shelf for a few years until we moved out to my grandparents' old house on five acres in 2002. We wanted to grow tomatoes, so I pulled all of the old gardening books off of the shelf and spent a while thumbing through them. When I got to Ruth Stout, the others were shoved aside and this one was read cover to cover that day. I told Mason all about it and we decided to give it a try. After a summer full of the best tomatoes we'd ever eaten from the tallest, healthiest, least fussy plants we'd ever grown, we were full fledged converts--and we've never looked back. Even in our little garden in Dallas (where we couldn't find any straw) the plants were up to their ears in mulch. It works. It works really well. And it's easy. Which is pretty important if you're a couple of total slackers who happy to really like delicious home grown produce. I buy every copy of every Ruth Stout book that I see now because I know there will always be someone who needs to be saved from the pains of the never ending task of weeding.

After our tomatoes had died back and the bed had been covered with a thick layer of mulch, I decided to check the library for more Stout brilliance. I found a few other books and a VHS tape of a short documentary about Ruth and her garden. We watched it to find that not only was she a gardening genius, she was also one of the coolest people who ever lived. We were both blown away by her sheer awesomeness, but had no way make ourselves a copy at the time. After we moved, I checked the Dallas library, but they had already purged most of their VHS collection. I thought for sure that I would have my chance to copy and post it for the world once we moved back to Oklahoma, but found that they had taken their copy out of circulation (the jealousy of whoever found it at the book sale is overwhelming!). I feared the video was pretty much lost forever when one of the blogs in my feed (can't remember which, sorry) posted a link to this post on A Way to the Garden. I was so excited to rewatch this old favorite and I'm so happy to be able to post it here. She's one of my favorite people ever, and I think you'll understand why after you watch.


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