Win a copy of Your Edible Yard this week in the Gardening for Beginners forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • James Freyr
  • Burra Maluca
  • Mike Haasl
  • Joylynn Hardesty
master gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
  • thomas rubino
  • Jay Angler
  • Tereza Okava

Biointensive Ruth Stout Hybridization

Posts: 622
Location: Montana
forest garden trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pondering ways of doing things. It seems to me like there might be a place for a mulch fed biointensive like system and that some folks are already doing it.

There is a nomadic gardener (Pete Kanaris) on YouTube who scythes in Maine to do a Ruth Stout like market garden. Justin Rhodes filmed him and has implemented a similar system using Chicken, pig, and possibly other livestock tractors and Meadow Creature broadforking. It seems like they are both using the soil blocks Eliot Coleman promoted in his book.

Also it seems like a good synergy with what Will Bonsall writes about and does.

One of my favorite authors writes about doing something like this in his A Contrary Farmers Invitation to gardening- Gene Logsdon. In fact I think this was one of the first Gene Logsdon books I ever read and in it Gene talks about using soil blocks and Ruth Stout style gardening.

Myself I am sans chickens until things settle down a little in a few years so the veganic angle Will Bonsall and John Jeavons have makes sense for now.

Also there is a potential for combining ecological restoration with garden soil building on my land.

I have about 8 acres. About 3 1/2 acres was formerly plowed reseeded grassland and 4 1/2 acres is never plowed grassland. About 1/4 to 1/2 acre in annual gardens at any one time.

The never plowed grassland has more biodiversity. However it is what is called a novel plant community. Native and nonnative plants mixed with nonnative annuals predominating. I suspect the non-native annuals predominate in part because of past and current nutrient pollution. I think cattle redistributed nitrogen and other nutrients up the hill with their urine and manure in the past. My neighbor to the west has a cattle herd he often overwinters next to my hill. I suspect that some nitrogen from the herd is redeposited on the hill even now with airborne particulates. Cars may do the same on many places leaving dry deposition deposits of nitrogen on the nearby landscape.

So it is actually possible that if my hillside could be hayed repeatedly and over a long period of time, that it would help to remove nutrient pollution and concentrate those nutrients where they would do more good- to grow annual vegetables. It might also reduce seed set of the annuals. In The Scythe Book David Tresemer talks about scything around favored flowers- as a botanist that could get pretty out of control fast for me! I read that book many years ago and never bought a scythe... maybe I should!

So hay fed vegetables could solve several problems at once.

So my thought in my current situation is: use MeadowCreature broadforking to work up beds, and grass mulch to fertilize the beds. Use soil blocks sometimes, but also just pull aside mulch and seed.

In later years when things settle down for me I might add in some livestock to the system.

Mentally stacking authors like Ruth Stout, John Jeavons, Will Bonsall, Andy Lee and Pat Foreman, Gene Logsdon and Deppe this makes good sense to me. Add in youtubers like Kanaris and Rhodes and it seems like it is already a pretty well paved road.
Posts: 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have experimented with the ruth stout method you can see in a video I did on my potato garden here ruth stout potato garden.  I was not happy with the results.  Maybe I did it wrong.  I did not water it much so that I could experiment how well it would grow with absolutely no care just more layering.  I posted a results video on my channel you can see if you look around.  I would defiantly combine methods.  You know best your situation so I think you have a good plan.
gardener & author
Posts: 1436
Location: Tasmania
homeschooling goat forest garden fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation pig wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Linda Woodrow's 'The Permaculture Home Garden' might fit this idea. Her ideal system uses chickens and lots of mulch, but there are also ideas for people growing no-dig intensive gardens without chickens by processing grocery shop waste with a worm farm, and hot composting.

She ran a market garden with this system on 1/4 acre.

I use a modified version of her chook dome mandala garden system for some of my garden.

I think manure of some sort helps to balance out all the carbon that the mulch brings, and chickens are great for many other reasons too, but there are ways around this.
See where your hand is? Not there. It's next to this tiny ad:
Learn Permaculture through a little hard work
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic